Leisure Rail Through Marston Vale: Fenny Stratford Circular 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 4.5 mile walk is from Fenny Stratford station.


How To Get There by Passenger Transport
BY BUS – Fenny Stratford is on bus routes from Milton Keynes. Telephone Bedfordshire Bus Information Line : 01234 228337, 8.30am – 5pm open 5 days a week or Travel Line 0870 6082608.
BY TRAIN – Fenny Stratford station, on the Bedford to Bletchley line, is approximately 0.2 miles from Fenny Stratford village. 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 Car
Fenny Stratford is approx. 2˝ miles south of central Milton Keynes. Fenny Stratford Station can be accessed from the A5 into Watling Street. Parking is tricky, there isn’t a designated car park at the station. On street parking is the best option.


Start/Finish Point
This is a circular walk from Fenny Stratford station. Grid Ref SP881343.
There is no route map for this walk.


Access and General Information
Distance: 4˝ miles
Access Information
Surface Types: You will walk across surface types ranging from hard and firm with stones no larger than 10mm (some of the stones may be loose), grassy pathways and surfaces with uncultivated earth with ruts and mud.
Linear Gradient: Part of the walk has a linear gradient 1:6, this is at canal bridge 91 to the road. The remainder of the walk is 1:18 or less.
Cross Falls: There are cross falls of 1:16-1:20 along Caldecotte lake path.
Minimum Width: The canal towpath is narrow at times; 600mm between vegetation.
Steps: There are 15 steps at Bletchley canal bridge to the towpath, the maximum step height is 120mm.
Barriers: There is one kissing gate with a width restriction of 400mm along the canal towpath.
Refreshments: There are numerous public houses along this route. In Bletchley there is The Swan, 15, Watling Street, The Bridge Inn. At Lock 22, The Red Lion. At Canalside there's Trekkers and in Caldecotte you'll find the Caldecotte Arms.
Public Toilets: None on route
Picnic Tables: There are two picnic tables at Simpsons Bridge over the River Ouse.
Seats: There are two seats at Lock 22 and 7 seats along the Caldecotte path.


Fenny Stratford Circular Walk
Leave Fenny Stratford station by the footpath at the Bedford end of the platform into Simpson Road. Turn right and continue to the road junction, with the Swan Public House on the left. Turn into Watling Street and cross the road taking steps down to the towpath of the Grand Union Canal, immediately after crossing the bridge over the canal.
Turn right and continue along the towpath for about 1.5 miles, passing under the railway and under a number of road bridges. After passing under bridge number 92 a footpath leads to Simpson Village. A little further along the towpath you come to The Plough Public House. Continue on the towpath to bridge 91 and turn right, following signs to Walton, down through Simpson village. Cross the road by the church and turn left into Simpson Road. Cross the River Ouzel and turn right through a small car park. The windmill of the Caldecotte Arms Hotel can be seen in the distance.
Continue towards the windmill and follow signs to Caldecotte Lake. This lake was excavated between 1981 and 1983 from farmland on either side of the River Ouzel, whose source is at the foot of Dunstable Downs. The new lake takes its name from the medieval hamlet that was by the river. Follow the footpath, bearing right past the sluice gates and then left and left again over a wooden bridge, if you wish to pause at the Caldecotte Arms where there is a children's playground. There are pleasant views across the lakes and opportunities for picnicking.
Beyond the Caldecotte Arms, retracing steps over the wooden bridge, turn left and continue under the main road, walking alongside the river with the railway bridge ahead. Bear left over another bridge crossing the river and turn right, leaving the footpath, which continues to Bow Brickhill. Cross a grassed area by the river, going first under a large road bridge and then under the Bedford to Bletchley rail line. The footpath is somewhat rougher at this point as it bears to the left.
Go through the gate along Belvedere Lane to the junction with the A5. Belvedere Nurseries are to the right. Turn right and continue along the A5 to the Swan Public House. Turn right into Simpson Road and the entrance to Fenny Stratford station is on the left, just before you reach the level crossing.


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