Valley in Sundon Hills

Valley in Sundon Hills

SWC Walk 230 Harlington to Flitwick

27-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Sharpenhoe Hillfort Site from Sundon Hills (I)

Sharpenhoe Hillfort Site from Sundon Hills (I)

SWC Walk 230 Harlington to Flitwick

27-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Path in Wood on Moleskin Hill (III)

Path in Wood on Moleskin Hill (III)

SWC Walk 230 Harlington to Flitwick

27-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Sharpenhoe Clappers: the path to the Hillfort Site

Sharpenhoe Clappers: the path to the Hillfort Site

SWC Walk 230 Harlington to Flitwick

27-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Towards Portobello Farm

Towards Portobello Farm

SWC Walk 230 Harlington to Flitwick

27-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Sundon Rubbish Dump

Sundon Rubbish Dump

SWC Walk 230 Harlington to Flitwick

27-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Sharpenhoe Clappers from Harlington

Sharpenhoe Clappers from Harlington

SWC Walk 230 Harlington to Flitwick

27-Sep-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Harlington to Flitwick walk

Sundon Hills, the Sharpenhoe Clappers, a Neolithic hill fort, hill top lunch pub in Pulloxhill, and Flitwick ancient woodland.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sun, 11-Feb-18

Sunday Walk: Harlington Circular

Harlington Circular SWC walk 230
17.3 km 10.7 miles. Toughness 4/10
This walk takes us over a northern outcrop of the Chilterns, following the John Bunyan Trail across the Sundon Hills and the Sharpenhoe Clappers. Bunyan, the author of Pilgrims Progress, was a native of of these parts.
After lunch in Pulloxhill, the alternative ending returns us to Harlington past Bunyan’s Oak, where he used to preach.
(Days are still a little too short for the full walk to Flitwick but there is an 11.9 mile version using shortcuts 1 and 2, if you prefer. This stops at a different lunch pub.)
Trains Get the Thameslink (Bedford direction) from Blackfriars at 9:54 or St Pancras at 10:04. (This train stops at a number of stations on its way through London including East Croydon 9:17 and Kentish Town 10:08). Arrives Harlington at 11:02.
Return from Harlington, at xx:20 & xx:50.
A return to Harlington will do for the circular. A return to Flitwick, further along, costs no more and covers both endings. (Trains return from Flitwick at xx:16, & xx:46.)
Lunch
For the circular, The Cross Keys, Pulloxhill, (01525 712 442).
If heading for Flitwick via the shortcuts, The Chequers (01525 712 967) or The Bell (01525 712 511) both in Westoning.
Tea
Harlington has two pubs: The Carpenters Arms (01525 872 384) and The Old Sun (01525 877 330)
See text for pubs in Flitwick.
Walk Directions here.
The circular walk uses the “alternative ending in Harlington”.
T=swc.230.a

Sun, 12-Feb-17 4

Sunday Walk: Walk like a pilgrim - the northern Chilterns

Harlington Circular SWC walk 230 (alternative ending)
17.3 km 10.7 miles. Toughness 4/10
This walk takes you over a northern outcrop of the Chilterns into the landscape of Pilgrims Progress. You follow the John Bunyan Trail across the Sundon Hills and the Sharpenhoe Clappers. These hills, which offer good views in several directions, inspired Bunyan’s “Delectable Mountains”.
After lunch in Pulloxhill, take the "alternative ending" back to Harlington, on the way passing Bunyan’s Oak, where he used to preach.
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, Hendon 9:48). Arrives Harlington at 10:32.
Trains return from Harlington at xx:20 and xx:50. Get a return to Harlington (or Flitwick - same price - for longer options).
Lunch
The Cross Keys, Pulloxhill, (01525 712 442).
Tea
Harlington has two pubs: The Carpenters Arms (01525 872 384) and The Old Sun (01525 877 330)
Walk Directions here
The circular walk uses the “alternative ending in Harlington”
The full 15 mile walk to Flitwick is a bit long for this time of year, but, if anyone is tempted by it or the intermediate options (using shortcuts and a different lunch stop), trains return from Flitwick (one stop further) at xx:16 and xx:46.
T=swc.230
I like the titles of your walks. Sorry I don't usually walk on Sundays.

