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Jay Walking

Icknield Way: Dunstable to Streatley

We were back at the spot we have finished and set off to on the way to Streatley. The route was going to hug close to the edge of the outskirts of Luton today though passing through a number of small village and crossing some major roads. For the first kilometer or so we walked adjacent to housing before emerging into some fields, we saw quite a few people walking dog. After reaching a disused train line we passed through the small village of Sewell which was comprised of large, well maintained and expensive looking houses. From there it was a short walk through fields, crossing one boggy part where a stream emerged, until we reached the busy crossed A505 set above the route on an embankment.

Robert on the path out of Dunstable.  Trees on the right hand side and grass on the left
Field of green wheat on the outskirts of Dunstable

After the crossing we spent a few minutes checking the route, the paper map and the OS app version slightly differed, with the app having extra footpaths shown. Though either of the two routes marked as the Icknield Way would have gotten us to the right location we want to stick to the correct path, which we did. Heading Northwards past some somewhat bad smelling industrial estates and after a short break passing near an Amazon warehouse and a new housing complex. Soon after we crossed another road via a bridge and got back walking though fields.

View North after crossing the A5, cloudy but blue sky with fields below
The Plough Inn pub at Wingfield village.  It has a thatched room and is well maintained

It was nice to be away from the industrial estates and noisy roads, the fields had some skylarks and other birds, which my friend tried to identify using his binoculars. We headed on to the village of Wingfield, emerging in the wrong place due the many different available footpaths and on the edge of the village experienced some more confusion about which way to go. The map and my expected route indicated that we should go East but the sign indicated that we should go West out of the village, though no path was marked on the map. We trusted to the compass and headed East passing through the village and heading off through a field of sheep. In the next field the footpath was not obvious on the ground so we went round the edge of the field, passing a lot of bee hives. We asked the a fellow sitting a car next to the hives about the footpath but he seemed quite panicked that we were near the bees so we continued on.

We were soon at the Chalgrave Church were we rested for a bit, then continued though fields and small woodlands and crossing the M1 on a high bridge, before heading uphill towards the village of Upper Sundon. We were lacking in food, as I have left some of my lunch back at my house so we headed to the only pub in the village which was another Red Lion. It was different to most country pubs that I had been in and probably more similar to ones that I had visited on council estates, but we got a good pint and some snacks and sat in the garden while we ate them. It was not far to go to Streatley now and the end of the day was in sight.

Bridleway heading into the distance with fields on both sides.  Cloudy sky above
View of the chalk escarpment in extending into the distance.

We headed to Sundon Hills Country Park where there were great view Northwards from the chalk ridge, which fell away very steeply in places, though it was well wooded. The route followed the top of the chalk for a while first on the West side and then on the Eastern side of the ridge where we reach a path that run above and along side the A6. Heading South away from the chalk it was short walk to Streatley where we arrived to find that we had missed the last bus. We headed for The Chequers pub and had a pint and played with some dogs until a cab arrived to take us to Luton. All in a good day with great weather and great walking.

A view of Sharpenhoe Clappers a National Trust property which is an ancient woodland and chalk escarpment
View from Sundon Hill looking East from the chalk, showing the town of Barton Le Clay and hills behind it