Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands walk

Woburn Abbey and its Safari Park (animals visible from the path) via many gentle hills

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 12-Mar-22 An Adventure from Woburn Sands to Leighton Buzzard with a safari park, deer park, historic abbey and canal 6 mostly sunny conditions with a few
Wed, 23-Jun-21 Wednesday Walk Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands - Back Wood, Woburn, Woburn Park, Woburn Safari Park, Aspley Guise and Woburn Sands 6 sunny
Wed, 03-Jul-19 Wednesday walk Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands - Back Wood, Woburn, Woburn Park and Safari Park 7 lovely warm summers day
Wed, 15-Aug-18 Wednesday Walk - Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands - Back Wood, Woburn and Safari Park 9
Tue, 12-Sep-17 Woburn Abbey - and a free peek at its Safari Park 6 intermittently sunny but warm and no rain
Sat, 26-Mar-16 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands 4 cloudy with occasional drizzles
Sat, 25-Apr-15 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands 2
Wed, 10-Sep-14 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Sat, 22-Mar-14 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands 7
Sat, 13-Oct-12 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Sat, 17-Mar-12 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Wed, 05-Oct-11 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Sat, 03-Sep-11 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Sat, 23-Apr-11 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Mon, 25-May-09 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Sat, 28-Feb-09 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Sat, 05-Apr-08 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Sat, 28-Apr-07 Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
Sat, 12-Mar-22
An Adventure from Woburn Sands to Leighton Buzzard with a safari park, deer park, historic abbey and canal

Book 1 Walk 17 (in reverse) Plus Book 1 Walk 41 = Woburn Sands to Leighton Buzzard

Distance: 15ish miles/24ish km for the combo with shorter option of 11.6 miles/18.7km by finishing in Bow Brickhill (i.e. doing the classic Book 1 walk 17 in reverse). t=1.17

Difficulty: 6 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:24 AM Northampton bound train from London Euston, changing at Bletchley (arriving 10:12; departing 10:17) arriving at Woburn Sands at 10:41. Return trains from Leighton Buzzard are at 08, 34 and 54 past the hour until quite late and from Bow Brickhill 31 minutes past usually, except for 17:26 with the last sensible train at 18.31. Buy a day return to Woburn Sands.

So, this will be a bit of an adventure. I have been eyeing combing these two walks for a while and I guess this is the time….as a northern walk was needed to balance out the weekend’s current offerings. The two routes meet at a corner in Broomhills Woods. I thought the combination of routes offered an interesting mix of woodland, deer park, historic abbey, safari park and canal…..You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions/route here and here. Since we will be doing Walk 17 in reverse, I would suggest bringing a print-out of the map or a GPX file….

The suggested lunch spot is the Black Horse pub in Woburn. There are a few other options available in Woburn of this one is full. Afternoon refreshments can be had at the Globe Inn along the canal approach to Leighton Buzzard.

Enjoy the walk!

  • 14-Mar-22

    Just 6 good natured adventurers on this somewhat epic exploration of Bedfordshire. For future reference the two walks do intersect nicely to make a long walk -- probably closer to 16 miles than the advertised 15.....though, it may be better to start at Aspley Guise which looks to have more direct access to the countryside....We saw some elephants, zebras and wallabies at the safari park, followed by some very exotic looking deer at the deer park....Five enjoyed a very educational lunch at the rightly popular Black Horse in Woburn during which we learned that the exotic deer were "pere david" deer -- originally from China where they were extirpated...However, German and French traders had brought some to zoos in Germany and France and the 11th Duke of Bedford acquired a few from the Berlin zoo forming the base of the significant herd at the woburn deer park. The 14th Duke then gave a number back to China where the population seems to be growing....The picnicker set off ahead of the pub lunchers and did the full walk as advertised whereas the 5 pub lunchers opted to try an "alternate route" bypassing Great Brickhill and possibly slightly shorter....with almost impeccable timing we reconnected with the picnicker in some woods almost exactly where the routes reconnected....and all walked together to the Globe Inn where all but one stopped for a very welcome rest and drink before setting off with a half moon and plenty of evening bird song (and owl hoots) on the final stretch along the canal. A fun long day out in mostly sunny conditions with a few brief-showers-before-lunch! Many thanks to those on walk for their willingness to test out this experimental route.

Wed, 23-Jun-21
Wednesday Walk Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands - Back Wood, Woburn, Woburn Park, Woburn Safari Park, Aspley Guise and Woburn Sands
Book 1, Walk 17 - Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands

Length: 18.7 km (11.6 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10
London Euston: 10-15 hrs West Midlands Trains service to Birmingham New Street
Arrive Bletchley: 10-49 hrs Change
Leave Bletchley on Bus: 11-01 hrs
Arrive Bow Brickhill railway station: 11-10 hrs
Return
1) 15-42 train from Woburn Sands to Bletchley, then train to Euston:
2) 17-27 hrs train from Woburn Sands to Bletchley, then train to Euston:
3) 18-59 bus from Woburn Sands to Bletchley, then train to Euston:
4) 16-11 hrs train from Woburn Sands to Bedford, then train to St Pancras.
The best of the above is probably 2), leaving time for refreshments in Woburn Sands.
Rail ticket: buy a day return to Woburn Sands
Covid-19 Compliance: [until 19 July 2021] please note the current guidance on this website and observe social distancing. You should all come prepared to exchange contact details for track and trace purpose. You can either pre-register for this walk (not essential ) by e-mailing me at swc-marcus@walkingclub.org.uk or, if you prefer, please write your name, e-mail address and contact 'phone number on a small piece of paper for handing to me on the train or when we assemble at walk start. Thank you.
We usually avoid walks with replacement bus services, but as the bus journeys today are short in time we will make an exception and put up with this minor inconvenience today.
There are a number of highlights on this enjoyable walk once we get through Back Wood, which can be muddy at any time of the year. After walking alongside Woburn Golf course we head over fields to the picturesque town of Woburn, where we stop for lunch at one of its pubs or tea rooms (see the Walk Directions). I usually stop at the good value Bell Inn on Bedford Street.
Then it's on through the vast grassy expanses of Woburn Park with its herds of deer. We eventually drop down to the entrance to Woburn Safari Park, where we join a public footpath which takes us cleverly along the edge of the Safari Park, usually allowing its residents - which include zebras, buck, bison, elephants, giraffes, rhino and wallabies - a chance to check out and observe human visitors. After the wallabies section the public footpath heads past a Go Ape Adventure Centre to exit the grounds of Woburn Park at a main road. We then head up a road to the village of Aspley Guise before continuing on to Woburn Sands. The pub next door to the railway station, or the Costa Coffee shop next door, serve as very acceptable refreshments stops before we board a train (or bus) back to Bletchley, to connect to a main line service to Euston.
This walk is especially recommended for those who haven't tried it before - and for the rest of us it is always enjoyable walking alongside the Safari Park.
T=1.17
Wall Directions are here: L=1.17
  • 24-Jun-21

    6 went into deep dark Back Wood on a sunny day. They got lost, were eaten by wolves and never heard from again. The end.

    Except….. it wasn’t quite the end. A kindly GPS heard them crying and showed them the way out. Everyone was happy. Except the wolves, who went hungry.

    And so they came to Woburn where the innkeeper of the Black Horse gave them something to eat and drink. The Bell was shut.

    Then into Woburn Park where four went the right way and saw elephants and giraffes and probably other things. Two at the back, who weren’t paying attention, went the wrong way and just got deer and a squirrel. Big antlers though. Then they came out through the wrong gate.

    The 4 who went the right way finished up at Woburn Sands where they were given a drink by another innkeeper.

