SWC walk 230
17.3 km 10.7 miles. Toughness 4/10
Can be lengthened to 15.2 miles, toughness 6/10, by finishing in Flitwick.
Dust off your blunt pointy hat with the big buckle and come visit the landscape of Pilgrims Progress. The author was a native of Bedfordshire and parts of this walk follow the John Bunyan Trail across the Sundon Hills and the wonderfully named Sharpenhoe Clappers. The “Delectable Mountains” were inspired by these hills, visible from his gaol cell when he was writing.
After the celestial splendour of Pulloxhill, your alternative ending returns you to the temptations of Harlington. On the way, you pass Bunyan’s Oak, where he used to preach, and where he was arrested.
Of course, pilgrims, there’s nothing to stop those of sterner stuff doing the long main walk to Flitwick - and those of slightly softer stuff shortening that to 13.8, 13.3 or 11.9 miles.
As far as I know, all options avoid the Slough of Despond. Trains
Get the Thameslink (Bedford direction) from Blackfriars at 9:24
or St Pancras at 9:34
. (This train stops at a number of stations on its way through London including East Croydon 8:56, Kentish Town 9:38 West Hampstead 9:42). Arrives Harlington at 10:32.
4 trains an hour return to London.
From Harlington; xx:02, xx: 18
, xx:32, xx: 48
From Flitwick; xx:14
, xx:28, xx: 44
, xx: 58. (Bold trains go further south, through East Croydon.)
A return to Harlington will do for the circular but a return to Flitwick, the further station, costs no more and covers both endings. Lunch
The circular and some (but not all) main walk options take you to The Cross Keys
, Pulloxhill, (01525 712 442).
Two later pubs in Westoning are useful only to the main walk, particularly if taking shortcut 1.(see notes) Tea
Harlington has two pubs: The Carpenters Arms
(01525 872 384) and The Old Sun (01525 877 330)
Flitwick offers plenty of options for any taking the main walk, and there is an earlier recommended stop in Steppingley (see notes) Walk Directions here
The circular uses the “alternative ending in Harlington”