Lidlington to Flitwick walk

Marston Vale, the Greensand Ridge, mixed woods and open parkland, heathland, historic Ampthill, ruin of Houghton House, a narrow path through the heart of Flitwick Moor.

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, 29-Feb-20 Saturday Walk - Marston Vale, the Bedfordshire Greensand Way and Flitwick Moor: Lidlington to Flitwick 4 sunny and windy with one hailshower
Sat, 27-Oct-18 Saturday Walk – A Saturday Saunter Along the Greensand Ridge from Lidlington to Flitwick 3 initially golden sunshine progressively darkening to heavy rain just as we reached the end
Sat, 06-May-17 Saturday Walk - Lidlington to Flitwick 4
Sat, 14-Nov-15 Saturday Second Walk - The Greensand Ridge, Parkland, Heathland, Houghton House, Flitwick Moor 6 drizzle then dry until lunch then rain
Sat, 30-Aug-14 Lidlington to Flitwick 20
Sat, 29-Feb-20
Saturday Walk - Marston Vale, the Bedfordshire Greensand Way and Flitwick Moor: Lidlington to Flitwick
Length: 22.0 km (13.6 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 291/276m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours, Toughness: 5 out of 10
Take the 09.15 Rugeley Trent Valley train from Euston, change at Bletchley (09.50/10.17, there is a café in the station) onto the Bedford train, arrives Lidlington 10.38.
Return trains: (basically) every 15 mins on xx.00 etc.
Buy a Lidlington return.
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, now with impressive views down into the Vale. Bedfordshire’s largest remaining heathland is passed through en-route to 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.
Walk options:
Three shortcuts are possible, although they cut out some of the best parts of the walk.
· SC I cuts 2.8 km, 49m ascent (and Cooper’s Hill Heathland) pre-lunch in Ampthill (lunch is then in Maulden);
· SC II cuts 680m, 17m ascent and a visit to the picturesque ruin of Houghton House;
· SC III cuts 1.1 km and 24m ascent through King’s Wood.
Frequent buses leave Ampthill from near the recommended lunch pub to either Flitwick or Harlington stations. Some services also stop in Maulden outside The White Hart, 6.1 km from the end of the walk.
Lunch: 4 pubs in Ampthill (about 8 km into the walk). Check the pdf for details (although The Prince of Wales is now ‘A Burger Joint’).
Tea: The White Hart at Mauldon, 6 km from the end, plus plenty options in Flitwick. See the walk directions pdf for details.
For walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.232
  • 23-Feb-20

    If you think there is something oddly familiar about the trains on the Marston Vale line from Bletchley to Bedford, you are right. They are re-purposed former District Line trains. Rather cute. Unlike on the Underground, you are free to walk through the door between carriages. And they have nice loos, if that coffee you had on Bletchley station has reached the point of no return.

  • Anonymous
    29-Feb-20

    Trains look tricky, last night the site said replacement buses, this morning just cancelled between Ridgmont and Bedford therefore not running as far as Lidlington. Any ideas? I was hoping to join the walk from Bedford. Judith

  • Anonymous
    29-Feb-20

    Apparently there are mini buses, see you at Lidlington.

  • 29-Feb-20

    It was raining cats and dogs - when I got out of bed, but by the time we got to Lidlington, there were just the remains of an overcast sky, which soon broke to reveal lots of blue. And that's how it stayed, apart from a 20 minutes period of an intense hailshower, just before lunch in Ampthill. As per the previous comments, this was Day 3 of an inpromptu part-closure of the Marston Vale-Line, necessitating a bus replacement service between Ridgmont and Bedford. The reason: barriers at level crossings opening and closing randomly, without being triggered by coming or going trains!

    2 had come up via Euston, 1 down from Northamptonshire to join at Bletchley, 1 across from Bedford, with the replacement buses from both directions arriving within minutes at Lidlington. So off we strode together and negotiated the steep and slippery paths along the undulating bits of the Greensand Ridge without a fall. The recent rain and driving wind meant fine far views from the ridge, especially in Ampthill Great Park, into the Marston Vale and - in other places - across to The Chilterns. The hailshower started as we entered Cooper's Hill Heathlands but by the time we had settled in and ordered our food at the fantastic White Hart (Hotel) pub, it was all blue skies again!

    Back onto the ridge and across to Houghton House's scenic ruin, then through a fine bluebell wood and down to Maulden (where we saw our first lambs of the year) into the Flit Valley. The Flit was very full and muddy brown indeed (for a chalk stream), and the streams in Flitwick Moor itself a sight to behold. At the station for the 17.00 Thameslink train.

