Although we’ve been to Dunstable Downs many times we’d hadn’t done the walk down to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral until today. TBH I thought it was a really long walk and so we hadn’t bothered. Turns out I was wrong. It’s also a nice easy family walk which you could easily do with a pushchair
Dunstable Downs to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral Walk Route
We started at the Dunstable Downs visitor centre rather than doing the walk from the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral end. Walk down the tarmac footpath alongside the car park that leads to the Chute Woods play area (it goes under the electricity pylons).
When you get to the cross roads with the play area take the left path. This takes you down a woody track.
Continue along this path until you come to a clearing next to a telephone mast. Take the path straight ahead rather than going down the bridle path.
After a little while the path comes out onto a road (right next to a lovely looking house!!). This is a very quiet road and is only used to access the half a dozen houses and farm that are off the road.
If you continue down the path you’ll walk past the Sallowsprings nature reserve. If you want to you can walk through this meadow, or you can continue along the road. Sallowspings is essentially just a field with lots of wild flowers but it’s more interesting than tarmac!!
Continue walking down the road until you come to the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. It’s easy to spot because there’s a National Trust sign at the entrance.
The walk from Dunstable Downs to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral took us about 40 minutes, but that’s with three kids is tow (including a toddler). I think you could easily do it in 25 minutes if you wanted to. It’s a totally flat path. The woodland section does seem to get quite muddy when it’s wet though so wellies would be advisable.
Parking / How to get there
There’s parking at Dunstable Downs (free for NT members, charges apply for non members). Limited free parking at the Whipsnade end.
Dunstable Downs address – Whipsnade Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2GY
Whipsnade Tree Cathedral address – Whipsnade, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2LQ
There are no toilets at the tree cathedral, there are toilets (including baby change at Dunstable Downs)
Both places are perfect for a picnic. There’s no food at Whipsnade Tree Cathedral but there is at the Dunstable Downs visitor centre.
Social distancing information
For the vast majority of the walk the paths are wide enough to maintain social distancing. There are small sections in the woodland area where the path is less than 2m wide but there are passing places you can use. There is a kissing gate at the entrance to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral
Our Dunstable Downs to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral Walk review
The route from Dunstable Downs to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral is a nice family walk. It’s easy going even on little legs. There’s interesting things to see along the way and Whipsnade Tree Cathedral is something a bit different at the end of the walk.
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with out three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook