Woburn Sands to Ridgmont walk

Edgewick Farm, Aspley Woods, Greensand Way, Woburn Abbey, Church End, Woburn Safari Park, and Husborne Crawley

Length

20.8 kms (12 3/4 miles)

OS Maps

OS Explorer 192: Buckingham & Milton Keynes.

Woburn Sands (SP924364) is in Buckinghamshire. Ridgmont (SP965374) is in Bedfordshire.

Toughness

3 out of 10.

Features

In its early stages the walk crosses Edgewick Farm, formerly working farm land but now maintained by the town council as a leisure amenity. You then follow the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk South-West across Aspley Woods, briefly coinciding with Walk 1/17 (Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands). The walk then turns East to follow the well-marked Greensand Ridge Walk, making directly for Woburn Abbey (and following an alternative option summarised in 1/17). After a long morning, the Green Man is recommended for lunch in the pretty village of Church End. The walk finally leaves the GRW, heading North-West to Woburn Safari Park, where it passes between animal enclosures (again overlapping with 1/17). Continue North-East to Husborne Crawley and on to Ridgmont station with its heritage centre and tea room.

The predominant colour throughout is yellow, not so much for the autumnal colours but for the footpath arrows and signs which seem to be yellow throughout the walk. There are yellow arrows on white, black arrows on yellow, yellow posts and yellow topped posts. Hence terms like ‘yellow arrow’ and ‘yellow post’ have been used loosely in the walk description. You are requested to wear something yellow!

Walk Options

A good option would be to stay with Walk #cw1.17 from where it leaves this walk in Section 2 (near Charle Wood) to where it rejoins this walk in Section 5 (Trusslers Lodge). This reduces the distance by 3.9 kms, with options for lunch in Woburn.

Travel

Both Woburn Sands and Ridgmont are on the line served by trains from Bletchley to Bedford. You can either travel from Euston via Bletchley (buying a return to Ridgmont) or from St Pancras via Bedford (buy a return to Woburn Sands). In 2021 travelling from Euston was marginally cheaper, but it is really a question of convenience. Note that there are no trains on a Sunday.

In 2020/21 the majority of trains were replaced by buses. By the end of 2021 the train service was expanded closer to normal levels. Be warned that the buses have been known to depart up to 5 minutes early!

Lunch
  • The Green Man, Church End, Eversholt. (01525) 288111. Serves food Tuesday to Sunday from 12. Reached after 12.2 kms. Note that this pub is marked but not named on the map in Time Out Book of Country Walks (Vol 1, 2011) page 134.
  • Earlier off-route options in Woburn village include the Black Horse, Longs Hotel and the Bell Inn (refer to listings for Walk #cw1.17).
  • Closer to the route is Fratellis, 40 George Street, Woburn. Open Monday to Thursday 12 to 1 and 5.30 to 9, Friday and Saturday. 12 to 1.30 and 5.30 to 9.30 and Sunday 12 to 3.
Tea
  • White Horse, 1 Mill Road, Husborne Crawley. Worth remembering if you will not arrive at Ridgmont station when the Heritage Centre is open (see below). Reached after 19.1 kms, plus a 1 km detour, there and back.
  • Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre. ‘Enjoy afternoon tea in the original Ladies Waiting Room, explore the Victorian Booking Office’. Open Wednesday to Sunday only. Food is served 10am to 3pm, but tea, coffee and cake served to 4 pm.
Points of interest

Aspley Woods

Mainly conifer plantation woodland with some areas of semi-ancient natural woodland, between Woburn Sands, Bow Brickhill and Aspley Guise.

Milton Keynes Boundary Walk

Approximately 60 miles long, encircling Milton Keynes, much of it along the rivers Great Ouse and Tove.

Greensand Ridge Walk

A long-distance walk of 40 miles (64 kms) that crosses Bedfordshire, with brief sections in Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire. From its southern endpoint at Leighton Buzzard the route runs North-West to Gamlingay, following the Greensand Ridge, a distinctive feature that rises from surrounding clay vales to give a landscape of gently rolling hills and small valleys, often heavily wooded and rich in wildlife.

