Pubs and restaurants may be closed and dark, but all over Luton spring is bursting into the light of longer days and it’s never been more important to get some fresh air and some daily exercise.
Whilst the Coronavirus is stopping us in our tracks, the one thing it can’t stop is the arrival of the flourishing trees, blooming wild flowers and the awakening of stunning wildlife around us.
Many will miss spring altogether but for those still exercising their legs, this a chance to appreciate how delightful Spring really is.
Here’s a handful of the best Spring walks in Luton that I enjoy…
Totternhoe Green Lanes, via Dunstable
If you fancy a walk into Dunstable, the Totternhoe Green Lanes are a popular choice for walkers. You can jump on at Green Lane, just off of West Street. I’d recommend continuing the two mile journey up to the Totternhoe Nature Reserve if you’re looking for a longer walk.
There can be a bit of a climb up and down hills but the rural views are fantastic from the top. Check out this 360 degrees view of what you can expect.
Ward’s Wood, via Stopsley
Having discovered most bluebell spots in Luton over the past couple of years, this has to be my most favourite hidden gem.
From Butterfield Green Road (next to Vale Crematorium), follow the road up far as you can go, you’ll reach a stage where you have a hill in front of you, a path to the left and to the right. Take the right, it’s downhill then slightly up. Once you get to the end, turn right and follow it round. The woods are on your left and the bright bluebells will be sure to catch your eye.
I’m not sure of an official entrance to these woods, we found them quite hard to get into but we did manage to find a gap in the trees.
There are carpets full of these stunning bluebells and if you can catch a sunny day, it’s simply breathtaking.
• Use the satellite view on Google maps for reference.
• If you’re up for a longer walk (8 miles in fact), I’d totally recommend taking your walk further. Continue out of the woods on the path you was on and follow it down to the sign that points to Lilley. You can head back to Stopsley heading through Lilley and joining the Bridleways to Putteridge Road. See here for exact route.
A visit to the Dunstable Priory is a short walk everyone can enjoy. The gardens are small but very well-kept and it’s worth the colourful walk if you live in the area or are shopping at one of the nearby supermarkets.
I usually enjoy walking around the church trying to force feed squirrels, pistachios that I’ve bought from Aldi. But you’ll appreciate the stunning flower beds and carpets of daffodils if nothing else.
• It’s worth reading the information board outside the church for those that are interested in a bit of history and getting to know your local area. The Priory has some pretty surprising history!
Bide-a-While, New Bedford Road
For years I’d drove past here without even noticing it and maybe you’ve done the same?
Bide-a-While is a beautifully landscaped garden area with stunning pink blossom trees, beds of daffodils among other wild flowers.
A tranquil and relaxing place, you can usually take a spot on one of the many benches but I’d recommend on making it part of a longer walk as part of the Lea Valley route.
• Head to the back of the garden and turn left. You can follow the short walk beside the River Lea finishing at Kingsdown Avenue. You’ll rarely bump into anyone on the way through, making it a perfectly peaceful spot.
The Woodland Trust lists Bramingham Woods as one of their Top Ten bluebell woods in Britain! The walk is slightly less enchanting compared to Ward’s Wood, mostly due to the increased visitors and how easy it is to find. None the less, it’s still filled to the brim with bluebells in every corner.
I’d recommend walking the extra mile or so and heading your way up the Warden/Galley Hills for a spectacular view over Luton.
• If you’re in neither walking distance of Bramingham or Stopsley, you may want to give Bluebell Woods a try in Farley Hill. You’ll find a small woodland area filled with Bluebells in the corner of a residential park in Mortimer Close. I’ve been a number of times and never seen a soul inside!
I hope this has inspired everyone that get outside and go walking. It’s so important to still exercise and keep your mental health in a positive place at the moment. I’ve tried to cover a range of areas in Luton so everyone can enjoy the best of Luton’s Spring walks, wherever you may be.