The Greensand Ridge walk crosses Bedfordshire from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay, just over the border in Cambridgeshire. It can be done in two days but we decided to split it into two and a half.
Most of the group who were doing the walk with me also live in Ampthill, which sits pretty much half way along the walk. This made logistics quite a bit simpler than other walks I’ve done.
We took a taxi to the start of the walk, where the Grand Union Canal cuts through Leighton Buzzard, and ferried cars to the end so we could drive back home.
- Day 1: Leighton Buzzard to Ampthill
- Day 2: Ampthill to Sandy
- Day 3: Sandy to Gamlingay
Friday - Leighton Buzzard to Ampthill
- Distance: 23.0 miles
- Walking time: 8.5 hrs
- Difficulty: Very tough
- Lunch: The Royal Oak, Woburn
- Accommodation: at home
Bedfordshire may be mostly flat but this was a long day’s walk. After trekking alongside the Grand Union Canal out of Leighton Buzzard, the trail took us into Rushmere Park and onto Woburn. This is just under halfway but the most convenient spot for lunch.
Once fed and watered, we walked through the deer park and past the abandoned Segenhoe church at Ridgmont. After this we found that the route had moved from the maps we had in order to cross the M1 slightly further north.
Saturday - Ampthill to Sandy
- Distance: 16.0 miles
- Walking time: 7.0 hrs
- Difficulty: Medium
- Lunch: The Greyhound, Haynes
- Accommodation: Holiday Inn
The ridge was not always in evidence during the first day’s walk, but it really comes out on this section of the route.
After leaving Ampthill and passing Kings Wood, a favourite hunting ground of Henry VIII, the route passes another ruined church, this time St Mary’s at Clophill - infamous for black masses in the 1960s and 70s. It then skirts Chicksands Wood at Shefford, after which we stopped for lunch.
A little while after leaving Haynes, the trail goes directly along the edge of the ridge for a few miles. To the left a vale stretches north, with views to Bedford and beyond, dominated in parts by the old airship hangars at Cardington (home of the R101 and now where many Hollywood films are made). The hills to the south roll for a few miles, eventually turning into the Chilterns.
Sunday - Sandy to Gamlingay
- Distance: 7.0 miles
- Walking time: 2.5 hrs
- Difficulty: Easy
The last day was a simple countryside stroll from Sandy into Gamlingay.