Woburn Abbey

For information on Woburn Abbey and the town, consult the Time Out Book of Country Walks (Vol 1, 2011) pages 129-130.

Church of St John the Baptist, Eversholt

The church consists of a nave, chancel, two aisles with a chapel to the North, a West tower and South porch. The building is of Bedfordshire Ironstone and was restored in around 1864.

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Jan-22 Mike Powell

Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml

Walk Directions  

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

1 Woburn Sands to Longslade Lane (3.8 kms)

  1. From Platform 2 (for trains from Bletchley) at Woburn Sands, exit the station and turn right on Station Road to cross the line by the level crossing in 30 metres (if arriving from Bedford on Platform 1, simply turn right from the exit). In 50 metres pass Station Tavern on your right and in 60 metres turn right on Summerlin Drive. In 120 metres, before Drayhorse Crescent, take the surfaced path on the left across a grassy area.
  2. When the path veers right in 45 metres, cut left across the grass to two ugly blue benches and in 40 metres turn right on another surfaced path, with a pond on your left. Go through a wooden gate towards a play area in 80 metres. In 35 metres go through the first wooden gate on the right (the gate ahead would be more convenient but it appears to be adult proof), then turn left on tarmac (Fletton Dell). In 40 metres turn right on Greensand View (not named here), passing Sturdy Lane on the left in 30 metres, Clay Gardens on the right in 20 metres, Badgers Holt on the left in 40 metres and Regency Mews on the right in 15 metres. In 50 metres continue past the end of the road, then turn left in 20 metres on a path with trees to both sides, parallel with a residential road on the left and with fields beyond on the right. In 100 metres continue past an unmarked cross paths, with hedgerows on both sides.
  3. In 200 metres cross the busy Bow Brickhill Road with allotments opposite. Turn left passing Tidbury Close in 50 metres. In 140 metres turn right on The Leys, signed for Aspley Guise and Woburn. (!) In 200 metres, where the road curves left, turn right on the gravel Woodland Way (after a sign for The Leys and before a sign for Edgewick Farm). In 20 metres go through a metal kissing gate to Edgewick Farm. There is a useful map of the site on display, which is worth a look as it clearly shows the alternative routes across the site (not marked on the OS map). There are grass two paths visible ahead; ignore the (unmarked) path which runs parallel with the road and take the right hand path across Considine’s Field (according to the map) initially heading towards a gate which is just visible in the woods ahead.
  4. In 40 metres the path divides. The left hand path (due South at first) leads to the woods and the right hand option heads towards a field gate (210°). [!] Take the right hand option but be warned that the gate is sometimes padlocked (according to sheep movements) so you may have to return to this point and use the directions in the next paragraph.
  5. If the field gate is unlocked : All being well go through the field gate in 100 metres then the path veers further right in Hogsty Field (240°). In 220 metres go through a wooden field gate to the next field and veer half left (210°) in Ringer’s Field, not straight on or to the right (both Considine and Ringer were farmers here, before the land passed to the town council in 2002 for use as a leisure amenity). In 50 metres you have a wooden fence briefly on your right and continue downhill across grass. In 80 metres ignore a wooden kissing gate on your left and go through a metal kissing gate ahead, then turn right. In 40 metres go through a second metal kissing gate, leaving Edgewick Farm by an information board.
  6. If the field gate is padlocked : return to the previous path junction (or turn right and pick up the path further along). From the junction, in 140 metres go through a metal kissing gate and in 5 metres turn right on a wide path (210°). In 80 metres you pass a memorial seat. In 60 metres ignore a metal kissing gate to the field on your right. In 60 metres go round a wooden field gate and a metal kissing gate, with a pond on your right. In 80 metres and 90 metres go over two sections of boardwalk. In 25 metres you pass an information board on the right.
  7. Continue on a dirt path, ignoring the ditch to your left. In 20 metres go through a gap to the right of a stile with yellow arrows. In 15 metres turn right at a wooden post with two yellow arrows, up in to woods (300°). In 100 metres turn left at a yellow arrow and in 10 metres cross a Mountain Bike Trail. In 15 metres fork to the right, now following the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk (marked by an oak leaf logo), gently uphill. In 160 metres you pass a seat on the right and a yellow arrow. In 10 metres turn left and downhill (230°) on a wide track at the next Milton Keynes Boundary Walk sign (sadly the last one).
  8. Cross a path in 400 metres and (!) in 100 metres, just before a post with several arrows (but nothing for the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk), turn left. In 50 metres cross a Mountain Bike Trail and continue with a wire fence and golf course on your right (160°). In 280 metres ignore a bridleway to your left and continue gently downhill. In 300 metres ignore a path to the left.
  9. In 300 metres pass an Aspley Woods information board on your left and turn right through a sandy car park ahead. In 45 metres turn left on Longslade Lane, opposite a sign for Woburn Golf Club.

