Luton Arches to The Waggon At Hale
This walk starts at Luton Arches (A). You may take a quick detour to see Chatham Mosque (B) on Chatham Hill if you wish. Or go straight down Luton Road. Can you identify all of the ‘ghost pubs’? There used to be about a dozen pubs along Luton Road but now only a few remain, many are now takeaways and can be identified by their distinctive tiles.
Luton Junior School on Luton Road was well remembered for its May Queen celebrations back in the 1920s (C).
In 1831, the painter Richard Dadd’s father Robert gave a lecture about discovering the jawbone and teeth of a mammoth and other fossils in a flint quarry in Luton. Richard Dadd is best known for his paintings of fairies and other supernatural subjects. Richard Dadd killed his father in 1843 and spent the rest of his life in mental hospitals.
When you get near to Luton Village, you will pass Christ Church, the third church to be called such, where Anne Pratt the famous Victorian botanical artist was married in 1866. Anne lived near Luton Road with her sister, in a road that no longer exists or has been renamed, at 6 Constitution Terrace. The lychgate that you see in the church yard is from the older church.
Opposite the church is where the former tram, then bus, depot was (D), now it’s a housing estate called Tramways.
Walk a little further into the village proper to see the historic pub The Hen & Chickens (also known as the Hen and Chicks). This pub has been here since the early 1800s. Behind the pub, in Nelson Terrace you can find Luton Library (E). This road was also the way into the old water works.
Carry on down Capstone Road. On the right-hand side is Luton Memorial Meadow (F), conceived in 1948 as a living memorial to those who had given their lives in World War 2. The garden was added in 2008. On the other side of the road is Luton Recreational Ground (G) known as Luton Rec, for generations one of the most popular public green spaces in the Luton area.
Carry on to the end of the road and follow the road to the right where you will find another historic pub, The Waggon At Hale (H). Earliest records show that the Waggon at Hale was in business in 1855, possibly earlier. It was named after a cart that served the workers in the fields. Have a drink and check out the zoo out the back.
This walk should take around 45 minutes.