Walk 3225 - printer friendly version
Woburn Estates Circular Walk
Author - Donald Morton
Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km
Ascent - 250 feet / 76 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SP951332
Lat 51.989122 + Long -0.61647745
Postcode MK17 9QZ (approx. location only)
The village of Woburn lies on the Western edge of Woburn Park on the A4012 which runs from Leighton Buzzard to the A507. The walk starts from the free car park opposite the parish church (Grid Ref SP950332).
On leaving the car park turn right along the road towards the lodge and gate pillars at the boundary of Woburn Park. Just past the lodge turn right on a clear public footpath running through a woodland section of the park. After passing Upper Drakeloe Pond on the left it arrives at a complex of buildings known as Park Farm. A tarmac road leads through gates to a gravel surface where the path doglegs left and right to go up past farm buildings right. When the gravel drive swings right follow the waymarked route over grass slightly left past a pond, right, then bear right on the marked path over open parkland. As you go uphill there is a fair chance of being close to a herd of deer - they are comparatively tame.
Go over a drive and slightly left to reach a road. Turn right along this and before the gateway and cattle grid at the park entrance turn left on a public footpath diagonally over the grass. At a fork with an ambiguously placed sign about the deer preserve, take the left branch - this is the public footpath - and follow the clear path as it winds over the grass towards the perimeter of the Safari Park. As it approaches the Safari Park and the bordering estate road the path swings right and runs along parallel to the Safari Park fence and the road. You are now walking along a ridge and there are generally wide views to the right and occasionally to the left where trees give way to fields. After going over two stiles by a gate and cattle grid continue walking down the road now through Hay Wood. The road soon passes the entrance to the Safari Park and goes past yet another cattle grid by a lodge to reach the A507.
You have now left Woburn Park but not the influence of the Dukes of Bedford. After turning right on the A507, as you walk through the village of Ridgmont you will see the indications that it is an estate village- many of the houses have the date they were built under a B surmounted by a coronet. Beyond the church (designed by George Gilbert Scott, before he designed the Albert Memorial, and paid for by the Duke of Bedford ) go straight on for the village pub but to continue the walk turn right on Church Street. Continue straight on where it becomes a rougher road and then a footpath which brings you to Segenhoe Church. This is now a ruin, having been replaced by the church in Ridgmont in 1854. Parts of this church date from the 11th Century. Go through the churchyard, exiting at the SE corner and then taking the right hand path along the fence, right. After going through a kissing gate continue straight on, initially along a field edge, hedge right. At a cross path still go straight on, hedge right, to a wood where it is still straight on but now with woods left. At the end of the woods straight on down a field edge brings you out to a lane. Turn left.
After passing a couple of footpaths on the left, you arrive at where the Greensand Ridge Walk crosses the lane. Here turn right on the wide track which after an open stretch goes along the side of a bluebell wood, left. At the end of the wood bear left on an enclosed path which skirts Wakes End Farm. After going through a metal gate into a field the path goes diagonally right to another gate concealed in the far corner. Having gone through this, with long views to the SE, continue straight on down the side of woods (Briar Stockings), right, eventually entering the woods on a clear track through them. This continues as a green lane down to a tarmac road. After crossing the road continue uphill still on a green lane. This should go all the way, ignoring all side paths, to Church End, but a section seems to have been taken over by a stream at least in wet weather. So just before the lane turns sharp right there is a wooden kissing gate in the hedge on the right, which allows you, once through, to turn left and follow the field edge parallel to the lane.
Approaching Church End you go through another gate and over a stream to rejoin the lane, now tarmac. This is the start of the delightful hamlet, which contains the church for the parish of Eversholt. You soon come to a junction opposite the cricket ground where you turn left to go between the Green Man and the church to arrive at a second junction, a cross roads. Go straight on and look for Greensand Ridge Walk footpath sign on right. The footpath starts off diagonally right but soon bears left to follow the clear path over grass parkland to a bridge over a stream and straight on. At cross paths take the right hand path going forward over two ditches and then across a field to a conifer plantation. The path goes through the plantation which turns out to be a nursery for a variety of trees. You emerge via a gate into parkland and follow the clear path straight ahead across the grass. Just before the gardens of Woburn Abbey the path meets an access drive. Turn right and follow the drive down to go between the Abbey gardens and the car park. Having passed the car park continue along the drive opposite but where this swings left fork right to follow the grass path which goes down to the lake side. As you go there are good views of the mansion over to the left. Having passed the lake the path continues over the grass to an exit gate and hence, via an enclosed cinder track, to the A4012. Turn right and go along the pavement, passing the Royal Oak, back to the centre of Woburn where you turn right for the car park.