    Mr Google heard the other two were lost and very kindly showed them how to get back on the shining path to Aspley Guise. That path was not very nice because of the traffic. They were careful though. When they got there, they got the train because, by now, they were very, very late.

    And guess what. It was the same train the others got and everyone was happy. The end.

Wed, 03-Jul-19
Wednesday walk Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands - Back Wood, Woburn, Woburn Park and Safari Park
Book 1, Walk 17 - Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands

Length: 18.7 km (11.6 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10

London Euston: 10--15 hrs West Midlands service to Crewe and Rugeley Trent Valley
Arrive Bletchley: 10-49 hrs Change trains
Leave Bletchley: 11-01 hrs Bedford service
Arrive Bow Brickhill: 11-08 hrs

Return: Woburn Sands to Euston via Bletchley: 16-26, 17-12, 18-12, 18-57 hrs
Aspley Guise: 3 mins earlier

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Woburn Sands


Mid-week walkers usually enjoy this walk in high summer. Leaving Bow Brickhill you soon find yourselves in Back Wood, which can be muddy, even after a dry spell. Leaving the wood, you walk besides Woburn Golf Course and head for the village of Woburn, where you stop for lunch. You have a choice of hotels and pubs in the village. The SWC stalwart is the Black Horse gastro pub. For more mundane (but perfectly good) fare, try The Bell Inn.
After lunch you soon walk through lovely Woburn Park with its herds of deer and head for the entrance to Woburn Safari Park. The public footpath takes you along the edge of the Safari Park, allowing you views of Bison, Zebra, Elephants and Giraffe, and later wallabies. You leave Woburn Park by its Crawley Lodge exit and walk uphill into the village of Aspley Guise. You can end your walk in this village by walking to its railway station (one stop up the line from Woburn Sands). Otherwise, you continue your walk via a golf course into the village of Woburn Sands, which contrary to its name, does not possess a beach. Refreshments at walk-end can be had at a Costa Coffee or the Station Hotel, which to everyone's surprise, is situated next to the railway station.
This walk seldom disappoints.
T=1.17
Walk Directions here L=1.17
  • 04-Jul-19

    7 of us for this walk on a lovely warm summers day , not oppressively hot as per the previous Saturday, just nice and warm, with the occasional breeze, T-shirt and shorts weather for some.

    The paths in Back Wood have now recovered from the severe damage caused by tree felling operations two plus years ago, and for once we encountered no mud in the wood.

    The going was good all day and there were not too many overgrown sections or nettles to trouble the shorts wearers.

    Three of us dined at the Bell Inn in Woburn, with perfectly acceptable meals arriving promptly, and before the sandwichers joined us for a drink.

    After lunch one sensible gent decided to proceed at a more leisurely pace through Woburn Park - we met him on the train home after he had diverted to Aspley Guise station.

    The pink legs of the shorts wearers must have scared off the herds of deer usually to be seen in the main Park - we didn't spot any, until we stumbled into two large stags taking a siesta - magnificent chaps.

    The footpath beside the Safari Park did not disappoint. Two inquisitive rhino came up quite close to the fence, to check us out, never having seen such pink legs before, and the elephants were showering themselves with dust, to cool off. The Rothschild giraffes were tending to their young, and the wallabies were enjoying themselves, again some with youngsters. Speaking of youngsters, my younger companions could not be persuaded to "Go Ape" and take to the hire wires, so instead we all left the Park by Crawley Lodge, to start the walk on the road uphill towards Aspley Guise. Entering the village two of our ladies upped their pace in order to catch the 16-23 hrs service from the local railway station: they just made it. Now down to a group of four, we headed for Woburn Sands, arriving just in time to have a cooling drink at the Station Hotel (pub) before taking the 17-12 hrs service back to Bletchley. The London bound train was packed but we all managed to find a seat and rest on the homeward journey.

    Good travel, perfect summer walking weather, a lovely walk, good company, a good lunch stop, a Safari Park with inhabitants - I've had worse SWC days.....

