Saturday Walkers Club www.walkingclub.org.uk
Glimpsed cows

Glimpsed cows

by moontiger

Patterned field

Patterned field

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Rowan walk

Rowan walk

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Northill cottages

Northill cottages

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Sandy to Biggleswade or Circular Walk

Greensand Ridge Walk along grassy tracks, woodland trails, and 2 pretty villages with pubs - Northill and Old Warden

Length

Main walk: Sandy to Biggleswade 19.5km (12.2m)

Long Circular walk - continue on from Biggleswade back to Sandy via a much shorter return route 26.1km (16.3m)

Short winter birdwatching walk Biggleswade to Sandy (the shorter return route only via the RSPB reserve) 7.4km (4.6m)

The Long and short winter walk's distance does not include exploring further trails at the RSPB nature reserve at Sandy Warren.

Toughness Main walk 4/10; virtually flat but with one short, gentle climb just after lunch; 219m ascent and 215m of descent. 5/10 for the longer Sandy circular walk; 309m ascent and 300m descent 1/10 for the short walk Biggleswade to Sandy
OS MapsLandranger Map 153, Bedford and Huntingdon Explorer Map 208, Bedford and St Neots
Features This Bedfordshire walk was inspired by the weekly Country diary in the Guardian newspaper where, from time to time, a nature writer, Derek Niemann , writes about the flora and fauna around Sandy. Although this is an area of large arable fields there is no slogging through crops or over ploughed land . The walk is mainly flat and before lunch mainly follows the Greensand Ridge Walk . The route is a mix of attractive broad grassy tracks along field edges and woodland trails. Along the way you will see a number of information boards telling you about the animals, trees and plants you may see around you. Binoculars are useful as the area is rich in bird-life and a healthy population of muntjac deer and brown hares. You visit two lovely villages – Northill and Old Warden which both have excellent pubs. Just after lunch following a short climb into Warden Warren woods you have the chance to do a couple of short “there and back” detours along permissive paths to see two refurbished Landmark Trust properties; Queen Annes’ Summerhouse and the Keepers Cottage. (The paths to these properties are only open from 1 April to 31 October.) In May there is a lot of blossom to enjoy and October is also a good time to do this walk as the tree colour is particularly vibrant. Fast walkers taking an early train may be able to do this walk in winter before nightfall although the terrain is likely to be far muddier and it is recommended that this walk is done between April and October. There are no stiles on the main walk or the long circular walk back to Sandy.
Options Shortening the walk If you are interested in bird-watching then a short walk winter option could be to walk from Biggleswade station to Sandy and explore some of the paths and trails through the attractive RSPB reserve of woodland, heath and acid grassland at Sandy Warren. This is also the national HQ – the Lodge – of the RSPB and it has an extensive web site which you can find can find here. See Section E of the walk instructions. Lengthening the walk Before you enter the main town of Biggleswade you have the option to extend the walk back to Sandy making a long circular walk of 25.9km (16.2m). This also takes you through the RSPB reserve on your way to Sandy.
Travel Both Sandy and Biggleswade are on the Great Northern line to Peterborough running out of London Kings Cross station. Weekends On Saturdays you have the option to take a fast train at 9.22am arriving at Sandy just after 10am or a slower train at 9.35am arriving at Sandy at 10.33am . The earlier fast train should mean you get to the recommended lunch-time pub which is 13km (7.6m) or 62% into the walk around 1.15pm. With the later train you will reach the pub about 30mins later. The corresponding trains after 10am will get you to the earlier pub option between 12 and 12.30am but you will have much further to walk after lunch. On Sunday there is one train an hour and to get you to the pub at a reasonable time you should catch the 09.23am There are two trains an hour back from Biggleswade to London on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. Weekdays Your best bet is the slow 9.35 train (arrives 10.33) but if you want the best Network card deal then you will need to catch the 10.22 which means you will not start walking until around 11.10 which in turn means the early lunch pub is the best option but makes for a long 14.3km (8.9m) stretch in the afternoon. Sandy is one stop beyond Biggleswade so buy a day return to Sandy
Lunch The Crown Northill. (01767 627337) You will only have done a quarter of the walk when you reach this attractive pub but it still makes a lovely stop for a short break. Should you wish to eat here there is an extensive menu including good vegetarian options. See the web site here for full details Hare and Hounds, Old Warden (01767 627225) This is your recommended lunch-time pub and when you get here you will have done over 60% of the walk and so probably in need of refreshments! The pub has an extensive main menu and puddings. Their web site here gives full details. There is attractive outside seating at the rear of the pub. For both pubs you should ring beforehand as they are likely to be busy on summer weekends and bank holidays.. Just before you reach the pub there is the superb Abbey Church of St Leonards which is a fine spot for a picnic lunch.
Tea Biggleswade has a number of pubs and cafes dotted around the central area but for tea, coffee and cakes your best bet is the popular Surfin café in Market Place which is en route to the station . Open until 5pm at weekends but 6.30pm on weekdays. However it may stay open later in the summer so check out its web site here for details It has indoor and outdoor seating and is 5 minutes walk from the station. There are other cafes and restaurants in the Market Square and High Street area if you want an evening meal. Its worth doing a Google maps search to find out about options. Long Circular Walk back to Sandy The Bell in Sandy and just 60m from the station is a fairly basic pub with a garden at the back. They will make you an Instant coffee and a cup of tea on request.
Notes See walk pdf for further detailed information
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Trains

Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

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Start: SG19 1AW | Directions

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Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Oct-16

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Walk Directions  

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This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk