Walking and cycling in the Northern Chilterns and cycling in the Northern Chilterns and Hitchin •…

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<ul><li><p>Walking and cycling in the Northern Chilterns and Hitchin </p><p> Often overlooked, the steep chalk hills and quiet vaglorious displays of wild flowers, butterflies and a rhistoric market town of Hitchin this itinerary exploreSharpenhoe Clappers and Barton Hills Nature Resthe area. This itinerary includes several circular wathe picturesque villages of Pirton and Offley. Hitchi </p><p> Contents THE ITINERARY: Details of the routes that you caITINERARY LISTINGS Contact information for loADDITIONAL LISTINGS Other useful details HOW TO GET THERE Public transport options f</p><p> Northern Chilterns hidden gems </p><p> Spectacular views and wildlife </p><p> Chalky hills and woodlands </p><p> Circular walks on bus routes </p><p> Historic Hitchin easily reached by train</p><p>lleys of the Northern Chilterns are full of wildlife, from ich variety of bird life. Based around the attractive and s the gems of the Northern Chilterns: Pegsdon Hills, erves. The rising peaks provide excellent views across lks easily reached by bus from Hitchin and starting from n station is regularly served by trains from London. </p><p>Hitchin, (source www.hitchin,net)rolling hills, peaceful villages and back roads (source Chilterns AONB) </p><p>n follow and places you can visit cal businesses mentioned in the itinerary </p><p>or getting to the area </p></li><li><p>THE ITINERARY: </p><p>There are many walking and cycling opportunities in the Northern Chilterns around the historic market town of Hitchin. The Pegsdon Hills, Barton Hills National Nature Reserve and Sharpenhoe Clappers are all key features of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and are of great importance for the conservation of flowers and other wildlife living on the chalk grassland. They also provide stunning viewpoints over the rolling hills. Pegsdon Hills Circular Walk from Pirton following the Icknield Way Path (7 miles) The walk begins at the Motte and Bailey pub in Pirton, in conjunction with the Ordnance Survey Map Explorer 193 Luton and Stevenage, Hitchin and Amphill. To reach Pirton take the 89 bus from Hitchin which runs daily, except for Sundays, stopping outside the Motte and Bailey pub. For details call the Hertfordshire Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 or check the timetable at www.intalink.org.uk. Pirton can also be reached by bike along the Hambridge Way cycle path. The Motte and Bailey pub is open daily and serves real ales and has an extensive menu. To begin the walk turn left out of the pub past the green. Cross the road and follow the Icknield Way Path which is waymarked. This historical route covers 120 miles of chalk ridge and is probably the oldest road in Britain dating back to Neolithic times, about 5,000 years ago. At Hexton Road, follow the path right along the road for a short length then turn left off the road (at the small car park) following the Icknield Way up Deacon Hill enjoying the spectacular views along the ridge. At the top of the hill turn right, coming off the Icknield Way following the path down the hill to Pegsdon. At Hexton Road turn right and walk towards the village. The Live and Let Live is a lovely country pub in Pegsdon with a restaurant and impressive views of the hills from the large gardens. Leaving Pegsdon, follow the road north towards Shillington, turning left at Green End Farm and following the public footpath until you rejoin the road further north. At Applebury Farm, just past Shillington Manor, follow the public footpath right, back to Pirton. </p><p> FC T Tbh Tapsv</p><p>Pegsdon Hills With stunning views this is one of the most spectacular reserves owned by the Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust and is part of the Deacon Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest. The valley slopes and chalk grasslands are home to many rare and beautiful wildflowers and make a great day outdoors for all thefamily. The Trust has reinstated sheep grazing to maintain and improve the grassland. </p><p>or a shorter walk (3 mile) download the Chilterns Country Straw Plaiters Walk Pirton itinerary from the hilterns AONB website. http://www.chilternsaonb.org/downloads/publications/cmsPIRTONaw-1.pdf </p><p>he Three Springs Walk Offley (short 1 miles and long 5 miles) </p><p>he Chilterns AONB have also published a pub walk from Offley which can be reached via the 100 or 101 uses from Hitchin, every day except for Sunday. Call for a leaflet on 01462 459395 or download: ttp://www.chilternsaonb.org/downloads/publications/cmsOFFLEYawx6000.pdf </p><p>he walk starts at the Red Lion Pub in Offley which is in the oldest part of the village. Great Offley is an ttractive village thought to be named after Offa, King of Mercia, who is buried here. There are a number of ubs in the village which are cycle and walker friendly, including The Red Lion, which has a garden and erves home cooked food and The Green Man, which is a dining pub with a