Backup Only

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.

Blog Archive

Monday, 30 May 2016

Two lovely villages,fields and woodland trails in Bedfordshire

New walk check - Sandy to Biggleswade via Northill and Old Warden

Length 19.5km (12.2m); toughness 4/10 - one short climb after lunch ( Overall, 219m ascent; 215m, descent)

Trains: London Kings Cross 09.35 (Finsbury Park 09.40) arrives Sandy 10.33

Fast return trains from Biggleswade to Kings Cross are at xx:20 (42 mins) stopping at Finsbury Park. There is a slower train (about 1 hour) at xx:00/54/55. (Times vary through the evening so be on the platform by 50 mins past the hour.)

Buy a day return to Sandy.

Walk Description
Although this is an area of large arable fields there is no slogging through crops or over ploughed land . The walk is mainly flat and before lunch generally follows the Greensand Ridge Walk . The route is a mix of attractive broad grassy tracks along field edges and woodland trails. Along the way you will see a number of information boards telling you about the animals, trees and plants you may see around you. Binoculars are useful as the area is rich in bird-life and a healthy population of muntjac deer and brown hares.

There are no stiles on this walk or the short and long walk options

You pass through two attractive villages Northill and Old Warden which both have excellent pubs. 

The Crown, Northill (01767 627337) You will only have done a quarter of the walk when you reach this attractive pub but it still makes a lovely stop for a short break. Should you wish to have an early lunch there is an extensive menu including good vegetarian options. See the web site here for full details

Your recommended lunch stop is the Hare and Hounds, Old Warden (01767 627225) which is 60% (7.6m) into the walk.  This establishment has been nominated for Bedfordshire pub of the year and “pub-lunchers” here are strongly advised to phone ahead. There is outside seating. See the web site here for further information.

If you have a picnic lunch then just before the Hare and Hounds there is the Abbey Church of St Leonard which has seating and is a lovely place to relax and eat.

Tea – Your best bet is the large Surfin café in Biggleswade’s Market Square which is en route to the station.

Walk options
After the Hare and Hounds you can do two very short “there and back”  trips  to see two Landmark Trust properties, one of which  Queen Annes Summerhouse bills itself as the worlds “poshest” bedsit.

Lengthening the walk: You can extend the walk to 26.1km.(16.3m) by taking a route from Biggleswade to Sandy to complete a long circular walk.   

Shortening the walk: There is no option to shorten the walk on the main route but you could do  a short walk from Biggleswade to Sandy (7.7km , 4.8m). This incorporates  a route through Sandy Warren RSPB reserve. (This is also the route for the Biggleswade to Sandy extension above.)

Further details about the walk and full draft walk instructions for all walk options can be found here in the temporary walks depository. 

Please note that the draft instructions will be checked and up-dated en route so there will inevitably be some inaccuracies in the text. 


Mike A said...

n=6 on this inaugural/walk check outing with a w=high_cloud_ceiling_and_brief_glimpses_of_sun. The walk started alongside the banks of the River Ivel before crossing the A1 on a footbridge (a somewhat bland start to a walk). However it went on to morph into a varied and picturesque walk (following the Greensand Ridge Way) passing through the village of Northill into woods, spinnies and farm tracks all firm underfoot. Lunch was at Old Warden, a quintessential well manicured English village with thatched roofs and pretty gardens. One walker ate a packed lunch at the Abbey Church of St. Leonard whilst the others sampled the fare at the Hare and Hounds - definitely a gastro Pub where you'd probably want a starter and pudding if you had a big appetite.
The afternoon section was equally enjoyable climbing up Warden Warren (with a brief detour to Queen Annes’ Summerhouse) before passing Shuttleworth agricultural college) with Old Warden airfield with it's Shuttleworth Collection of vintage aircraft and vehicles 500 metres to the north.
Four stopped for refreshment at the Surfin café in Biggleswade and joined the other two at the station to cattch the 4:54 back to the Metropoles.
A great addition to the SWC walks repository.

PeteB said...

Thanks for this Mike and the link about the Shuttleworth aircraft collection. I'll add some info about this in the walk notes. Following Rachel's enthusiastic feedback about the Church of St Leonard I'll "big" this up a bit too. Great day out.