The Greenwood Cycle Trail

The Greenwood Cycle Trail

This scenic trail allows you to enjoy a leisurely cycle ride that is suitable for all standards of cyclists. Following this trail takes you out and about the villages and hamlets of North Bedfordshire.

The Greenwood Trail is a cycle route that starts from the Marston Vale Millennium Country Park in mid Bedfordshire. Stretching over 250 hectares, the park provides a habitat for many species of plants, insects and other wildlife, in particular wild birds. The Forest Centre is a focus point for a network of trails that wind their way around the Country Park together with a horse trail created towards the southern edge of the parkland.

The Forest Centre provides an excellent starting point for the Greenwood Trail. The Centre itself has a fully licensed café bar and sun terrace with views overlooking the lake and parkland beyond. Other internal features include an interactive exhibition area, art gallery and gift shop. Close to the Centre is an adventure play area, a miniature boating pond for model boats and a sensory wildlife garden.

The Greenwood Cycle Trail is a 23 mile circular route which includes 5.5 miles around the lakeside and parkland of Marston Vale. On leaving the park, the remainder of the cycle trail uses a series of ‘B’ roads and country lanes that meander through the villages of mid and north Bedfordshire.

The roadside route is not waymarked. However, the illustrated map highlights the trail together with trail alerts (TA). These are included to draw your attention to a change of terrain, main junctions and other details. Key places along the route include Wootton, Wood End, Kempston West End, Stagsden West End, Astwood, Upper and Lower Shelton.

The terrain is gently rolling and suitable to most standards of cyclists. The route can be cycled in either direction. However, you are advised to cycle clockwise around the lakeside and parkland of the Marston Vale Forest area.

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

The Forest Centre is well signposted just off the A421 at Marston Moretaine and only 5 minutes from J13 off the M1. From the M1 Motorway head towards Bedford and turn right at the first roundabout. A quick left-and-right, and you'll find us down on the left.
Parking is available at the Forest Centre. The Car Park (small charge) is open to the public from 10am - 4pm in winter or until 6pm in summer.

Start/Finish Point

This circular route starts from the Marston Vale Forest Centre.

Access and General Information

Length: 23.8 miles (36.8 km)
Access Information: Pending Update

Route Description

1. With the Forest Centre on your right, follow the cycle path in a clockwise direction around the parkland and side of Stewartby Lake. This is approximately 5.5 miles.

2. Leave the Country Park along the main drive and turn RIGHT towards Marston Moretaine. (0.5 miles)

3. Turn RIGHT at the T junction by the Post Office. (0.8 miles)

4. Turn LEFT into Lower Shelton Road. Follow way-marked cycle path through the subway under the main road. (1.4 miles) TA: Winding road with blind bends

5. Turn RIGHT at T junction at Upper Shelton. (road sign directions Wootton l¾ Bedford 6 miles). Pass through Wootton Green (2.4 miles)

6. Turn LEFT at Wootton into Church Road, passing the war memorial, then the church, both on the left-hand side. (4 miles)

7. Turn LEFT at T junction (road sign direction Wood End ¾ and Bourne End 1½) (5 miles) TA: Winding road with blind bends.

8. Turn RIGHT at T junction (road sign directions Wood End ¼ Kempston 2) (5.3 miles)

9. Turn LEFT at The Cross Keys public house entering Tithe Road. (road directions Stagsden 3) (5.7 miles) TA: Winding road with blind bends

10. Turn LEFT at T-junction, into West End Road (road sign Stagsden 2) (TA: Ignore Cycle Route Sign for Stagsden) (7.0 miles)

11. Turn RIGHT (the through road) Road climbs and descends a substantial ridge (7.4 miles)

12. Turn LEFT at Firs Farm - follow single- track lane. (road sign Stagsden West End) (8.3 miles) TA: Uneven track

13. Turn RIGHT (the through route) Lane climbs gradually. (9.1 miles)

14. Turn LEFT onto Bedford-Milton Keynes road. TA: Take care along this brief stretch. (9.6 miles)

15. Just beyond 'Buckinghamshire' sign, veer LEFT onto one-way slip-road. This soon becomes a two-way carriageway. (10.0 miles) TA: Road ascends for approx 0.3 miles

