The Downs are set within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with an abundance of flora and fauna characteristic of chalk grasslands. See the Five Knolls Round Barrow Cemetery from the late Neolithic period, the only such site in the county. The walk passes through the village of Totternhoe.
A new visitor centre, The Chilterns Gateway Centre, with toilets, car parking and a cafe, has opened.
Dunstable is just east of Junction 11 of the M1, on the A505. The Downs can be reached from the A5.
There is a car park at Dunstable Downs Visitor Centre where there is a car park charge.
Dunstable Downs is the suggested starting point and the walk is described in an anti-clockwise direction. However, it can also be started from the National Trust car park on Bison Hill (see map) and the walk can be shortened to approximately 4½ miles following the details shown on the map at point 7.
Distance: 6½ miles / 10.4km
Time: 3½ hours
Surface Types: You will walk across surface types ranging from hard and firm with no stones larger than 5mm, to hard and firm with no stones greater than 10mm, to hard and firm with some loose, variable sized stones, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with and without ruts and mud.
Linear Gradient: There are linear gradients steeper than 1:6, of between 1:6-1:9, between 1:10-1:13, betwen 1:14-1:17 and 1:18 or less. There are stretches with steep gradients throughout the walk and some paths are very rutted.
Cross Falls: There are sections with cross falls of 1:9 or steeper, of between 1:10-1:15, between 1:16-1:20, between 1:21-1:25 and of 1:26 or less. The cross falls are found along the whole route.
Width Restriction: There are no width restrictions less than 1000mm.
Steps: None recorded.
Barriers: There are 7 kissing gates with a restriction of less than 1000mm, 4 two-way opening gate with a width greater than 750mm and 1 staggered barrier with a minimum restriction greater than 950mm.
Refreshments: There is a pub (The Old Farm Inn) at Totternhoe. There is a general store and newsagents at West Street (about 100m from the walk). Refreshments are also available at the Chilterns Gateway Centre (when open).
Public Toilets: At the Chilterns Gateway Centre (when open).
Picnic Tables: There are ten picnic tables at the Chilterns Gateway Centre.
Seats: There are 19 seats on the route.
This is one of a series of circular walk leaflets produced by Central Bedfordshire Council. Click here for the Council's Countryside page.