Wed, 15-Aug-18
Wednesday Walk - Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands - Back Wood, Woburn and Safari Park
Book 1, Walk 17 - Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands

Length: 18.7 km (11.6 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10

London Euston: 10-13 hrs Birmingham New Street service
Arrive Bletchley: 10-49 hrs Change trains and platforms
Leave Bletchley: 11-01 hrs Bedford service
Arrive Bow Brickhill: 11-08 hrs

Return Woburn Sands to Euston via Bletchley: 15-26, 16-26, 17-12, 18-12 and 18-57 hrs
Return from Aspley Guise: 3 mins before Woburn Sands

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Woburn Sands


Leaving Bow Brickhill station you are soon walking through Back Wood which is slowly recovering from forestry works eighteen months ago which disgracefully ruined all the footpaths. Onwards then through a golf course to the town of Woburn, where you stop for lunch. Although the suggested place is the gastro pub-restaurant the Black Horse, I prefer the less pretentious and walker friendly Bell Inn.

After lunch you enjoy a long walk through Woburn Park. You can detour to Woburn Abbey but time on today's walk does not make a visit practicable (you would have to take an earlier train from London).

Leaving the main part of the Park the public footpath conveniently takes you along the side of the Safari Park, which allows the resident animals a good view of strange human walkers. Leaving the Woburn Estate you walk uphill through the village of Aspley Guise, where you can end your walk at its railway station. Otherwise, you continue via another golf course to Woburn Sands. The pub next to the railway station - the Station Hotel - makes for a pleasant tea stop before your return journey to London
T=1.17.
Walk instructions here: L=1.17
  • 16-Aug-18

    9 on this walk with most of us having to take taxis from Bletchley to the start of the walk after our train missed the connection to Bow Brickhill. So it goes.

    the forest route looked a bit different from my earlier recollections with some open spaces and new planting but the trails were in pretty good nick.

    I set the bar pretty low for pub food and sadly on this occasion the Bell Inn easily sailed under it. My fish pie just reached the threshold of edibility but the broccoli did not. Another walker had a sandwich bereft of either butter or margarine. Not a good experience and lets hope it was just an off day.

    We ambled round the perimeter of the safari park, glimpsing a black bear and meeting Rajah the bull Indian elephant who obligingly approached us for photos. A helpful park warden identified some deer we walked close to in Woburn Park as Pere David deer which almost became extinct in the 20th century. They look a bit like red deer but are grey in colour with larger pointy antlers.

    I find the stretch after leaving Woburn Park a bit boring and when we reached Apsley Guise one went to the nearby station while the rest of us continued on to Woburn Sands and drinks at the nearby pub and Costa.

    Back at Euston 3 of us enjoyed a delicious glass of dry cider at the Euston Tap whilst waiting for the commuter numbers to reduce. A fine day out with the weather w= cloudy-humid-and-dry.

Tue, 12-Sep-17
Woburn Abbey - and a free peek at its Safari Park
Book 1, Walk 17 - Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands

Length: 18.7 km (11.6 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10

London Euston: 10-13 hrs Birmingham New Street service
Arrive Bletchley: 10-49 hrs
Leave Bletchley: 11-01 hrs Bedford service
Arrive Bow Brickhill: 11-08 hrs.

Return: Woburn Sands to Euston via Bletchley: 15-26, 16-26, 17-12 and 18-12 hrs
Return Aspley Guise to Euston via Bletchley: 3 mins before Woburn Sands