2 Longslade Lane to Leighton Street (3.4 kms)

  1. In 150 metres turn right at a green public footpath sign. Take the path which runs uphill, just inside the woods (Bell’s Copse), parallel with the field boundary. In 250 metres turn left at a yellow circular walk sign (joining Walk 1-17), on a wide surfaced path with more golfers to your right.
  2. In 25 metres you pass another yellow post. In 220 metres the path turns to the right at a yellow post, with with a practice driving range over to your left and golf links to your right, your direction now 145°. Go past a yellow post in 100 metres and another in 100 metres. Turn right at the next yellow post in 120 metres (leaving Walk 1-17, which turns left shortly to Charle Wood) on a path taking you on to the golf course. Take the right hand of the two paths. In 80 metres the next yellow path points you in to woods on a narrow path. In 40 metres turn right and downhill on a wider path. In 40 metres a post points you to the left, leaving the obvious path. In 40 metres you pass a yellow post for Woburn Walk. You pass further yellow posts in 25 metres and 40 metres.
  3. In 70 metres go through a wooden gate and turn right on a road, by a sign indicating that you are leaving Central Bedfordshire. Cross the road and in 30 metres continue through a small parking area. In 40 metres a yellow circular walk sign directs you to the left of a field gate, with the remains of a stile to your left. In 40 metres turn left at a black public footpath sign on a tree. Head South on a twisting path with private land on your right (though what remains of a fence would not keep intruders out for long).
  4. In 350 metres keep to the right of another black public footpath sign on a tree. The path is hard to follow in autumn; keep just to the right of a ditch. You may see deer here (possibly asking the way to Woburn). In 250 metres turn left just before a post with many logos, to follow the well-marked Greensand Ridge Walk (GRW).
  5. In 380 metres leave the woods by a yellow post with GRW logo and continue with trees and fields to both sides, on a muddy downhill path (probably shared with pheasants). In 500 metres you pass Job’s Farm on the left (more mock than Tudor) and continue on an unsurfaced road. In 260 metres you pass a duck pond on the left and reach woods on the right. In 260 metres turn left at a GRW sign, parallel with Leighton Street. In 100 metres cross another road to the left (signed to Leighton Buzzard) and continue on Leighton Street (towards Woburn).

3 Leighton Street to Woburn Abbey (2.9 kms)

  1. In 350 metres cross the road and take the public footpath to the right, just before a road sign welcoming you to Woburn. Go round a gate and turn left, parallel with the road on a wide track. In 220 metres go through a metal kissing gate with a GRW logo. Signs point you to the left but there is no obvious path on the grass and it is easier to continue ahead, towards Woburn Abbey which now dominates the view. In 250 metres at a cross paths turn left, towards the woods. In 30 metres go through a metal kissing gate and turn right in the woods at a GRW sign.
  2. In 300 metres veer left opposite a metal kissing gate. In 5 metres turn right with a wooden fence and buildings to your left. In 60 metres you come out on a drive, with Woburn Fire Station on your left. In 50 metres cross London Road (B5704) to the pavement opposite and turn right (Fratelli’s Italian restaurant is visible to your left here, with other lunch options in Woburn including the Black Horse, Longs Hotel and the Bell Inn).
  3. In 300 metres turn left opposite Speedwell Cottages and to the left of Ivy Lodge. In 20 metres go through a tall black gate and continue on a narrow path with a tall (deer proof) wire fence on your left and a metal fence on the right. In 400 metres go through a tall gate in to the deer park and continue slightly left. Just when you were feeling starved of yellow posts, you follow a line of them across open grass, still on the GRW (70°). You are now following the alternative route briefly summarised in Walk 1/17. Woburn Abbey and Basin Bridge are ahead to your right and deer are everywhere. In 500 metres pass between Stew Pond and Basin Pond.
  4. In 90 metres you cross a private approach drive to the Abbey. In 260 metres you join another drive and in 100 metres reach a car park with a GRW sign pointing straight ahead.

