Walk in the steps of wooden giants at Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

Walking trail

With the National Trust, follow the bridleway that leads towards Whipsnade Village, discovering the surrounding countryside and chalk hills of Dunstable Downs and the peace and tranquility of the uniquely designed Tree Cathedral.

Suitable for families.


Map route for Walking in the steps of wooden giants


Chilterns Gateway Centre, grid ref: TL008193


From outside the Chilterns Gateway Centre facing the downs, walk left picking up the bridleway, walking past the wind catcher. Once you pass the hedgerow on the left hand side turn immediately left (keeping hedgerow to your left).

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The view overlooking the Bedfordshire countryside from Dunstable Downs.


Go through the gate into a long grazing area. There is a belt of conifers to your left. Continue walking until you reach a gate. Leave the grazing area through the gate and immediately turn left continuing along the bridleway until you reach the beginning of a housing area. Turn left through a gate following the path alongside a housing boundary until you reach a kissing gate, and walk through into a field with fencing on the right. The next gate leads into the lawns around the Tree Cathedral.

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Whipsnade Tree Cathedral


After enjoying the tranquility of the Tree Cathedral, walk back to the entrance and head towards the car park. Leave the car park out into Whipsnade Village.

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Whipsnade Village


Crossing the road ahead follow the road towards Kensworth, past the old church on the right and down the hill. The Hunter Lodger public house will be on your left. You will eventually come to a small roundabout. Cross the road with care towards Whipsnade Heath car park. Follow the tarmac path and then follow the footpath straight ahead through a small woodland. Continue through the woodland reaching the kissing gate and cross into pasture, cross the field to the roadside opposite Greenend Farm, following the footpath indicated to the left. This fenced footpath leads down to Codling Bank.

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The Countryside at Codling Bank


At the valley bottom turn left into kissing gate and walk diagonally up hill until the hill flattens out. The footpath will continue straight until you reach a kissing gate in the corner of the field. Following the track with the fence to your right, join the gently rising headland path along the left hand field edge where the track will go slightly up hill. There is a tall aerial in the skyline and a mixed plantation to your left. At the way-marked post to your left, follow the path into the plantation, and continue until reaching the roadside. Turn right onto the Isle of Wight Lane and continue walking to the junction with the B4541 to Robertson Corner where you will see the Gateway Centre straight ahead of you.

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A view of the Dunstable Downs Visitor Centre


Chilterns Gateway Centre, grid ref: TL008193

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Walk in the steps of wooden giants at Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire


A walk covering a variety of terrain including heathland, chalk grassland and downland with an opportunity of seeing wildlife. If taking your dog please keep it under control at all times.

Walk in the steps of wooden giants at Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

Contact us

Walk in the steps of wooden giants at Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

How to get here

Chilterns Gateway Centre, Dunstable Road, Whipsnade, Dunstable, Beds, LU6 2GY
By train

Luton station 7 miles, from here take Arriva 61 bus service (see By bus above)

By road
On B4541 west of Dunstable and Whipsnade. Post code for Sat Nav: LU6 2GY, or LU6 2TA for older equipment.
By foot

Footpaths from West Street and Tring Road, Dunstable

By bus
Arriva 61, Luton station to Aylesbury (daily except Sundays), alight West Street, Dunstable. From here, you can join the walk at the Chilterns Gateway Centre
By bicycle
Public bridleway from West Street in Dunstable and Whipsnade. Cycle parking available at the Gateway Centre.
Walk in the steps of wooden giants at Dunstable Downs, 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
  • Cycling - public bridleway giving cyclists shared access. Route is part of Icknield Way Trail
  • 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