Leisure Rail Through the Marston Vale: Stewartby-Millbrook Walk


Introduction

There are many opportunities for enjoyable walks from stations on the Bedford to Bletchley rail line. Leaflets giving details of riverside walks in Bedford are available from the tourist office and library. The walks associated to this leaflet (there are four: Fenny Stratford Circular Walk, Stewartby to Millbrook walk via Stewartby Lake, Bow Brickhill Circular Walk, Ridgmont ‘Clay Way’ Circular Walk) are suggestions, suitable for most ages, but not advisable with pushchairs. The length of the walks is generally between 1 and 2 hours, depending on stops made at places of interest. These walks all begin and end at stations on the Marston Vale rail line.
This two and a half mile walk goes through the Millennium Country Park starting at Stewartby station and finishing at Millbrook station


How To Get There by Passenger Transport
BY BUS – Stewartby is on bus routes between Bedford and Leighton Buzzard/Lidlington. Telephone Bedfordshire Bus Information Line : 01234 228337, 8.30am – 5pm open 5 days a week or Travel Line 0870 6082608.
BY TRAIN – Stewartby station, on the Bedford to Bletchley line, is approximately ½ mile from Stewartby. There are no trains on Sundays. For timetable information, please telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950.
Click here for National Rail Enquiries website


How To Get There by Passenger Transport
From Bedford take the A421 signposted for Junction 13 of the M1. Take the second exit to Stewartby. There isn’t a designated car park for the station, the only option is on street parking in the village of Stewartby which is a short walk away.


Start/Finish Point
The walk starts at Stewartby station (Grid Ref TL014423) and finishes at Millbrook station (Grid Ref TL 007406).
There is no route map for this walk.


Access and General Information
Distance: 2.5 miles
Access Information
Surface Types: The walking surface is hard but variable with loose variable sized stones.
Linear Gradient: At the entrance/exit to both Stewartby and Millbrook railway stations there is a 1:6 linear gradient. The remainder of the walk is 1:18 or less.
Cross Falls: There are cross falls of 1:16-1:20 near the Nature Reserve (there are steep linear gradients and cross falls along the path that gives you the best view across the lake).
Width Restriction: The platform entrance has a 1000mm width restriction. At Nightingale corner there is a width restriction of 420mm (this is an alternative footpath to the Nature Reserve).
Steps: The step up to a carriage is 300mm. You will encounter steps at the Boardwalk, maximum step height 200mm.
Barriers: There are five kissing gates with a width restriction of between 1000-1500mm.
Refreshments: There is a café at The Forest Centre.
Public Toilets: There are no public toilets but there are toilets at The Forest Centre
Picnic Tables: There are two picnic tables along the route.
Seats: Nine seats along the route (and plenty at The Forest Centre)


Stewartby to Millbrook Walk via Stewartby Lake
From Stewartby Station, turn right and follow the road passing under the conveyor belt for 150m, crossing over at the lay-by. Pass through the kissing gate and follow the cycle track left, signed to Millbrook Station and Forest Centre. The track continues between the watersports club and the railway line.
At the next junction, for those on foot, take the first right down the track signed to the nature reserve; the second right (in about 10m) gives access for bicycles (straight ahead gives a short-cut to Millbrook Station). As you come to the bicycle stalls (to the left the willow huts can be explored) follow the path right, up the gentle hill, to the nature reserve. At the top of the hill, catch your breath at the carved benches and take in the panoramic views, from the brick workings to the regenerated sites of recent woodland planting. Continue along the track turning left at the next junction and cross a boardwalk.
The Forest Centre lies ahead of you, where refreshments and information on exploring more of the Country Park is available (contact the Forest Centre for more information). On the other side of the boardwalk take the trail to the right around the perimeter of the Marston Vale Millennium Country Park. Should you wish to take a detour into Marston Village, walk down the entrance drive from the point at which the trail crosses it. Turn left at the end and then right along a footpath between two houses. This path leads to the historic church of St Mary the Virgin, Marston Moretaine and beyond into the village. Continuing along the perimeter trail within the Country Park, there are regular viewing portals with give excellent views of the Wetland Reserve. From the third portal, Millbrook Station is clearly visible.


Acknowledgements
This leaflet is published by the Bedford to Bletchley Rail Users' Association.