|Statistics and Files|
|Start: Robertson Corner||Distance: 5.3 miles (8.5 km)||Climbing: 100 metres|
|Grid Ref: TL 00866 19775||Time: 3 hours||Rating: Moderate|
|GPX Route File||Google Earth File||About Whipsnade|
|Start: Robertson Corner||Distance: 5.3 miles (8.5 km)|
|Climbing: 100 metres||Grid Ref: TL 00866 19775|
|Time: 3 hours||Rating: Moderate|
|GPX Route File||Google Earth File|
The Walk: Dunstable Downs provides a spectacular starting point for this varied walk. Rising to nearly 800 feet (244 metres), the Downs are the highest point in Bedfordshire. In fact the trig pillar is not far from the start and is an optional detour if you wish. See the Bedfordshire County Top walk. Also near the start is Five Knolls, a group of Neolithic or Iron Age burial mounds. Far over to the left is the outcrop of Ivinghoe Beacon, beginning point of the Ridgeway National Trail. Whipsnade Zoo is on te route of the walk and can be visited as another optional extra.
The walk passes a tree 'cathedral', a natural setting of 25 different varieties of trees. The Tree Cathedral was the brainchild of Mr Edmond Blyth, who decided to commemorate the deaths of three of his friends in World War One. Planting began in 1930 and it was given to the National Trust in 1969.
St Mary Magdalene church in Whipsnade has a late 16th century tower built in local brick, with fine bells which have fostered a tradition of bell ringing. The splendidly carved pulpit, with its steps, door and tester is 17th century.
Whipsnade is a compound of the Anglo-Saxon personal name, Wibba, with the word "snæd" an area of woodland, so the name means "Wibba’s wood". A variation may be seen as "Wystnade" in a legal record of 1460, where named people in Dunstable were accused of trespassing.
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