This route offers the walker some of the most stunning views in the whole of the Chilterns and visits a number of important wildlife sites featured in the book by Gay Beattie "The Pilgrim’s Progress Wild Flowers and Where to Find Them in The Chilterns." Pegsdon and Deacon Hills were a favourite of the writer and preacher John Bunyan who referred to them in as the "Delectable Mountains".
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Start : An old road West of Pegsdon (SG5 3JS) Grid ref. TL 118 301
(D/A) From the entrance to the parking area, turn left on the road towards the village. Turn right onto Pegsdon Way and 200m after passing the View pub you reach a road junction.
(1) Turn left on the North Chiltern Trail (A) towards Pegsdon Common Farm for 500m. Just after the lane bends to the left, turn right uphill on a path across fields. Go through the hedgerow then up the steps ahead. Follow the path to the right of a wood and a field to the top of the hill.
(2) Here, turn left on a wide grassy strip between fields and continue on this undulating path. At the end of the field turn right uphill on a wide path. At the top go past, but not through, the entrance to Knocking Hoe Nature Reserve (B) then straight on past a farm gate to a crossing bridleway. Turn left along it for 100m, then bear left and follow the bridleway for about half a mile.
(3) Turn right onto a footpath marked Chiltern Way and stay in the same direction along the left-hand edge of a field, Pass through a kissing gate in a fence and carry on to the left of the hedge. Go through a kissing gate about 50m from the corner of the field, and stay directly ahead to the left of a hedgerow down to a fenced-in path just before the road. Go left along the path by the side of the road which shortly curves right to the road. Cross the road, taking great care. Take the wide grassy track ahead for 180m.
(4) At a junction of tracks turn directly right towards the middle of a copse. There may be several mowed tracks - aim just to the left of the larger conifers. Go through the copse and then straight across a field to a lane. Turn right and walk along to the main road. Turn left along the path at the road edge and continue to a small parking area.
(5) Ahead is the ancient Icknield Way Trail. Do not go along it, but go a little further to the right and look for a wooden kissing gate into the field on your left. Go through it and follow the left-hand edge of the field as it runs parallel to the Trail. At the end of the field you will find a Natural England information board.
Alternative Route: To avoid the steep climb, go straight ahead on the Icknield Way (C) - a broad hedged track which can be muddy at times. You climb steadily for nearly a mile. After the track flattens off, look for a kissing gate on your right. Go through the gate into Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve by an information board. Head straight ahead to a fence corner and follow the path to the left of the fence to rejoin the main route just after Waypoint (7).
(6) From the information board there are two options: for a more strenuous route, see below. Go past the information board and into the next field. Turn right to climb to the trig point at the top of Deacon Hill (D). Follow the ridge round to the left and, without losing much height, continue to a wooden kissing gate at the entrance to Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve (E). Go through it and follow the track as it contours round the hill to the right of a fence.
(7) When you reach a wooden kissing gate in the fence, go through it and turn right along the fence. Follow the fence as it soon turns right around the top of a dry valley. Ignore the wooden gate on the right and continue to the next one directly ahead. Go through it and follow the path as it descends by the edge of a dry valley. Stay in the same direction through two further gates and all the way down to the last gate by the main road. Cross over and keep straight ahead to the parking area. (D/A)
We hope you have enjoyed your walk. Please remember to rate the walk and add comments. We are interested in how we could improve the instructions or the route and would like to hear about any issues with paths on the walk.
D/A : km 0 - alt. 86m - Parking area
1 : km 0.44 - alt. 84m - Road junction - North Chiltern Trail
2 : km 1.28 - alt. 106m - Top of the hill - Knocking Hoe
3 : km 2.74 - alt. 93m - Chiltern Way
4 : km 3.9 - alt. 130m - Junction of tracks
5 : km 4.99 - alt. 130m - Small parking area - Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve
6 : km 5.47 - alt. 141m - Information board - Deacon Hill
7 : km 6.61 - alt. 172m - Wooden kissing gate in the fence
D/A : km 7.88 - alt. 89m - Parking area
Start : An old road West of Pegsdon (SG5 3JS) Grid ref. TL 118 301
Terrain: A moderate walk on good paths. No stiles. One steep ascent that can be avoided on an alternative route - see Waypoint (4).
Parking: Turn off the B655 Barton Road towards Pegsdon and Shillington and take the first left to park in the old road. If full, there may be other spaces in the village. If the pub is open and you plan to use it you may also be able to park there.
Food & drink: The View pub, Pegsdon, Beds SG5 3JX. None on the walk
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
(B) Knocking Hoe: A National Nature Reserve which contains large populations of rare plants, including such chalk downland varieties as rock rose, dwarf thistle, clustered bellflower, lady’s tresses and hoary plantain. There are also large populations of pasque flower, fleawort, burnt-tip orchid, as well as the very rare spotted catsear and moon carrot.
(C) The Icknield Way is one of the oldest tracks in England and possibly our oldest road. It extends from East Anglia to the West Country and is one of the four ancient highways of England mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth. First used in Neolithic times by flint traders, it’s now a 195km/120mile long distance path.
(D) Deacon Hill: A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a fine example of chalk downland. On the slopes there are medieval cultivation terraces, known as strip lynchets.
(E) Pegsdon Hills and Hoo Bit Nature Reserves: Part of the Deacon Hill SSSI, they belong to the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust. They are one of the jewels of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and have some of the most stunning views in the area. Look out for birds such as buzzard, fieldfare, grey partridge, lapwing, meadow pipit, redwing, skylark, turtle dove, wheatear and yellowhammer. You may also see brown argus, dark green fritillary, green hairstreak and small heath butterflies, and glow-worms, as well as plants like autumn gentian, fragrant orchid, milkwort, rock rose, common spotted orchid, cowslip, eyebright, harebell and wild thyme. The Wildlife Trust has reminded us that there is livestock on their Reserve at Pegsdon all year round; signs are posted round the site giving instructions to protect animals and aid conservation management.
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The northern end of the Chilterns almost seem to be a geological afterthought as they straddle the Bedfordshire Hertfordshire border. Starting from Hexton this walk offers mile after mile of beautiful countryside with the hilltops steeped in ancient history.
Starting from Hexton this walk on the borders of Befordshire and Hertfordshire offers mile after mile of beautiful countryside with the hilltops steeped in ancient history. The route includes sections of the Icknield and John Bunyan Ways.
A walk through two of the finest nature reserves in the North Chilterns linked by the ancient Icknield Way track. Fine views and a wealth of natural interest.
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