Icknield Way Part 1 - Ivinghoe Beacon to Chalk Hill
Having been on a (literal) high following our completion of the Ridgeway we were keen to continue our winter walking adventures. The Icknield Way was the obvious continuation as the 2 paths meet at Ivinghoe Beacon. From the Icknield Way heads North-East for 110 miles to Knettishall Heath in Norfolk which is also the start of the Peddars Way. I loved the idea of connecting my 2 previous adventures, so Wife and I started our Icknield wander.
We broke our first section, Ivinghoe Beacon to Chalk Hill, into 2 separate Sundays. This worked well with our new routine of ~5 mile point-to-point winter walks leaving a car at each end. Although the sections of the Ridgeway trip were all short car trips from our home, the driving was getting long enough to start getting boring by the time we’d finished this first section. Next time I’d be back would be 2 years later for the next section.
Above: Ivinghoe Beacon, where the Ridgeway meets the Icknield Way
SECTION 1a - Ivinghoe beacon to Whipsnade
Start: National Trust Car Park at Ivinghoe Beacon (LU6 2EG)
Finish: National Trust Car Park at Whipsnade Tree Cathedral (LU6 2LQ)
Other Routes Touched: Ashridge Boundary Trail, Chiltern Way
Distance: 5.5 Miles / 8.9 km
From Ivinghoe Beacon the Icknield Trail follows the Ashridge Boundary Trail for just over 2km before reaching a farm at the top of a hill. Leave the Boundary Trail here and turn left. Continue North-East to the B440 / Main Road East and turn right to pass through Dagnall. The Red Lion Pub is a nice place to stop and it’s also close to the start of the River Ver. After Dagnall School, take a left off the main road and follow the Trail as it passes through Whipsnade Park Golf Club and around the perimeter fence of Whipsnade Zoo. This section of the route finishes at Whipsnade Village. The National Trust Car-Park is convenient but be careful of closing times if you leave your car here as the gate gets locked at dusk.
SECTION 1B - Whipsnade to Chalk Hill
Start: National Trust Car Park at Whipsnade Tree Cathedral (LU6 2LQ)
Finish: The White Lion Pub, Watling Street / A5 (LU6 1RS)
Other Routes Touched: Chiltern Way
Distance: 5.1 Miles / 8.2 km
From the National Trust Car Park walk through Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. Just after the 1st km at Bison Hill the route will take a right angle and switch from a North-Westerly to a North-Easterly direction. The Trail will soon meet up with the Chiltern Way again as they pass over the top of Dunstable Downs. You can see for miles here and its a good place to stop and check out the National Trust Visitors’ Centre, the Bedfordshire County Top and have a picnic whilst watching the gliders take off and land below.
Follow the trail down off the Downs and cross the busy B489 onto Green Lane. After ~1k the Trail will take a sharp right off Green Lane into farm land. Follow the Trail for ~2km past Maiden Bower Hill Fort and Sewell Manor before reaching the A5 Watling Street and the end of this section.
Above: end of Part 1 at The White Lion Pub
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