The Chalk CuttingThe Chalk Cutting
The Chalk Cutting
Here’s an answer to the Yesteryear query of two weeks ago, when we published a picture of spectators at an event which the photographer had captioned ‘Sewell races’.

We had been unable to discover any further information, but the Gazette feature prompted historian Pat Lovering to send us this further photo, also taken in Edwardian times, which includes the helpful information ‘Returning from Hertfordshire Hunt Steeplechases’.

The crowds are walking or riding along what is clearly the chalk cutting on the Watling Street, Dunstable.

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The lane leading to the pretty hamlet of Sewell is just a few hundred yards down the road.

The Hertfordshire Hunt has now amalgamated with other hunts, and these days the nearest point-to-point races for hunter-chase horses are held at Kimble, near Aylesbury, where spectators can look over the course from the side of a hill. Viewing races at Sewell would have been similar.

Dunstable’s chalk cutting was dug through the hill in 1837 to make the route easier for horse-drawn stagecoaches.

n Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.