Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre and Whipsnade Estate, Dunstable

Categories: Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 420+ reviews on the web
Dunstable Downs are part of the Chiltern Hills, in southern Bedfordshire in England. They are a chalk escarpment forming the north-eastern reaches of the Chilterns. At 797 ft (243 m), Dunstable Downs are the highest point of the county of Bedfordshire.Because of its elevation, Dunstable Downs hosted a station in the shutter telegraph chain which connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships in the port of Great Yarmouth during the years 1808 to 1814.Whipsnade Zoo has cut an enormous lion shape into the chalk into the side of one of the hills. The lion can be seen from the B489 (Aylesbury to Dunstable road).The downs are used by gliders, kite fliers, hang gliders and paragliders in the area because of their height. The London Gliding Club is based at the foot of the downs.Much of the downs are managed by the National Trust as part of the Dunstable Downs, Countryside Centre & Whipsnade Estate property.AscentsCentral Bedfordshire Council and the National Trust commissioned Architype architects to build a visitor centre known as the Chilterns Gateway Centre, on the very top of Dunstable Downs. The summit is right next to the B4541 road that crosses the hill, and so an ascent of the hill requires nothing more than getting out of a car at the highest point and walking across to the trig point.
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  • I live very close to Dunstable Downs but there are photos of me as a little child from Watford at the Downs with my parents. We don't have the seaside but we do have Dunstable Downs! The views across ...  read more »
  • Dunstable Downs is a location in Buckinghamshire I have enjoyed visiting since I was a child with family. Great views, nice walks, lovely location. It's great for all the family. Only downside? Pay an...  read more »
  • We took our 4 year old grand daughter here to learn to fly her new kite. Success guaranteed as there is always a breeze coming up by the visitor centre. Even on a hazy day the views are good. There ar...  read more »
  • I was there this weekend (17th April) , it is a lovely facility with plenty of parking. I personally thought that £2.50 for non NT members wasn't that bad, especially when it costs considerably more than that to park at the Zoo just up the road. The cafe was a little on the expensive side to be fair, but as it is a NT site I was happy to pay the somewhat inflated charges. On a down side it was somewhat disorganised as you have to pay for different things at different tills, some of which didn't take card payments. I found that very odd in this day and age. It was a very busy day and when I was in the visitor centre I could see that some staff were getting toward the end of their tether, which needs to be worked on as this is a site that draws visitors from far and wide. All in all though we had a good day at a well maintained and presented facility that was fairly good value for money.
  • Beautiful scenery and lots of walking trails. On an optimal day you can see paragliders, hang-gliders and glider planes all up in the air. An awesome sight, especially watching the paragliders lifting off.
  • Great views. Good for kites and walks on downs. The visitors centre is okay, but pricey.
  • Great place for a walk lovely views. Very windy!
  • Very scenic views with a very efficient and keenly priced visitors centre. Great walks all set out for all.
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