4 Woburn Abbey to Church End (Eversholt) (2.1 kms)

  1. In 180 metres go past a vehicle barrier and continue on a long straight drive (due East). In 320 metres you merge with a tarmac drive to your left, then continue across grass to the left, following more yellow posts (100°) and making towards a wood of tall evergreens.
  2. In 300 metres leave the deer park by tall gates, which may test your strength. Continue through the woods, still on the GRW and gently downhill (120°). Go past a wooden post with GRW sign in 200 metres and across a field. In 260 metres pass another post with GRW logo in to woods, then down steps, over a ditch and veer left through a muddy section. In 60 metres cross another ditch by a post. In 25 metres veer further left (East) on grass at a wooden signpost. Linden Lake is to your left, largely hidden by trees. In 120 metres go over a wooden plank bridge and through a metal gate, then continue East in the next field.
  3. In 180 metres continue on a narrow path, among bushes and nettles. In 50 metres go through a tall metal gate and turn left on Church End at a GRW sign. In 250 metres keep left at the junction with Witt’s End (seriously). In 80 metres you pass the Church of St John the Baptist, Eversholt, on the left. The Green Man is on the right in 30 metres.

5 Church End (Eversholt) to Woburn Safari Park (3.5 kms)

  1. Turn right from the pub and in 100 metres ignore a path to the left across the cricket field (a good place for a picnic). In 45 metres turn right on Brook End (a path to Millenium Pond is to its left). The road ends in 180 metres at Dove Cottage. Continue on a path with a tiny stream to your left. In 30 metres cross a wooden footbridge with two yellow posts and turn right. In 45 metres go through a wooden gate with GRW logo and continue along the right edge of a field. In 140 metres turn left at the corner of the field then in 35 metres turn right through a wooden kissing gate with a yellow post and immediately left again at a GRW sign, heading North at first through a muddy section, with bushes and trees on both sides.
  2. In 150 metres ignore gates and paths to left and right. In 140 metres the wide path starts to climb again, but you take the path to the left through a wooden kissing gate with a yellow post, leaving the GRW. Continue along the left edge of a field, alongside a hedge. In 140 metres, after a solitary tree, turn half right. There is no sign but it is obvious enough on the ground. Head towards a post (more orange than yellow), on the edge of woods (not marked on older maps). Enter the woods in 100 metres and maintain the same direction. In 100 metres leave the woods and briefly veer to the right. In 15 metres cross the next field to the far corner, in the same direction. In 200 metres turn left on a road, Old Water End (signed for Ridgmont), ignoring the road to the left (Witts End again). In late 2021 the footpath signpost here had a deflated balloon attached, yellow of course!
  3. In 180 metres take the road to the right (signed Ridgmont, 1½). In 220 metres take the path to the left through a wooden gate, to the left of a rusty field-gate. There is a green public footpath sign and a map of the Woburn Estate here. Follow the path uphill, at first with fences on both sides. In 140 metres the fence on the left ends and you pass a yellow post and continue on a narrow path, still uphill. In 150 metres go through a gate and continue ahead (300°). You pass further yellow posts in 50 metres, 60 metres (with buildings visible to the right), 100 metres and 10 metres.
  4. You emerge from woods on to open ground on a level grassy path with more deer visible. In 350 metres you pass another yellow post with a white house (Trusslers Lodge) now ahead to the left. Turn left at the next yellow post in 80 metres, with a deer fence to your right. Pass another yellow post in 75 metres to reach a 3 armed green public footpath signpost in 90 metres. In 10 metres turn right on a drive, going over a stile next to a cattle grid and passing Trusslers Lodge on your right (Walk 1-17 joins you again here).
  5. In 45 metres you turn left at another yellow post, off the drive and downhill in to Hay Wood, walking below a line of wires, your direction 310°. You pass another yellow post in 280 metres and leave the woods in 100 metres, having passed through some muddy sections, through high metal gates. Continue ahead (still 310°) on a tarmac road. In 60 metres you pass to the left of two stone lions, at the entrance to Woburn Safari Park, crossing the entrance drive (with pay kiosks over to your left). Continue ahead on a drive in 30 metres (this is Sandy Lane, which would be the most direct onward route, but it is not open to the public and it would be a shame not to see the animals anyway).

