The Northern Chilterns

As this blog expands, I thought it may help to group the stories by north, central and southern Chilterns.

The Bedfordshire and northern Hertfordshire landscape that is the least explored. That is what makes this landscape of mixed urban sprawl that encircles the Barton and Pegsdon Hills and surrounding farmland with villages the most interesting.

Just north of the Barton Hills and within sight of the escarpment that runs from Sharpenhoe through to Knocking Hoe, Shillington village is crowded around its church. A prominent landmark atop its chalk hill, the tower is visible for miles around.

From Shillington towards Sharpenhoe Clappers
The view towards Sharpenhoe Clappers

Just when you think you’ve enjoyed most of the beauty that the Chilterns has to offer, two special locations come along in the same week. The Amaravati Buddhist monastery and Barton Hills National Nature Reserve (NNR).

Scenic view
Beautiful views from Barton Hills

Sir John could never have imaged 600 years ago what would be at the bottom of his formal garden. No more than we can imagine what will be at the bottom of our gardens in another 600 years. The castle at the end of runway.

Luton Airport
Someries Castle

In this quiet corner of the northern Chilterns, in St Margarets, Great Gaddesden you will find the Amaravati Buddhist monastery.

Amaravati Buddhist monastery
Amaravati Buddhist monastery

Not just for old ladies, these fields outside Hitchin of Chilterns lavender in summer, will delight almost everyone. Well almost!

Hitchin lavender customers
It has to be perfect

Low-tech, quirky museums, often in intriguing buildings with windy stairs, dust and dated interior design, are to be treasured. The Chilterns has its fair share, most under the radar, unless you live on the same street, that is where they will probably remain. One Master, three book and 300 boys.

British Schools museum
British Schools Museum, Hitchin

Anonymous initials, an evocative place name and the ghost of a Celtic tribal chief? It seems fitting that such a place, whilst no longer occupied, still draws visitors who wish also to leave their mark, and a former first century tribal chieftain reputedly still there, marking his presence from the sky. Sharpenhoe Clappers – what’s in a name?

The home of a Celtic Tribal Chief
Sharpenhoe Clappers