WALKS

Sundon Hills – Toddington Circular Walk (7.7 miles)

IMPORTANT: If you wish to follow my same route, I am not responsible for the safety or well-being of anyone who wishes to do so. Please see here for full disclaimer.

Highlights:

• Fantastic views over Bedfordshire countryside.
• Plenty of wild animals grazing en-route.
• Mostly follows Ickneild Way route which is clearly signposted along the way.

My Route:

From the Sundon Hills Country Park car park walk, follow the hedge to the left downhill and parallel to the road for about 50m, pass through a kissing gate on the left, cross the road carefully.

Continue on the verge to the right passing into a field on the left, you’ll see straw barrells leading you in. Follow the ridge keeping the hedge on your left. At the end of the hedge (not at the breaks in the hedge) the official path does a bit of a dog leg. Continue into the next field and cross diagonally left downhill towards a sewage works.

Follow the track up the hill to Upper Sundon. The route is marked using Icknield Way waymark discs and roadside signs. When the track joins the road, cross and turn right on the footway. As the road bends sharply
to the left, take the dead-end road on the right (Common Lane). Follow this lane as it becomes a footpath.

Much of the surrounding land is designated as ‘Open Access’ and worthy of exploring. The footpath joins an access road with minimal traffic, turn right continuing downhill to a T-junction, continue straight ahead on a footpath.

The path crosses over the railway on a footbridge. The main route continues straight forward on a bridge over the M1, following the Icknield Way on a bridleway. This is the route Toddington workers at the former quarry took to get to work.

Continue over fields until the route emerges on the B530 road. Carefully cross the road taking the footpath on the right (on a short section which does not follow Icknield Way). As you enter this field, this a good place to stop and have lunch if you bring your own packed lunch. If you go any further you’ll be too close to the animals.

As you go through the next gate, to your right you’ll see tonnes of rabbit holes which is perfect for spotting wild rabbits. You can sit on a ledge above the hill watching down at them but be as silent as you can or you’ll scare them away.

Continuing the walk following this footpath diagonally right up and over the field, beware as these fields normally have animals grazing. Continue to follow this path up and down hills, through a series of gates, catching glimpses of the tower of Toddington church. The Icknield Way path re-joins from the left then the path passes through a wooded area climbing up into Toddington village.

Return journey:

The path emerges at the end of a road, continue up the road to a farm entrance on the right. At this point on the left, note the walkers directional sign post giving distances along the Icknield Way. Toddington village centre (with shops, bakery, pubs and café) is a little further up the road towards the church.

Pass through the kissing gate, cross the field diagonally right (these fields normally have horses grazing). Pass through two more gates, turn right along the farm track, then almost immediately left, keeping the hedge on your left. Appreciate the views back towards Sundon Hills to your right.

After 100m the Icknield Way path turns right. Follow this path as it passes downhill, this was a little overgrown when we walked this route so be careful of the stinging nettles (I would wear trousers, not shorts).

At the B530 road, cross carefully, continuing to follow the path to the M1 service road, turn right to cross over the motorway. Traffic on the service road does not expect to encounter walkers. Note the plaque on the bridge parapet recording the opening of motorway.

Take the left hand road towards Old Park farm, then before the farm house entrance gates take the bridleway on the right. You’ll feel as though you’re walking into a farm (you are but don’t worry!) Follow the track around the buildings to the left and at the T-junction follow the track to the right. Watch out for the tractors that regularly drive up and down and kick up lots of dust!

After a quarter of a mile a waymark post indicates that the bridleway goes left past a pylon towards the railway. It’ll look like a random crop field that you shouldn’t be crossing but it seems as the though the farmers may have gone over the route with mud. You’ll see the pylon in front of you and just to be sure you’re on the right track, there’s a bridleway sign right next to the pylon pointing you further forward.

Follow the bridleway under the railway bridge and into the tunnel and straight on along a hedged path, continue around to the right along the field edge. A waymark post indicates where the Icknield Way continues on the bridleway left towards Dyers farm, it continues on the field edges to the right of the farm buildings, continue following the field edge until the path emerges on a road, cross carefully and turn right through a kissing gate.

The permissive path leads uphill between two fields. Continue through another kissing gate into a wooded area, after few hundred metres a path to the left goes up some steps, through part of a former quarry, at the top of further steps appreciate the easterly views to Sharpenhoe Clappers. Now turn right to continue climbing, though a gate, keeping the hedge on your left. Sheep may be grazing. Continue climbing across the field up the hill to the hedge at the top, then turn right following the hedge to return to the car park.

Disclaimer: Some route information has been provided by The Ickneild Way Association.

Please stay safe, social distance and respect your surroundings.

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