    4 sunny and windy with one hailshower

Sat, 27-Oct-18
Saturday Walk – A Saturday Saunter Along the Greensand Ridge from Lidlington to Flitwick
SWC Walk 232: Lidlington to Flitwick T=SWC.232

Distance: 13.7 Miles or 22.0 km (with short cuts of up to about 2.5 miles/4 km available in the instructions)

Difficulty: 6 out of 10 (4 or 5 if one or more short cuts used)

Train: Take the 9:13 West Midlands Birmingham New Street train from Euston Station, changing at Bletchley (arriving 9:49 and departing 10:01), eventually arriving at Lidlington at 10:22. Return trains from Flitwick are Thameslink Services on the hour and half hour to London Bridge and various other Central London stations. Buy a day return to Lidlington.

This varied walk beings in Marston Vale and takes you up to and along the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge through mixed woods and open heathland to historic Ampthill. It also passes the atmospheric ruins of Houghton House and across Flitwick Moor, one of the most important wetland sites in the Southeast. You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch stop is the Prince of Wales in Ampthill (princeofwales-ampthill.com / 01525 840 50) 5 miles/8.1 km into the walk. However, there are also various other choices available in Ampthill, as well as, further along the route in Maulden. Flitwick offers tea and other late afternoon refreshments in a number of places suggested in the walk instructions.

Enjoy the walk!
  • 26-Oct-18

    The best train appears to be:

    09.13 from Euston getting to Lidlington at 10.22

  • David Colver
    28-Oct-18

    3 people on the 0913 from Euston, in initially golden sunshine progressively darkening to heavy rain just as we reached the end . I expected more to take this last opportunity for a longer walk before the lights get turned off for five months. Perhaps others came on a later train.

    The recommended lunch stop, the Prince of Wales pub in Ampthill, turned out to be shut and empty inside, without any explanatory sign. Small pools of light in the dark showed that there was power to the lager taps and fridges and it was by no means boarded up. We doubled back to the White Hart, which has a slightly chain feel, but served decent food quickly. One of the three took the 1630 back to London; the others made the 1700, detained by tea and cake in a branch of Costa visible just beyond the station and open until 1700.

    There are some passages in this walk that have good views across the countryside, interspersed with others that are less memorable.

Sat, 06-May-17
Saturday Walk - Lidlington to Flitwick
SWC Walk 232 - Lidlington to Flitwick
13.7 miles/22 km

A walk off the beaten track in mid Bedfordshire, the highlights include Marston Vale, the Greensand Ridge, open parkland, Bedfordshire's largest area of heathland, Georgian Ampthill, the ruins of Houghton House, and Flitwick Moor (one of the most important wetland sites in the South East).

Trains: Take the 10:01 Corby train from London St Pancras, changing at Bedford (arr 10:36) for the 10:55 service to Bletchley, arriving at Lidlington at 11:15. Return trains from Flitwick to St Pancras/Blackfriars run every 15 mins. A return ticket to Lidlington will allow you to travel there from Euston via Bletchley as well, but a cheaper option is probably a return to Bedford (9.75 with network card) plus a single from Bedford to Lidlington (2.90 with network card).
Lunch: Ampthill is located about 5 miles/8 km into the walk and has plenty of choices for lunch. The Queens Head, 20 Woburn Street (01525 016292); The Hide Bar & Lounge, 2b Woburn Street (01525 837007); The White Hart, 125 Dunstable Street (01525 305200); The Prince of Wales, 24 Bedford Street (01525 840 504).
A possible mid-afternoon stop is at the 17th century thatched White Hart at Maulden (01525 406 118).
At the end of the walk, Flitwick is a sizeable place with plenty of places for refreshments, see the walk notes for some suggestions.
T=swc.232
  • Anonymous
    05-May-17

    Intend going. Fine walk.

  • Anonymous
    05-May-17

    You can, as an alternative, get to Bedford at 1035 if you take the 929 from Farringdon. Thameslink.

  • Anonymous
    08-May-17

    Lidlington to Flitwick, Saturday 6th of May.

    A happy band of four enjoyed the variety offered by this distinctive walk.

    The often carefully landscaped vistas were followed by the rough beauty of the Baskervillesque Flitwick Moor towards the end. The suspiciously quiet Prince of Wales in Ampthill is, perhaps, not what it was - the food seemed merely adequate, though service was friendly. Perhaps walkers should try another option next time. One of our number tried a walk variation around half-way and was not seen again. I hope he got back safely. Thanks to Bridie 2 for scheduling this walk.

    4

    Largely-cloudy.

Sat, 14-Nov-15
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.
T=swc.232
L=swc.232
  • Pia
    13-Nov-15

    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.

  • 14-Nov-15

    6 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.

  • 14-Nov-15

    ...off the Greensand Ridge...