Planning on doing the long walk...
4 off the train. 3 set off on the truncated long walk. 1 on the circular. Quite muddy underfoot in places. After climbing out of Harlington, up to the Ickneild Way, the circular 1 (who by this time was on his own) looked round and noticed that what had been mist was now fog. Having gone adrift in the area once before and being averse to doing so again in worsening visibility, he thought “sod this” and retraced his steps to the station. Hardly the Cairngorms but hey. The Flitwick 3 will have to report separately. cold damp cloudy misty turning foggy
Sad to hear this. Us other three were led by the walk author, who led from memory, inevitably taking a wrong turning here or there, but not to worry. We indeed walked Shortcut I, by passing Pulloxhill, to ensure we could lunch at The Chequers in Westoning, rumoured to be a nice gastro pub. As we arrived, there was nobody at the tables, but the bar was crowded, so we were sceptical. But it turned out to be very nice indeed. Competent roasts (I was assured by the other two), an interesting menu, quick and friendly service and a choice of good beers.
On to Steppingley for tea at the marvellous The French Horn, and then through Flitwick Wood to the station. No views due to the fog, but still a good day out, especially in the morning on freshly snow covered ground.
Sun, 10-Apr-16 7

Sunday Walk 2: The Delectable Clappers

Harlington Circular SWC walk 230
17.3 km 10.7 miles. Toughness 4/10
Can be extended to up to 15.2 miles, toughness 6/10, by finishing in Flitwick.

The second of today's walks also has a literary connection. The author of Pilgrim's Progress 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. These hills were the inspiration for his "Delectable Mountains”. After lunch in Pulloxhill, your route takes you back to Harlington, past Bunyan’s Oak, where Mr B used to preach.
Any hardnuts wanting more can opt for the full 15 mile walk to Flitwick. Slightly softer nuts can shorten that to 13.8, 13.3 or 11.9 miles.
Trains Get the Thameslink (Bedford direction) from Blackfriars at 9:24 or St Pancras at 9:34. (This train stops at a number of other stations on its way through London including East Croydon 8:56, Kentish Town 9:38, West Hampstead 9:42, Hendon 9:48). Arrives Harlington at 10:32.
To return to London.
From Harlington, xx:20 xx: 50.
From Flitwick; xx:16, xx:46
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 most main walk options take you to The Cross Keys, Pulloxhill, (01525 712 442).
Any taking shortcut 1 are catered for by two pubs in Westoning.
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 walk uses the “alternative ending in Harlington”
T=swc.230.a

7 dry sunny cool breeze patchy cloud pm
Yours truly trailed behind the others and managed to get hopelessly confused in the fields at the start and miss the turn into Sundon CP. Went up plenty hills alright including some of the Sundon Hills and the Bunyan Trail but never in a way that seemed to be heading for the Clappers. So, with Giant Despair’s thunderous footsteps getting closer and closer, I gave up on the Delectable Mountains and headed for the “prominent water tower” in the distance. At Sharpenhoe, I re found my place in the directions and followed them to Pulloxhill. The Cross Keys denied all knowledge of a previous group of walkers so where did they go? Did Giant Despair get them? I know where I went. Back to Harlington as planned.

The core of the Harlington group made it uneventfully to the Cross Keys pub, where the roast potatoes were agreed to merit a score 3.5 out of 5.

Alone among the customers, we ate outside, which is why we might not have registered in the minds of the bar staff consulted by Ian T.

