The Skylark Ride

Sandy to Everton Circular Walk

Waymarking: Look out for the circular route waymarks which indicate the direction of the walk. Yellow arrows are used on public footpaths, blue on public bridleways. Short cuts between Points 4 and 6, and 3 and 6a are also waymarked.
Between Points 2 and 3, and 5 and 6, the circular route follows the Greensand Ridge walk, which is waymarked with special signs, posts and discs, some bearing a muntjac deer symbol.
Footwear: Some of the paths can be wet and muddy, particularly after heavy rain, so strong, waterproof footwear is recommended.
There are several options for shorter walks of 5.5 and 6.5 miles (starting at Sandy), and 3 and 4.5 miles (starting at Everton), using the Greensand Ridge Walk between Points 3 and 6a, or the waymarked public footpath between Points 4 and 6.
This walk explores the countryside between the market town of Sandy and the village of Everton, following part of the Greensand Ridge Walk. It crosses the two large estates of Hasells Hall and Woodbury. Although much of the area is intensively farmed, the walk also passes through pasture, parkland and woodland, offering fine views, and past a number of interesting features.

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 – Sandy station is on the London to Edinburgh line and the walk is reached from the station by turning left along the High Street and then right on to St Swithun’s Way. For timetable information, please telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950.
Click here for National Rail Enquiries website

How to Get There by Car

Sandy is located in east Bedfordshire, 3 miles north of Biggleswade, just off the A1. There is a free car park on Sandy High Street and a small car park outside Everton Church. There is a church service every Sunday morning, so please avoid using this car park before 11.30am.

Start/Finish Point

Sandy High Street car park is the suggested starting point and the walk is described in a clockwise direction from there. However, you can begin at any other point and walk in either direction.

Access and General Information

Distance: 8 miles
Time: 3 hours.
Surface types: You will walk across a range of surfaces from hard and firm with no stones variable surfaces with loose stones, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with ruts.
Linear Gradient: The steepest linear gradient is steeper than 1:6 at various points on the route – this is a very undulating walk
Cross Falls: The steepest cross fall is 1:7 between Points 2 and 3 of the route.
Width Restriction: There is a minimum width restriction of 1750mm between Points 3 and 4.
Steps: There are steps at The Pinnacle. These have a maximum step height of 9”.
Barriers: There is one two-step stile and two one-way opening gates with a width greater than 750mm. There are also a few kissing gates with a restriction of less than 1000mm. There is a cattle grid between Points 5 and 6.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Refreshments: There is a public house, The Thornton Arms, in Everton. Sandy has cafes and shops.
Seats: None recorded.

Point 1

From the car park, turn left along Sandy High Street and then right on to St Swithun's Way to the bridge over the London (King's Cross) to Edinburgh railway. Cross the field on the other side of the railway, and ascend to The Pinnacle - a sandy hill on the lower greensand, managed by Sandy Town Council as a public recreation area. There are excellent views over Sandy from the top of the hill. On reaching Sand Lane, turn right and follow the road down almost as far as the junction with Swaden.

Point 2

Leave the road to follow the Greensand Ridge Walk along the bridleway to the left, across pasture.
The bridleway runs along the base of the Greensand Ridge, following the route of the former Sandy to Godmanchester Roman Road. This first stretch is along an ancient boundary known as Hasell Hedge. A large number of Roman remains have been found in Sandy, and it seems likely that it was once a thriving Roman settlement. 'Caesar's Camp' near The Pinnacle is actually the site of a British hill fort of pre-Roman origin. Further south, the hill fort at Galley Hill is probably of Roman origin.
Having crossed two pastures, the route follows the edge of two arable fields, and then joins a farm track, which leads to Waterloo Farm. By contrast to the sandy ridge, the soil here is a heavy clay. For a short cut to Everton, follow the Greensand Ridge Walk, which turns right by the farm, and ascends the ridge to the village.

Point 3

The main route continues along the Roman Road, crossing Tempsford Road and proceeding on to the disused Tempsford Airfield, via a former access road and then part of the runway.
The airfield was built in 1941 and was used during World War I! as a base for Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents. The airfield was closed to the RAF in 1947, and is now a private farm. Much of the runway system is still intact.
A path to the right, just before the field barn can also be used as a short cut to Everton. The path follows an ancient lane and ascends to Church End.
The barn, which once formed part of Gibraltar Farm, remains as a memorial to those agents who took part in many dangerous operations in occupied Europe while assisting the various Resistance movements. Equipment for these operations was issued in the barn, and racks for supplies and equipment can still be seen.

Point 4

The main route continues past the barn and then leaves the airfield, along a farm track on the right. Continue past an area of woodland on the left and Hare's Home wood, which was planted last century, on the right. The track splits at the first right turn, and the path to the north of the hedge should be followed, where there is a good view over the extensive woodland of the Woodbury Estate. The estate lies on and beneath the Greensand Ridge, and some of the woodland is of ancient origin.
Past Hare's Home, the route follows the farm road to a gate at the bottom of the ridge, where it leaves the road, turning sharp left in front of the gate, and runs along the edge of the field. Continue uphill through the woodland, emerging at Keepers' Drove Lane. Keep straight ahead until you reach a stile on the right where you rejoin the Greensand Ridge Walk.

Point 5

Cross the stile and the arable field, heading for a white gate on the opposite side. The route then joins the estate road to the village of Everton, passing through the parkland of Woodbury Hall - which was built from 1803-06 on the site of a previous house, and can be seen to the right of the road - and emerging by the church The fields on either side of the open estate road near Everton are used for the commercial production of turf.
The Parish Church of St Mary's, Everton-cum-Tetworth, is the major feature of the village. A church has stood on the site for over a thousand years, and is listed in the Domesday Book. The present building dates from the 12th century, while the tower and porch are of 14th century origin. Walkers are welcome to visit. Until boundary changes in 1974, much of the present Everton parish, including the church, was in the former county of Huntingdonshire.

Point 6

Continue past the church and the Thornton Arms pub, and turn left along Potton Road. Follow this road out of the village past a left turn to Gamlingay, until you reach the public bridleway (Mill Lane) on the right. Follow this well defined track towards the small wood ahead.

Point 7

In the wood, turn right at the junction of bridleways along a private track (which is a permissive bridleway), past the Sandy TV transmitter.
Emerging from the conifer woods, the route turns left after approximately 100 yards, along the Long Riding bridleway. Turn left at the end, along another bridleway, to the Sandy to Potton road, where you cross the road, turn right and follow the roadside path and verge back to Sandy.
The bridleway opposite leads to The Lodge - headquarters of the RSPB.