Walk on the Wildside No.4 - Kensworth


This is one of a series of short walks throughout the countryside in South Bedfordshire. It is a circular walk exploring the village of Kensworth, its history and the local environment.

How To Get There By Passenger Transport

Click here for bus and train timetable information  

How To Get There By Car

From the centre of Dunstable take the B489 then left at the roundabout - B4541. Another left turn - B4540 to Kensworth.
Limited on road parking is available in the village. Please show consideration to residents. Alternatively park at Dunstable Downs but this will add approx 1 mile to your walk.

Start/Finish Point

The walk starts from The Farmer's Boy Public  House in Kensworth.

Access and General Information

Length: 3 miles (4.8 km)
Time: 2 hours
Access Information:
Surface Types: You can expect to walk across varied surfaces ranging from hard and firm with no stones greater than 5mm to hard and firm with no stones greater than 10mm, to hard and firm with some loose stones no greater than 10mm in size, to hard but variable surfaces with loose, variable sized stones, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with and without ruts and mud, to cultivated farmland.
Linear Gradient: The steepest linear gradient is steeper than 1:6 for short sections. There is also a longer stretch of gradient measuring between 1:6-1:9.
Cross Falls: The steepest cross fall is 1:9 or steeper along Codlings Bank.
Width Restriction: There is no restriction less than 1000mm.
Steps: There are 19 steep steps by the quarry of varying heights and depths, the maximum step height being 350mm. At the junction of Paths 4 and 9 by the church, there are four tree roots creating shallow steps.
Barriers: There is one kissing gate with a minimum width restriction of 570mm, one two-step stile and a staggered barrier with a minimum restriction of 420mm.
Refreshments: There are pubs and shops in Kensworth.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: None on route.
Seats: None recorded.

Route Description

There are no route instructions - just follow the red line on the map.
Click here to download the map

Points of Interest

Kensworth village was involved in the cottage industry of straw plaiting for hats. The plaiters, mainly women and children, used straw from locally grown wheat to make long plaits which were sold to the hat makers in Luton and Dunstable. In the early 19th century, plaiting schools were established and children as young as three were crowded into rooms to plait for at least eight hours a day.

Up to the early 20th century many of the local farms used donkey wheels (treadmills) to draw the water from wells deep beneath the chalk.

Kensworth Quarry has been in operation since the 1960s, quarrying chalk to use for making cement. The chalk is pounded into slurry (a gooey liquid), which is pumped along an underground pipeline to Rugby some sixty miles away. Two million tons of chalk are quarried annually and the pipeline works twenty-four hours a day. When the quarrying is finished the land will be restored to its former glory with trees and chalk meadows.

When the poor folk of the village lost a loved one they would arrange for the coffin to be carried along the "coffin route" to St Mary's Church for burial. The route is said to be haunted by a witch, a headless milkmaid and a large, black, one-eyed dog, which had a terrible reputation for aggression!


The North Chilterns Trust looks after the natural environment in Luton and South Bedfordshire. The project partners are Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough Councils, The Wildlife Trust and Three Valleys Water. Also supported by Luton and Dunstable Partnership - funded by SRB