6 Woburn Safari Park to Husborne Crawley (3.4 kms)

  1. In 90 metres take the gate to the left opposite the last buildings, signed as a public footpath, through a wooden kissing gate. Continue on the grassy path (210°) with Safari Park high fencing on your left. There are bison and other animals beyond the fence and shortly elephants on the right. In 650 metres cross a tarmac drive and continue through a high wooden kissing gate and downhill in to woods (220°). In 50 metres, at the bottom of the slope, follow the sign on a tree to go right and follow the footpath with a stream bed on your left-hand side (now 285°) Keep ahead along this path, muddy in places, through a lightly wooded area, now with wallabies on the left and smaller animals on the path itself. In 550 metres you turn right on a tarmac path at a yellow post (345°). In 350 metres pass a yellow post on the right, then turn right again on a rough path (North), leaving the tarmac. In 220 metres turn left at a yellow post.
  2. In 25 metres cross a private road. In 25 metres continue ahead (315°) at a yellow post (though the arrow points slightly left) through a wooded area. In 150 metres turn right at a yellow post to leave the Woburn Estate by a cattle grid and Husborne Crawley Gate in 35 metres. In 15 metres turn right on the B5704 and in 60 metres left on Horsepool Lane. In 30 metres take a path to the left at a green sign (with information about a World War Two plane crash in this field) and go through a wooden double gate (Walk 1-17 stays on the road here). (!) In 180 metres turn right at an unmarked cross paths (if you pass under wires, you have gone too far). There is a yellow post visible from this junction, which you pass in 30 metres.
  3. In 45 metres cross Horsepool Lane again and take the path opposite, with the M1 now visible ahead. In 175 metres go through a metal kissing gate and maintain the same direction (20°) across the next field. In 120 metres pass a yellow post and continue across the next field, ignoring a path to the right. In 80 metres pass a yellow post and go through a metal gate in to woods, turning half left. In 85 metres go over a footbridge. In 75 metres turn right at a path junction by another yellow post, with the woods now to your right.
  4. In 80 metres go through a ‘two tone’ (wood and metal) kissing gate and continue on tarmac (Crow Lane) with houses to your left. In 280 metres cross School Lane (A507) by a seat and continue at a green public footpath sign (Ridgmont station, 1 mile), now following the Western Historic Parkland Walk (a short local route). Note that the White Horse pub is 500 metres to your right on School Lane, though the village of Husborne Crawley is to the left.

7 Husborne Crawley to Ridgmont (1.7 kms)

  1. Follow the left edge of the field; St James’ Church at Husborne Crawley is above you to the left. In 250 metres at a yellow post continue in to the next muddy field. In 300 metres go in to the next field at another yellow post (30°). The spire of Ridgmont church is visible to your right.
  2. In 200 metres you have a hedge on your left. In 180 metres pass under wires and continue downhill. In 40 metres there are corrugated buildings to your left. In 60 metres continue past a yellow post and over a ditch in to the next field. In 200 metres go over a wooden footbridge, by another yellow post. In 40 metres go through a metal gate and in 20 metres through another metal gate to your left. In 20 metres cross the railway line at ground level with great care, directly under the M1 and continue to the right.
  3. In 45 metres go up and down steps over piping. In 35 metres go through a gate, still with the rail line on your right. Continue on waste ground, to the right then to the left. Go under the A507 in 180 metres. In 25 metres ignore steps up to the road, on your left. In 90 metres turn right on Station Road, to reach Ridgmont station in 15 metres. Trains for Bedford depart from the near side (Platform 2); cross the line for the Heritage Centre and tea room, trains for Bletchley from Platform 1 and rail replacement buses.
© Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml