Donkey Walk Keysoe


Introduction

Donkey Lane and nearby Mill Lane are ancient trackways linking the windmills at Bolnhurst and Keysoe and were much used by local farmers taking their grain to be ground into flour. Bolnhurst Mill was demolished in 1920 and Keysoe Mill, the last working windmill in Bedfordshire, collapsed during a storm in January 1946. This short, pleasant walk is well waymarked.


How To Get There By Passenger Transport
BY BUS Telephone Bedfordshire Bus Information Line : 01234 228337, 8.30am 5pm open 5 days a week or Travel Line 0870 6082608.
BY TRAIN For timetable information, please telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950.
Click here for the National Rail Enquiries website


How To Get There By Car
Keysoe Row East is 7 miles north east of Bedford off the B660 Kimbolton Road.
There is parking along Keysoe Row East (please park on the opposite side to the farm entrance).


Start/Finish Point
The suggested starting point for this walk is between the White Horse pub and Kymbrook School along Keysoe Row East.


Access and General Information
Length: 3 miles (5 km)
Time:

Access Information:

Surface Types: You will walk across surface types of grass or uncultivated earth paths with some ruts and mud.
Linear Gradient: The steepest linear gradient is between 1:10-1:13 for a short rise just beyond Point C on the map.
Cross Falls: None recorded.
Width Restriction: There is a minimum width restriction of 800mm on the sleeper bridge at Point E on the map.
Steps: There are three steps at the bridge at Point H on the map with a maximum step height of 270mm.
Barriers: There are two kissing gates with a width restriction of less than 1000mm.
Refreshments: None recorded.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Seats: None recorded.


Route Description
From A, walk along Donkey Lane and turn right through the gap at the side of the first gate B. Part of the way along at C a footpath to your right returns to the road. Continue along the hedge passing the rear of Broadfields Tea Gardens.

At the next waymark post D a green lane to the right leads back to Keysoe Row East. For the circular walk turn left along the hedge. Cross the new sleeper bridge at E and pass Bolnhurst Spinney on your right. In spring this area is a mass of bluebells and primroses.

Next you will come to the Anglian Water Authority pumping station where you can join the walk along a track leading from the B660 in Bolnhurst. In the field to the left a few yards ahead is a waymark post F where Duloe Brook emerges from a large drain pipe. Go past this post keeping the brook on your left. Duloe Brook flows through Bushmead, Staploe and Duloe before joing the Ouse near St Neots. On rising ground across the field to your right you can see the back of Bolnhurst Mill House.

At G cross a bridge and through a kissing gate and continue alongside the brook. A kingfisher has recently been sighted here but much easier to spot are the moorhens which inhabit this area. Continue over the next bridge and kissing gate and over two more bridges and past a large oak tree, keeping the brook on your left. You will soon arrive at Donkey Lane H. To the right the lane leads to the St Neots Road, Bolnhurst. To continue the Donkey Walk turn left. This is a well used track where the trees meet overhead in places forming a very pleasant tunnel.

As you walk up the gentle incline a bridleway at I to the right leads past Wickey Farm and on to Little Staughton. Continue along the lane through the avenue of trees. Look out for the wild flowers, wood anemones, violet, bluebells, primroses and bee orchids. This is a lovely area.

At J the path bends sharply to the left. At this point a bridleway to the right heads to Little Staughton. In the field to the left many young trees have been recently planted, this is to be known as Ruff's Spinney. If you continue along the lane you get back to your starting point in Keysoe Row East.


Acknowledgements
This walk has been developed by Bolnhurst & Keysoe Parish Paths P3 Group with support from Bedfordshire County Council. Leaflet written by Alan Woodward, drawings by Bob Howes and the Keysoe Art Group.