16. At T-junction in Astwood, turn LEFT. This is a steady descent, then ascent. (road sign Cranfield 3). (10.5 miles)

17. Just beyond the bus-shelter, turn LEFT. (road sign Cranfield 1) (12.7 miles)

18. At four-way intersection at Broad Green, turn LEFT into Crane Way. (road sign Wootton 4 Bedford 8) (13.7 miles)

19. TA: Take care joining main road (veers in on the lefthand side, but it has priority). TA: Take care descending hill. TA: Ignore signposted route to Marston Moretaine at foot of descent, (road sign Wootton 4, Bedford 8) (13.9 miles)

20. Soon after passing The Exhibition PH on the left, turn RIGHT to start retracing outward route. Turn RIGHT into subway before reaching the main road. (road sign Lower Shelton) (15.8 miles)

21. Turn RIGHT towards Marston Moretaine (road sign Cycle Route Symbol Marston Moretaine) (16.8 Miles)

22. Turn LEFT at Post Office into Station Road (road sign Forest Centre) (17.5 miles)

23. Turn LEFT into drive to Forest Centre (17.7 miles)

24. Congratulations! You have now completed the Greenwood Cycle Trail (18.3 miles) 23.8 miles in total

Points of Interest


Wootton is situated approximately 4.5 miles from Bedford. The church dedicated to St. Mary, is built mainly in the Decorated Style with Early English and Perpendicular additions. It has an embattled western tower, with spire, containing 5 bells. The Church contains numerous monuments to the Monoux family who resided at Wootton House during the 17th/18th century.


The parish and village of Stagsden - formerly called Stachedene and Staggiden - is dominated by the Church of St. Leonard. It was erected during the Transitional Period between the Decorated and Perpendicular styles.


A small village consisting mainly of thatched cottages built around the green. The Parish Church of St. Peter stands at the west end of the village and contains memorials of the families Cranmer and Lowndes who were associated with the manor of Astwood since 1620. The village was originally known as Estwode, meaning Eastwood.

Cycle Safety

For your safety when out cycling please observe the following information.

You should wear a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations and light coloured or fluorescent clothing.
You should not carry or wear anything which may tangle in your chain or wheels, or may affect your balance or obscure your lights.
Always look before setting off, turning or manoeuvring, be considerate to pedestrians and other road users and give clear signals.
Keep both hands on the bars and both feet on the pedals.
Ride in single file on narrow busy roads and take care when going over traffic calming humps.
Look ahead for obstructions in the road, leave room for doors opening when passing stationary vehicles and keep to the side intended for cyclists on segregated tracks.
You must have a rear reflector.
You must use lit front and rear lights at night.
Check to ensure you have efficient brakes.
You must observe traffic signs and traffic light signals.
Always lock your cycle when you leave it, even if it’s only for a minute.
Lock your cycle through the frame and attach it to proper anchors or robust street furniture. Remove smaller parts that cannot be secured and take them with you.
Marking your cycle can act as a deterrent to a thief and may help police to return it to you if stolen. To be effective the security marking must be clearly visible and fixed securely in two separate locations.

Sun Safety

When out walking or cycling be sure to protect yourself and follow the Sun Safety Code.

Cover up with loose, cool clothing to keep the sun off your skin.
Wear a hat and sunglasses.
Protect children - they are particularly vulnerable. Sunburn during childhood can lead to skin problems later in life. Keep babies out of the sun completely.
Seek shade - especially during the hottest part of the day from 11am to 3pm.
Use a Sunscreen - SPF15 or higher on any exposed skin. Use it an hour before going outside and reapply it frequently and generously.
Take care not to burn - sun burn increases your risk of skin disease.


Mid Beds Tourist Information Centre Sandy, 5 Shannon Court, High Street, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 1AG
Tel: 01 767 682728 Fax: 01 767 681 713

Published by Mid Beds District Council Tourism Section, The Limes, Dunstable Street, Ampthill, Bedfordshire MK45 2JU. Mid Beds District Council cannot accept any responsibility for accuracy of the information given or omissions, although every care is taken to ensure that it is correct at the time of going to press.