Another family walk on a budget! Whipsnade and Dunstable Downs

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Another sunny day, another great walk. Highly recommended.

This morning we packed the car with our lunch boxes, walking stuff, oh and not forgetting Baby A, and set off for Dunstable for a family walk. It takes about half an hour from Aylesbury, so not too far to drive.

From the National Trust website, we had printed off a 2.5 hour walk called Whipsnade and Dunstable Downs walk.

The starting point for the walk was the Chilterns Gateway Centre. There are a couple of car parks by the Centre, car parking charges do apply. It's free if you're a National Trust member, something we are considering joining as there are so many National Trust properties closeby (but that's for other blogs!). It's £2 to park all day. We would have happily paid this but we were actually given a ticket by someone so we saved ourselves the parking fee on this occasion.

With Baby A happily strapped into her carrier, we set off with our directions in hand. The directions were really good and easy to follow. It's a great circular route. I much prefer these than when you go from A to B and then have to retrace your steps exactly the way you came. We did have a bit of a moment when we realised we only had page 1 of the directions and were missing the last few instructions on page 2! Luckily we followed our instincts and we actually weren't that far from the Centre.

Baby A was in her element again on this walk and sang for much of her journey!

We all thoroughly enjoyed this walk. It took us over the Downs, through fields and woods, uphill and downhill. It also takes you through the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. What a lovely little find this was. Trees, plants and shrubs have been planted in the form of a cathedral in memorial for First World War soldiers. It was so peaceful. A lovely setting. It's now on our list to revisit during the different seasons. There is a free car park for the Cathedral if you just want to visit this.

Would definitely recommend this walk and it's very achievable with a baby on-board! The most difficult bits were where it was really muddy, but this is to be expected at this time of year and given the amount of rain we've had recently! There aren't any stiles to get over but there are quite a few gates. It's definitely a baby carrier walk rather than with a buggy though.

There was also a lot of wildlife en-route. We saw lots of different birds including a Buzzard, a Sparrow Hawk, Chaffinches, Great Tits, Robins, plus some we weren't able to identify. We passed a farm with donkeys, ponies, goats, ducks and chickens, plus a stables with a beautiful horse that came over to say hello to Baby A. There were also sheep and cows in some of the fields we went through. Baby A has not really seen that many animals in real life so it was great to start pointing them out and making the various animal sounds!

Another great walk for the cost of the petrol. Can't wait to do it again!

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One Response to “Another family walk on a budget! Whipsnade and Dunstable Downs”

  1. Forgot to mention that you could park at Bison Hill car park as this one seems to be free. For a shorter walk, could walk from here up along the Downs and back. Alternatively, could park here for a bit of a stroll to the Tree Cathedral.


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