And alone among the group, I followed the posted walk back to Harlington, wondering all the way how I came to do a walk identical to one I'd done in perhaps November; the others preferred to go the greater distance to Flitwick.
And another on the trailing edge I caught a later train so was 30 mins behind the group, but made it all the way to Flitwick. Small detour into some lovely bluebell woods near the Clappers. Also came across a lost walker in the same area and we walked chummily along to the Clappers car park. Only saw 2 other walkers all day, so I guess I either overtook the group while they were at the pub, or possibly more likely, I continued at the trailing edge in a leisurely fashion.
Actually, the previous posting of this walk was mid Jan.
Sat, 09-Jan-16 11

Saturday Third Walk

SWC Walk 230: Harlington to Flitwick (Harlington Circular Option) – A Bedfordshire exploration of the Sundon Hills, the Sharpenhoe Clappers and a Neolithic hill fort with a hill top lunch
Length: 10.7 miles
Difficulty: 4 out of 10
Train: Take the 9:38 Thameslink Bedford train from London Blackfriars, arriving in Harlington at 10:33. Return trains are frequent – the most suitable options are at 17:08; 17:24; 17:38; 17:54; 18:08; 18:24; 18:38; 18:54; 19:08; 19:24; 19:54; 20:24; 20:54; 21:24 and 21:54 (there are some later options as well). Buy a day return to Harlington.
This walk explores some of the northern Chiltern hills in Bedfordshire. The main attractions are the Sundon Hills (steep rolling downlands with fantastic views of the surrounding plain), the Greensand Ridge and the steep chalk escarpment of the Sharpenhoe Clappers. The hope being that this combination of features may not be too muddy.... It also features one of the largest Neolithic hill fort sites in the Southeast before a late lunch in a quiet hill top village. After lunch, it is a short and more relaxed route across the plains back to Harlington. More information on the walk and the instructions can be found here.
The recommended lunch pub is the Cross Keys (01525 712 442) in Pulloxhill (about 7.5 miles into the walk). A booking for 8 has been made at 1:30 – please adjust as appropriate, if need be. Tea and other restorative beverages and snacks can be had in Harlington at the end of the walk – some recommendations are the Carpenters Arms and the Old Sun (both on Sundon Road).

Enjoy the walk!

9.48 St Pancras
11 on this walk, including one who got a slightly later train and caught up with us at lunch. Weather cloud with some sun and rain only at end ie much better than forecast. Mud no more than might be expected on any walk slippery in places but not squelchy.

This was a very pleasant walk, particularly along the ridge in the morning, which had excellent views and ended in the very atmospheric Sharpenhoe Hill Fort. Descending from it one half expected the lunch pub to materialise, but in fact it was quite a way across the valley to another low ridge before we had that pleasure. During this section, to everyone's great surprise, the sun came out for quite a time, and it was perhaps luxuriating its unaccustomed rays that made us miss a [!] in the directions, occasioning a backtrack of some several hundred metres. There was then something of a mad dash to get to the pub before it stopped serving food at 2pm (a deadline strictly observed: our later train person was refused food at 2.10pm)

After lunch some of us did a variant whereby we stayed on the main walk route (nice views and nice road walking) and then joined the alternative route to Harlington at a later stage. Only now, as darkness fell, did the rain start for about the last mile or so to the very cosy tea pub (which did nice puddings).
Sun, 27-Sep-15 4

Sunday walk 2 The northern Chilterns - Pilgrim Country

Harlington Circular 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”
2 sunny initially then with some clouds
2 walkers off a later train, as the posted one was missed. And as we didn't encounter any other SWC folk at the lunch pub, 2 is probably the grand total for this walk. We waked the full walk ending in Flitwick.
A fine day for this walk with plenty of far views off the hills into the Bedfordshire plain all morning, with some acceptable fare at The Cross Keys in Pulloxhill and later a very good olive oil tart and a bevvie at The French Horn in Steppingley rounding off a less enterprising but very relaxing afternoon.
4
...as I've learned today, there were 2 further walkers, off the posted train, but as they were only equipped with an OS map (no printed directions, no route map, no gpx) all they did was go straight to Pulloxhill for lunch, w/o going up Sundon Hills or Sharpenhoe Clappers...and then back the same way.
Sat, 05-Jul-14 7 Harlington to Flitwick