What it's like
Walking in Bedfordshire is characterised by well marked paths which are often featured on excellent leaflets published by the Tourist Information Centre.
There are several long-distance walking routes that pass through the county including the Ouse Valley Way which follows the River Great Ouse from Brackley in Northamptonshire to The Wash at Kings Lynn, in Norfolk, and the Greensand Ridge Walk which runs for about 40 miles from Leighton Buzzard in the west of the county to Gamlingay which is just over the border in Cambridgeshire. In the south of the county is part of the Icknield Way path, which markets itself as ‘The Oldest Road in Britain’. National Cycle Route 51 also passes through the county and the 9 mile section between Bedford and Sandy is completely traffic free.
Although most of the routes are easy, there are some delightful discontinuities where the land suddenly rises up as with the Dunstable Downs on the edge of the Chilterns, near Luton and Whipsnade Zoo, or the Sharpenhoe Clappers further north with the eerie ruins of Houghton House
Bedford itself boasts one of the best urban riverside walks in Britain and, together with its association with John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, is a good centre for exploring other attractions like the magnificent deer-strewn grounds of Woburn Abbey with its generous free public access and Safari Park and the conservation park of Wilden to the north set in 10 acres of wildlife meadows.
- A walk from the new National Trust Visitor centre at the Chiltern Gateway on Dunstable Downs offers some quite astonishing views from the ridge. A circuit also enables to you to enter the quiet stillness of the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral and watch gliders being launched and rising on the thermals.
- Leave the attractive village of Reeth near Leighton Buzzard for a walk through some of the best sections of the Greensand Ridge Walk to arrive at the peaceful Grand Union Canal and proceed along to Three Locks. The return over luscious meadows takes goes through Stockgrove Country Park and alongside its secluded lakes.
- Starting from Tempsford along part of the Kingfisher Way you can circuit to the 15C seventeen-span Barford Bridge and follow the Great Ouse back to its spectacular confluence with the Ivel.
Must see and do
- Fly a kite from the top of Dunstable downs. www.chilternsgateway.org.uk
- Spend a day out at Skirmish Central Paintballing Centre.www.skirmishcentral.com
- Try a simulated skydive at the Bodyflight Bedford wind tunnel which fans winds of up to 140 mph. www.bodyflight.co.uk
Destination County : Bedfordshire