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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 14 November 2015

Saturday Second Walk - The Greensand Ridge, Parkland, Heathland, Houghton House, Flitwick Moor

SWC Walk 232 – Lidlington to Flitwick

Length:  22.0 km (13.7 mi) [shortcuts possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent:  350 m;  Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness:  6 out of 10 
Take the 09.13 London Midland train from London Euston to Birmingham New Street (change at Bletchley: arrives 09.49, departs 10.05), arriving in Lidlington 10.26
It is also possible to reach the connection in Bletchley from South and West London on the following service: 
Clapham Junction 08.39, Shepherd’s Bush 08.53, Wembley Central 09.07, Harrow & W’stone 09.12, Watford Junction 09.19, arriving in Bletchley 09.54 
Buy a Lidlington return (any route) ticket, as the return from Flitwick is with a Thameslink service to St. Pancras (and stations to East Croydon, connect at Blackfriars for stations to Sevenoaks). Return trains: XX.04, XX.20, XX.34 and XX.50 hours (47 or 51 minutes journey time to St. Pancras).

This Central Bedfordshire walk starts in Marston Vale with an undulating ascent up the (Bedfordshire) Greensand Ridge, mainly through mixed woods. It then follows the waymarked Greensand Ridge Walk to open parkland in Ampthill, with some impressive views down into the Vale. Bedfordshire’s largest remaining heathland  is passed through en-route to lunch in Ampthill’s delightful historic centre. From there it’s back into the park and on to the picturesque ruin of Houghton House, again with commanding views into Marston Vale. After a stretch through ancient King’s Wood the walk leads to Maulden, at times with panoramic views south to the Chiltern Hills, before finally descending from the Greensand Ridge. The route to Flitwick is then entirely flat and leads through a couple of moors, including a captivating stretch along a narrow path through the very heart of Flitwick Moor, one of the most important wetland sites in the south east of England. 

Lunch is either early in Ampthill at the newly refurbished The Prince of Wales (8.1 km/5.0 mi) or a little earlier at The Queens Head, or late in the walk at The White Hart in Maulden (16.5 km/10.3 mi, food served all afternoon). For tea in Flitwick  The Crown is recommended (700m from the station), as is The Lounge Coffee Shop, just beyond the station.

For walk directions, map, height profile and gpx/kml files click here.
Three shortcuts are possible, although they cut out some of the best parts of the walk:
SC I cuts 2.8 km (and Cooper’s Hill Heathland) in Ampthill; SC II cuts 680m and the visit to Houghton House; SC III cuts 1.1 km through King’s Wood.


Pia said...

Brilliant walk; varied landscape, beautiful woods and vistas. wet under feet but you walk mostly on lovely soft autumn coloured leaves and none of the sticky clay we experienced last week. bring perhaps a stick if you don't like steep descends (1 or 2) on wet ground. I started at 11.30am due to travel restrictions midweek and opted for the shortest version in order to be at Flitwick before sunset, which I managed by 2 minutes at 4.13pm. This means you have to eat at The White Hart, which serves lacklustre food, or take a picnic. weather today was totally glorious, a nice change. Thoroughly recommended.

Thomas G said...

n=6 w=drizzle_then_dry_until_lunch_then_rain

The ground was not as muddy as feared, and we got some views of the Greensand Ridge during the dry period, but less so later due to the rain and the low clouds. We opted for the early lunch option in Ampthill after yesterday's walkers' report of lacklustre food at the Maulden pub, and that was a good decision, as The POW served very decent meals in a friendly environment. The ruined Houghton House proved to be v interesting, as well as the route through Flitwick Moor towards the end, especially now that the narrow and bumpy path is muddy and leaf-covered...
Got to Flitwick at quarter past 4.
1 walker had sped away after about an hour of the walk, never to be seen again; 2 took the first available train, the other 3 opted for tea/coffee at The Lounge Coffee Shop. 16.50 train for those.

Thomas G said... the Greensand Ridge...