Walk 1816 - printer friendly version
Circular from Old Linslade (or Leighton Buzzard) Walk
Author - Donald Morton
Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km
Ascent - 350 feet / 106 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SP909269
Lat 51.933198 + Long -0.67928878
Postcode LU7 0DU (approx. location only)
This walk as described starts from the car park by the Grand Union Canal in Old Linslade (Grid Ref SP909269) at Bridge 110. It can however be started from Leighton Buzzard Railway Station by walking down to the Grand Union Canal and then following the tow path north to Bridge 110.
From the car park, cross over the canal bridge and descend to the tow path, part of the Grand Union Canal Walk from London to Birmingham (145 miles in total of which we will see about 3.5 miles as it runs parallel to the river in the Ouzel Valley). On the tow path take the direction signed to Three Locks and Bletchley. At Three Locks (Bridge 107) it is necessary to go up from the tow path and over the bridge. Once over the bridge drop down to a side road which goes past the Grand Union pub before you gain access to the next stretch of tow path. At Bridge 106 you cross over again to follow the tow path once more on the original side. Now carry on to Bridge 102 (Beware there is only one bridge between 106 and 102.) where you leave the canal, go up to the road and turn right.
Follow the road which crosses the River Ouzel and, soon after passing the entrance to Lower Rectory Farm, take a public footpath on the right. I suspect that this path originally went diagonally across the field but now it goes along the field edge, hedge right. At the field corner turn left to continue along the field edge to the next corner. Here turn right up an enclosed path which comes out into an open field. Turn left along the edge between the remains of a 19th Century estate boundary wall and a wire fence. After a couple of stiles go diagonally over an open field aiming for a tall prominent pine tree at the left end of a group of trees. Here you will find another stile which takes you onto an enclosed path to a lane.
Turn left on the lane and soon reach a T-junction by Great Brickhill parish church. At the T-junction turn right and then fork left up Rotten Row. (Or if you need refreshment fork right to The Old Red Lion.) Rotten Row comes to another T-junction. Cross over the road and go down the footpath to the right of the school. When this comes out at open grassland continue down the clear track, keeping near the hedge on the right to go over a stile and continue on a path between a hedge left and a wire fence. Do not go out to the road at the end but turn sharp left to go through the garden of Blue Gate Farm.
Go between the charming thatched cottage and wooden outhouses and later between stables and an exercise ring to exit down a grass track. Follow this green lane to a gate and stile which lead into an open field. Do not be tempted by the clear twin tracks going over the field but keep to the right of this to find a stile leading into further pasture. In this field follow more or less the line of the wooden power line poles to a stile in a hedge. Once through the hedge turn right down the field edge to a final stile in the field corner. Having negotiated this, with its steep drop, turn right down the bridleway a few yards beyond.
You are now on the Greensand Ridge Walk which runs between Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire and Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire. Really it cuts across Bedfordshire NE/SW but this section is almost all in Buckinghamshire and is now a straight walk back to Leighton Buzzard. The first section goes across Rammamere Heath, an SSSI, to a road between Great Brickhill and the village known as Heath and Reach. It is more open woodland than heath and the path goes down the edge. Where there is a choice between two paths going forward always take the right-hand one. When you get to the road turn right and where the road bends right, turn left onto a drive to the left of a GR post box.
Follow this drive past cottages into Oak Wood where it becomes more recognisably a bridleway. Follow the most obvious path straight on through the woods, aided fairly frequently by the initials GRW on posts or the Greensands Ridge Walk emblem of a muntjac deer. Where the obvious route divides take the left hand fork. At a pond keep straight on uphill along the edge of Rushmere Park with wide views over the Ouzel Valley on the right. When you get to the road turn left for a few yards to a cross roads, from where those who started on the walk from Leighton Buzzard Station can continue back to town on the Greensands Ridge Walk which starts off through the woods parallel to the road to Old Linslade before emerging from the woods and turning left uphill along their edge.
Those who started from the car park should follow the road from the cross roads right down to Old Linslade to find the car park over the canal on the left.