Dunstable Downs countryside walk, Bedfordshire

Walking trail

Follow this walk with the National Trust, discovering diverse wildlife, Iron Age hill forts and burial mounds. Visit the Icknield Way and the ramparts of Maiden Bower, a Neolithic hill fort. For those who are a little fitter.

Eating, drinking and shopping.

Don’t forget to pop into the Chilterns Gateway Centre for some delicious food and a browse round our gift shop.


Route map for Dunstable Downs countryside walk


Visitor Centre car park, grid ref: TL008195


From the car park, walk slightly downhill over the grass area, then turn right following the path along the top of the slope, past the site of the Medieval warren as far as the five knolls tumuli.

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Kite Flying on Dunstable Downs


Continue downhill to West Street, which runs along the line of the Icknield Way.

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Walker at Dunstable Downs near Five Knolls


Cross West Street on to Green Lane opposite, known also as Drovers Way. This is part of a network of tracks and paths in and around Dunstable, traditionally used by drovers to take livestock to market in Dunstable, but now popular with walkers and horse riders.


Continue as far as the crossroads. In the field diagonally to the right, the line of trees marks the rampart of Maiden Bower. At the second crossroads, turn left along the Houghton Green Highway into Totternhoe village.

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Maiden Bower on Dunstable Downs


Cross Dunstable Road and follow Furlong Lane, turn left onto Church Road and left again on to Well Head Road. Follow this as far as the Icknield Way near Well Head.


Cross the road and follow the bridleway opposite as far as the base of the Downs.


Turn right at the end of the bridleway. Follow the footpath at the bottom of the slope, through the fence, until a track is reached on the left. NOTE: for a shorter walk, follow this track uphill and back to the starting point along an ancient hollow way.


Pass through a gate, turn left uphill for 50yds (45m), then turn right onto a sunken way. This path is an old cut way which would have offered travellers an easier way up the slope. Follow this path as it climbs up the Downs and then back to the bottom.


Join the footpath that follows the bottom of the Downs.


Just before the road, join the bridleway which climbs uphill, looking back at views of the Vale of Aylesbury and Ivinghoe Beacon.

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A view of the Vale of Aylesbury from Ivinghoe Beacon


With the car park on your right, carry on uphill and turn left into a large grass field. Please keep your dogs on a lead in this field as there may be sheep grazing.


Follow the hedge line at the top of the field, with more views of the Vale of Aylesbury on your left. You're following the Ridgeway Link which joins Dunstable Downs to Ivinghoe Beacon. After walking under a number of beech trees and passing through a bridle-gate, the Chilterns Gateway Centre soon appears on the right.

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Visitor Centre car park, grid ref: TL008195

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Dunstable Downs countryside walk, Bedfordshire


Circular walk. Parts of the walk can become muddy and slippery after wet weather, sturdy footwear is advisable. Some stiles and gates. Dogs welcome under close control; please remove any dog litter.

Dunstable Downs countryside walk, Bedfordshire

Contact us

Dunstable Downs countryside walk, Bedfordshire

How to get here

Whipsnade Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2GY
By train

Luton, 7 miles (11km), from here take 61 bus service (see By bus)

By road

On B4541 between Dunstable and Whipsnade

By foot

Footpaths from West Street and Tring Road, Dunstable

By bus

Centrebus runs a service from Dunstable to St Albans, via Dunstable Downs, Mondays to Saturdays (number 34 and 35). There is no service on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Please check bus services with Centrebus before travelling.

By bicycle

Public bridle-way from West Street in Dunstable and Whipsnade. Cycle parking at Gateway Centre

Dunstable Downs countryside walk, Bedfordshire

Facilities and access

  • Parking at Dunstable Downs off B451 (£2.50); Whipsnade Tree Cathedral, B4540 (off the village green); Bison Hill off B4540; Whipsnade crossroads, junction of B4541 and B4540
  • Dogs welcome under close control, on leads near livestock
  • Baby-changing rooms available at the Chilterns Gateway Centre during opening hours
  • Mobility parking in main car park, 20 yards
  • Grounds partly accessible on multi-user route
  • Level access to Chilterns Gateway Centre
  • Mobility toilets available both inside and outside the Chilterns Gateway Centre during opening hours