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Woburn Sands

Shortly after leaving Bow Brickhill station you find yourselves in Back Wood. Recent walkers on today's sister walk - Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard (coming up for mid-week walkers on Wednesday 25 October) report the paths through the wood which were badly churned up by forestry work last year are passable, which is good news. But if we have a wet early autumn progress through the wood might be hard work.
After the wood you walk through a golf course and across country to Woburn, where you stop for lunch. A favourite with SWC walkers is the Black Horse, a gastro pub, although I prefer the more homely Bell Hotel and Inn, further down the Bedford Street.
After lunch you walk through Woburn Park, with its herds of deer. You can detour to Woburn Abbey if you wish, but unless you plan to visit the Abbey, it is a long diversion and its easiest to retrace your steps before continuing on the walk. At the end of the park you come out at the entrance to Woburn Safari Park. As you won't be in a car, you will not be allowed in ! No matter, Baldrick has devised a cunning plan for you - a public path which runs beside the perimeter of the Safari Park, allowing free peeks at the residents (bison, zebra, buck, elephants, giraffe, wallabies and more).
Leaving Woburn Park you walk through the village of Aspley Guise, where if you wish you can end your walk at its station. But I usually continue on to Woburn Sands (although I have yet to discover its beach) for tea at the Station Hotel, next to the small railway station.
T=1.17
Walk directions here: L=1.17

  • 04-Sep-17

    for any newcomers to this fine walk the public right of way takes you past the fairly new Indian elephant enclosure so with any luck you should be able to get a rare SWC elephant photo.

  • 13-Sep-17

    6 on today's walk, intermittently sunny but warm and no rain . Paths through Back Wood were fine (some remedial work after last year's tree felling and demolition of paths having taken place) and mud levels nil to low. Onwards then into Woburn Golf Course and by Charle Wood to Woburn, where 4 of us enjoyed an excellent, good value lunch at the Bell Inn.

    The sun came out again as we progressed through Woburn Park, where some fierce looking stags sun bathed in and around a pond. Further into the Park we came to the entrance to the Safari Park and its inhabitants (Asian and African elephants, rhino, buck, giraffe, zebra, wallabies and more) observed us walking along the public path next to their homes. I hope they enjoyed the view.

    On reaching Aspley Guise one of us made straight for the railway station to catch the 16-23 hrs train, leaving the five to head for Woburn Sands and tea at the Station Hotel, before we caught the on-time 17-12 hrs train back to London via Bletchley.

    A fine walk and lovely day on the glorious side of glorious.

Sat, 26-Mar-16
Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands
t=1.17 Length: 18.7km (11.6m)
Toughness: 6/10
Transport: Leave London Euston at 10:13, change at Bletchley to arrive at Bow Brickhill at 11:12
Return from Woburn Sands at 17:11, 18:11, 18:54, 19:54, 20:12, ...

From the description:
Woburn is the main delight of this walk – the ancient town itself, the deer park, Woburn Abbey and the Safari Park (from the public footpath, without paying admission, you may be able to see brown bears, zebras, buck, bison, elephants, giraffes, rhino and wallabies). The route reaches Woburn mainly through woods and via a golf course, with some impressive redwood trees along the way. After the Safari Park the route is through the pleasant village of Aspley Guise then on to Woburn Sands. Short bits of this walk can be very muddy in wet weather and there are (relatively easy) uphills and downhills all day. Be careful not to allow dogs to disturb deer in Woburn Park, particularly when they are rutting or giving birth – the deer may leave their newborn calves or give birth prematurely.

  • 28-Mar-16

    4 walkers in cloudy with occasional drizzles conditions. The group almost immediately split up in 2 fast and 2 slow walkers. The fast walkers very soon got lost in Black Wood due to careless reading of the directions. The ingenious plan not to backtrack but to attempt to intercept the correct path led to an hour long search along various paths in the woods until finally and miraculously the Golf Club House appeared in front of them and the directions could be resumed. A delightful and speedily served lunch was had in the Black Horse before the walk passed through the grounds of Woburn Abbey where kites and red deer could be seen. Shortly afterwards, when following the perimeter of the safari park, zebras, water buffaloes, elephants (with baby), rhinos, wallabies and ostriches were sighted. A relaxing tea at the Station Restaurant concluded this nice walk. The fate of the 2 slow walkers in unknown.