Leagrave to Harlington walk

Meadows, solitary North Chiltern hills, ancient woodlands, steep chalk escarpments, 2 Neolithic hill forts, Barton Hills (chalk downs), and the hill top village of Harlington.

Side Valley in Barton Hills SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

Side Valley in Barton Hills

SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

12-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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The route up Warden Hill SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

The route up Warden Hill

SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

12-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Galley Hill, from Warden Hill (II) SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

Galley Hill, from Warden Hill (II)

SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

12-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Serrated Down, Barton Hills SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

Serrated Down, Barton Hills

SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

12-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

walkicon swcwalks swcwalk229 22099936162

Sharpenhoe Iron Age Hillfort Site, from near Harlington SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

Sharpenhoe Iron Age Hillfort Site, from near Harlington

SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

12-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

walkicon swcwalks swcwalk229 22122371771

The Lea, close to its source SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

The Lea, close to its source

SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

12-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk229 22112722865

The Lea, in Limbury Meads SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

The Lea, in Limbury Meads

SWC Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington

12-Oct-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk229 21924814278

Length 23.1 km (14.4 mi), with 352/378m ascent/descent. For a shorter walk see below Walk Options.
Toughness 4 out of 10, with 5 hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 7 hours 45 minutes.
Walk Notes

The start to this walk in Central Bedfordshire with a long urban stretch may sound inauspicious, but most of that actually leads through meadows along the early beginnings of The Lea River. And the rewards are many and varied: far views from solitary North Chiltern hills, ancient woodlands, steep chalk escarpments, two of the largest Neolithic hill forts in the South East and an exceptionally fine and steep chalk down land: Barton Hills, as good as any other. All this is linked by ancient track ways like the Icknield Way, by the Chiltern Way and with rolling grassy fields and fine views up to the escarpments in the afternoon. The finish is in the tranquil hill top village of Harlington.
Shortcuts reduce the effort substantially. One of them omits the Barton Hills downland and routes through the Sharpenhoe Clappers chalk escarpment instead, with fantastic views down into the plain.

Walk Options

Two – mutually exclusive – pre-lunch shortcuts reduce the length of the walk by 5.8 km and 57m ascent/descent, and by 6.5 km and 85m ascent/descent respectively.

  • Shortcut I cuts out Barton Hills, arguably the best part of the walk, and leads through the NT-owned Sharpenhoe Clappers Hills and through the Sharpenhoe Hill Fort site instead (this walk is rated 3/10).
  • Shortcut II halves the time spent in the Barton Hills (this walk is rated 2/10).

There are several Mon-Sat bus services from opposite the lunch stops in Barton-Le-Clay to Luton, terminating at Galaxy Centre, close to Luton train station, which is closer to London on the same train line.

Maps OS Explorer: 193 (Luton & Stevenage)
OS Landranger: 153 (Bedford & Huntingdon) and 166 (Luton & Hertford)
Travel Leagrave station, map reference TL 061 241, is in a north westerly suburb of Luton, 121m above sea level. Harlington station, map reference TL 034 302, is 11 km north of Luton and 95m above sea level. Both are in Central Bedfordshire. Leagrave and Harlington stations are on the Brighton to Bedford-Thameslink line, stopping at East Croydon, London Bridge (or Elephant & Castle), Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St. Pancras International and West Hampstead Thameslink. Journey times from St. Pancras to Leagrave are 38 - 40 minutes Mondays to Saturdays (4 -5 trains per hour), and from 43 - 45 minutes Sundays (2 to 4 trains per hour). Harlington is one stop further up the line and journey times are 44 - 48 minutes every day (4 trains per hour). Buy a return ticket to Harlington (Bedfordshire).

Saturday Walkers’ Club: Take the train closest to 9.30 hours (assuming travel from St. Pancras).

Lunch

The Raven of Hexton Village Street, Hexton, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 3JB (01582 881 209). The Raven is located 10.1 km (6.3 mi) into the full walk and is a traditional family-friendly pub-restaurant.
The Lavender Tea Rooms Village Hall, Hexton, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 3JB (07805 815 672). The Tea Rooms are located 10.1 km (6.3 mi) into the full walk and serve traditional cream teas, homemade cakes and light lunches in a very quirky environment.
Various options in Barton-Le-Clay (about 17 km into the walk). For details see page 2 of the Walk Directions pdf.

Tea

Millhouse Café at The Olde Watermill Dickensian Village Barton Mill Lane, off Faldo Road, Barton-le-Clay, Bedford, MK45 4RF (0845 872 0507). The Olde Watermill is located 5.4 km/3.4 mi from the end of the walk.
The Carpenters Arms 12-14 Sundon Road, Harlington, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 6LS (01525 872 384). The Carpenters Arms is a low beamed traditional village pub first licensed in 1790.
The Old Sun 34 Sundon Road, Harlington, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 6LS (01525 877 330). The Old Sun is a traditional country pub. Currently closed.

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Start LU4 9BA Map Directions Return to the start:

Finish LU5 6LD Map Directions Travel to the start:

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Help

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Oct-21 Thomas G

Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml

Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk