Walk around Renhold


Introduction

This is a pleasant, easy, circular route with no hills. Renhold is situated three miles north west of Bedford town centre. It is a village of typical Bedfordshire ends. At its southern extreme it borders the River Ouse across from Willington. Ravensden and Wilden border it to the north and Great Barford to the east.


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
Renhold is situated three miles north east of Bedford and is signposted from the A421. Parking is available in the village


Start/Finish Point
The suggested starting point for this walk is opposite the church in the centre of Renhold.


Access and General Information
Length: 3 miles (4.8 km)
Time:

Access Information:
Pending update.


Route Description
Facing the church, take the path at the left (A) and bear right over the field at the back, then up to the bridleway. (Take a look back at the church). Turn left at the bridleway (B). On the right is Great Early Grove, and on the left Little Early Grove, both listed in the County Historical Environment Records as County Wildlife Sites. The path opens up into farmland and rises to the highest point in Renhold. Turn right at the top and after 150 metres right again. Turn left (C) and follow the path down towards Woodfield Farm. The path avoids the farm buildings, passing through a formal avenue of trees. Turn right onto Woodfield Lane (D) passing the chapel. Cross the green and the road, bearing left, and over the stile to the right (E). Howbury Hall is in the distance to the left. Follow the path over several stiles to the junction with footpath 15 (F).

*At this point, for the short walk, turn right through the avenue of trees until you reach the road (G). Turn left, back to the church.

*For the longer walk turn left towards Howbury Hall. Then right over the stile, along the side of the field and left (H) at the next stile by the gate. The path crosses the field towards the furthest left-hand corner. Go straight ahead on bridleway 25 then turn right (I). The track winds its way up to The Polhill Arms with open views of Church End on the right. Turn right at the road (J) and right again onto footpath 4. Cross the field and the sleeper bridge and turn left up towards the road. On reaching the road turn right to follow the path along the edge of the field to the steel gate (K) opposite the school and return to the church.


Points of Interest
Renhold's 'Industrial Age' consisted of two brickworks operating in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Baptist Church was opened in 1873 and built with bricks donated by the owner of a Ravensden brickworks. Many local houses are made from local bricks. The road through the village used to run behind the church from the pumping station at the bottom of the churchyard going north and turning west until reaching Wilden Road. It followed a line of elms - victims of dutch elm disease. The photograph backgrounding this leaflet shows the trees where the road had been as they were about fifty years ago. (Between 'A' and 'B' on the map).

History

Manors:
There is no mention of Renhold in the Survey of 1086, but Renhold Manor appears later as parcel of the barony of Bedford. The name Renhold is first found in 1227-8, at which date Sybil de Renhold and others were seised of half a virgate of land in this parish, which they quitclaimed to Cecilia of Bedford. By the middle of the century Renhold was held as half a knight's fee by William de Beauchamp of the King in chief. (The Victoria History, pub. 1912)

Church:
The nave and the north aisle date from the 14th century; the font is much older, of about the middle of the 12th century, and very probably part of the nave may be older than the 14th century, as apparently the south wall required rebuilding in the 15th century, when the west tower was built. The present chancel roof and all the others are quite modern. The church walls generally are in random rubble. (The Victoria History, pub. 1912)

Howbury Hall:
The ancient seat of Frederick Polhill, Esq. M.P. and a few years back the temporary residence of the present Duke of Marlborough, at Renhold, three miles north-east of Bedford, was destroyed by fire, in consequence of a bricklayer, who was repairing the roof of the building, having imprudently lighted a fire to drive out some bees. The house was unoccupied and unfurnished, and the books removed. The left wing was burnt to the ground, nothing remaining but the stacks of chimneys. The right wing is standing, though considerably damaged. The mansion was erected two centuries ago, and received many additions during the lifetime of the late J. Polhill, Esq. (Gentleman's Magazine, May 1847)


Acknowledgements