08 May 2023: 5 Hills and Natural Spring, The Chilterns AONB

Event led by Khris R.
Attendance: 9 men.
Distance: 11.2 miles (18.0 km).
Time: start 11:08, end 16:24, lunch 23 minutes.
Speed: moving arithmetic average 2.32 mph (3.73 kph).
Terrain: pavement, road, track, field edge, grassland on footpath, bridleway, highway.
Elevation: low 65m, high 192m (as measured by GPS), start 103m.
Weather: overcast, occasional light shower, 7°C to 9°C, 15mph northerly wind
Number of sewage works: 1.
Number of churches: 1.
Number of golf courses: 1.


This was a circular walk of ~11 miles from the Cassel memorial hall, Lilley, W to Warden Hill, N to Barton Hills, NE through Hexton, S through Pegsdon Hills W to Lilley. The route was almost entirely within the NE exclave of the Chiltern Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the exception is a road at the northern edge of Hexton).

Points of interest

  • The icon of Lilley is a lion. It appears in statue form and many of the houses wear the icon. The lion is thought to be the icon of the Dowcra family (source: WikiShires).
  • Views W from the Warden Hills, overlooking Luton. A great elevation to see a town, ranging from its tower blocks to the north (Marsh Farm Estate) to the air control tower of Luton Airport in the distant south.
  • Barton Hills Nature Reserve, a woodland grown on chalk land, with fine chalk streams and the Barton Spring. The route to the Barton Spring was down the side of the Warden Hill - itself something that might have worried a goat – then up the steep side of a Barton hill. Lunch was at the top of this hill. The views from the lunch spot extended to the middle-distance W and N, over Harlington and Flitwick.
  • Pegsdon Hills. Approaching on the lowlands from the north, the sight of the hills is itself noteworthy, promising a nice steep gradient uphill. With elevation, views in the middle- to far-distance N to NE towards the ultra-flat Cambridgeshire come into view, one marker of which is the Biggleswade array, a wind turbine farm (campaign group press release, undated, tech ref).


Sewage works

Golf courses

Optional pub stop

  • The Lilley Arms, Lilley, a free house. As at the date of the walk, the pub was up for sale (Rightmove). 4 members joined the optional pub stop.

Words by Martin Thornhill. Pictures by Peter O’Connor.

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