3:30 – Lilley
Ever since Day 2, I have been very aware of the nearness of Luton Airport, as I walked first east, to the south of Luton, then north, to its east. After leaving was now becoming louder.
My original plan had been to walk the paths shown through Lawrence End Farm, but they are a private drive and tracks and inaccessible; this explains while the Chiltern Way keeps to the road, as did I therefore, up to Wandon Green Farm. The I had to find the path by Slough Wood: it is not signposted but appears on careful examination as a hole in the trees which opens up into a path. Eventually it reaches an open field, but the harvest has made it completely disappear. A careful compass bearing found the route, which then joined up again with the Chiltern Way to the edge of Breachwood Green. This path is directly beneath the inbound flightpath of Luton Airport: all those EasyJet aeroplanes flying back from Malaga with passengers who have just spent two weeks lazing in the sun, and here and I down here. They don’t know what they’re missing.
The roar of jets in the air and on the ground is ever-present here and for several miles of the path, and I could clearly seen the aircraft manoeuvring on the ground at Luton or ‘London Luton’ as it is now called. (Actually, that’s not a bad idea, for expanding London’s airport capacity – do not demolish the county’s prettiest village but redesignate more airports as ‘London’. How about ‘London Cambridge’, ‘London Cardiff’ or better still ‘London Schiphol’.) The Chiltern Way follows on ever-closer to the edge of Luton. When out of sight of it I stopped in a silent wood to have lunch and continued then to Cockernhoe. Then mercifully the route moves north, away from the airport.
Eventually the route brought me in to Lilley, a very pretty, privately-owned estate village, and a pint of Coca-Cola at the Lilley Arms.Please donate to the Stroke Association: click here.