garden and patio with great iews across three counties. </p><p>2</p></li><li><p>THE ITINERARY: </p><p>Much of the walk is through open farmland, typical of the Chilterns, with wildlife to be found in the hedgerows and woodlands. The Three Springs of Mazebeard, Newfield and Mead were once small areas of coppiced woodland and the word spring refers to the regrowth of shoots from trees cut close to the ground. The shorter walk takes 45 minutes to an hour while the longer route takes 2-3 hours. By bicycle It is easier to get around the area by bicycle with Sharpenhoe Clappers (8.4 miles) and Barton Hills National Nature Reserve (7.1 miles) all within easy reach of Hitchin along the B655 towards Barton-le-Clay. There are also several country pubs which make great rest stops along the way. Past Pegsdon, the Raven Pub in Hexton, serves home cooked food and is famous for its steaks and extensive wine list. It also has a garden and patio with a play area for children. The Lynmore pub in Sharpenhoe has just been refurbished and reopens in June 2006. It has a large conservatory overlooking the Clappers and serves traditional home cooked food. </p><p> FbNd </p><p>Owned by English Nature Barton Hills National Nature Reserve is an area of beach and ash-maple woodland and chalk grassland with some rare plants. The Reserve is open all year round and has free access via some well defined paths. There are no facilities at the reserve which can be reached by busfrom Luton to Barton-le-Clay (5.5 miles). Barton Hills is immediately south of the B655 between the town of Barton-le-Clay (0.5 km west of the reserve) and the village of Hexton (1 km to the east). Luton and Hitchin train stations are approximately 7 miles away Leaflets are available from English Nature and there are information panels at the site. </p><p>d e </p><p>urther up the B4540 and set on the edge of Whipsnade Common, the Old Hunters Lodge restaurant anarl is one of the oldest houses in the village, dating back to the 15th century and thatched with reed in thorfolk style. The bar serves hot and cold snacks while the restaurant serves a wide range of a la carte ishes. </p><p>Sharpenhoe Clappers is managed by the National Trust in partnership with Bedfordshire County Council. It is believed to be the site of an Iron Age hill fort. A beech wood now covers the plateau which dominates the landscape overlooking the small village of Sharpenhoe. The fort would have been part ofthe defence along the Chiltern Ridge during the Iron Age. The name Clappers comes from the Latin term claperius which means rabbit hole. Rabbit warrens provided a consistent supply of meat and skins and were an essential part of the economy. </p><p>3</p></li><li><p>THE ITINERARY: </p><p>Stay, shop and eat in Hitchin The historic Hertfordshire market town of Hitchin is a superb base to explore the Northern part of the Chiltern Hills. Rich in history and architecture the market is held in the town every Tuesday and Saturday and has been taking place for over 500 years. The town also boasts a variety of specialist shops, cafes and restaurants providing something different for the unsuspecting visitor. Hitchin has great transport links, with a station in the town centre regularly served by trains from London and Cambridge. The town has also managed to maintain its market town traditions with many independent shops running alongside some of the better known chain stores. Try Special Occasions on Sun Street for unusual gifts, Harvest Moon on Bucklersbury for unique gifts and clothing and Reflections of Infinity, Churchyard, for designer jewellery and watches. The Lord Lister Hotel is a B&amp;B offering a warm and friendly atmosphere and interesting history. The Hotel was originally a Woolcomber's House built in the late 18th Century, and later became a Quaker school with many eminent 19th century scientists educated there. The most famous of these was Joseph Lister who pioneered germ free operations and became known as the 'father of antiseptics.' A short cycle out of Hitchin, the Redcoats Farmhouse hotel and restaurant dates back to 1450 and has been a family run business since the turn of the century. It is set in 4 acres of gardens with unspoiled views over the countryside. For those wanting to be nearer to Hitchin the Firs Hotel and Restaurant is about a mile from the centre and is another family run establishment. The a la carte restaurant has a varied menu providing snacks to a full three course meal. Slightly more central is the Sun Hotel which is a traditional coaching inn and has stood in the centre of the town since the 1700s. The hotel has a restaurant which provides a wide range of traditional English cuisine. </p><p> 4</p></li><li><p>ITINERARY LISTINGS </p><p>Things to do and see: Barton Hills National Nature Reserve 01733 455101, enquiries@english-nature.org.uk, www.english-nature.org.uk Pegsdon Hills 01234 364213, bedfordshire@wildlifebcnp.org, www.wildlifebcnp.org Where to stay: The Lord Lister Hotel (3 diamonds ETC AA) B&amp;B 1 Park Street, Hitchin, Herts, SG4 9AH 01462 432712, info@lordlisterhotel.co.uk, www.lordlisterhotel.co.uk Firs Hotel, 2 star AA B&amp;B 83 Bedford Road, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 2TY 01462 422322, info@firshotel.co.uk, www.firshotel.co.uk Redcoats Farmhouse Hotel (4 diamonds AA) B&amp;B Redcoats Green, Little Wymondley, Hitchin, Herts, SG4 7JR 01438 729500, info@redcoats.co.uk, www.redcoats.co.uk Sun Hotel, ** Sun Street, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1AF 01462 432 092, 6515@greeneking.co.uk, www.sunhotel-hitchin.com Where to eat and drink: The Green Man, dining pub 5 High Street, Great Offley, SG5 3AR 01462 768256 The Live and Let Live, country pub and restaurant Pegsdon, Nr Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 3JX 01582 881739, www.theliveandletlive.com The Lynmore pub, contemporary pub with great food Sharpenhoe Road, Sharpenhoe, Beds, MK45 45H 01582 722100 Motte &amp; Bailey, pub with dining 1 Great Green, Pirton, Hertfordshire, SG5 3QD 01462 712641 The Raven, dining pub Hexton, Hitchin, Herts. SG5 3JB 01582 881209, jack@ravenathexton.f9.co.uk, www.theraven.co.uk Red Lion Pub Kings Walden Road, Offley, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 3DZ 01462 768281, redlionoffley@supanet.com </p><p> 5 </p></li><li><p>ITINERARY LISTINGS </p><p>What to buy: Harvest Moon, unusual gifts 36 Bucklersbury, Hitchin, SG5 1BG 01462 432935 Reflections of Infinity, designer jewellery 26 Churchyard, Hitchin, SG5 1HP 0845 603 5697, www.reflections-of-infinity.co.uk Special Occasions, unique and unusual gifts 29 Sun Street, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 1AH 01462 453817 How to get around: From Hitchin the 89 bus runs from the Station, through the town centre to Pirton every day except for Sundays. On Tuesdays only, the 77 bus operates between Hitchin, Pegsdon, Hexton and Barton-le-Clay (Barton Hills Nature Reserve). The 100 and 101 buses run daily to Offley, except for Sundays. For timetables check www.intalink.org.uk. ADDITIONAL LISTINGS: www.e-hitchin.co.uk www.hitchin.net www.premiertravelinn.com www.visitbeds-luton.com OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION Chilterns AONB, walking, cycling and attractions in the Chilterns 01844 355500 www.chilternsaonb.org/ National Trust, visiting hours and handbook 0870 458 4000 (minicom 0870 240 3207) www.nationaltrust.org.uk www.wildlifetrusts.org www.icknieldwaypath.co.uk HOW TO GET THERE: Hitchin is 30-41 minutes from Londons Kings Cross station with trains departing every 20 minutes. Traveline for train and bus information 0870 6082608 (code 820), www.traveline.org.uk Intalink, Herts and Southeast train and bus info www.intalink.org.uk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 08457 484950 </p><p> 6www.nationalrailenquires.co.uk </p></li><li><p> The CAReFREE itineraries are designed to encourage visitors to explore and enjoy the special landscapes of the East of England with minimal impact on the environment, while generating positive benefits for local people. The itineraries give visitors exciting ideas about what to do in the area, by leaving their car at home or at their accommodation, and exploring the area by bike, boat, bus, horse or train. The itineraries for each area can be found at the following websites: </p><p>The Brecks www.brecks.org Enjoy living on a working farm Horse riding breaks in and around Thetford </p><p>Forest Biking and Brewing in Thetford Forest </p><p> The Broads www.broads-authority.gov.uk Canoe Safaris Great ideas for discovering the best of the </p><p>Broads by cycle Walks and sights of the Broads by train and </p><p>bus </p><p>The Chilterns AONB www.chilternsaonb.org Grand Union Canal and Tring Reservoirs North Chilterns Villages by Bicycle Walking and Cycling in the Northern Chilterns </p><p>and Hitchiin </p><p>Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley www.dedhamvalestourvalley.org </p><p> A day walking through Constable Country Days out cycling on the Painters Trail Exploring the Stour Valley on foot </p><p> Norfolk Coast AONB www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk </p><p> Exploring the Norfolk Coast Cycleway See the wildlife wonders of North Norfolk </p><p>by bus Great ideas for making the most of the </p><p>area by bus and train Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org </p><p> A car free break in Southwold Exploring the Stour Estuary Woodbridge, Sutton Hoo </p><p>and the Deben Estuary </p><p> BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: If you are business in the one of these areas and would like to write your own itinerary to show visitors how to enjoy the area near you without using their car to get around, you will find a blank itinerary template (a Word document) together with a toolkit explaining how to complete the itinerary, at the websites listed above. </p><p> For further information contact: Chilterns Conservation Board The Lodge Station Road Chinnor Oxon OX39 4HA Tel: 01844 355521 Fax: 01844 355501 www.chilternsaonb.org </p><p> The CAReFREE itineraries are funded by </p><p>7</p></li></ul>


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