The Biggleswade Common circular walks are defined by signposts and waymarker posts. Using the map and directions provided in this leaflet in conjunction with the waymarking will enable you to follow the routes with ease, in a clockwise direction. The four walks are based on a 6 mile / 9.5km outer route, with three shorter routes between 1 mile / 1.6km and 4miles / 6.2km, colour coded on the map.
This walk is covered by Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheet No 153 and Pathfinder Sheet Nos 1025 and 1026.
Biggleswade is just off the A1 to the south of Sandy.
There is car parking at the Dan Albone Memorial Car Park denoted by ‘P' on the route map.
All the routes start and finish at the Dan Albone Memorial Car Park.
Distance: There are four walks based on a 6 mile (9.5km) outer route, with three shorter routes between 1 mile (1.6km) and 4 miles (6.2km)
Walk 1 Red Route - (6 miles/9.4km)
1 From the Dan Albone Memorial Car Park, follow the riverbank, keeping the River Ivel on your left.
2. After the 3rd plantation (opposite Manor Farm), the route leaves the river and heads for the 'cattle arch' under the railway, via a bridge over the stream.
3. Go through the cattle arch and turn left to walk alongside the railway line.
4. Veering away from the railway, cross the ditch and follow the stream, which forms the northern boundary of the Common, eastwards, passing through a kissing gate and arriving at a bridge.
5. Turn right and follow the bridleway across the Common towards Furzenhall Farm.
6. Just before Furzenhall Farm, turn left and follow the old hedgerow eastwards and then southwards to Potton Road, utilising the kissing gate in the cross field fence.
7. Cross Potton Road with care and enter the area of the Common known as The Pastures'. The route leads you across The Pastures' and out of the Common via a kissing gate into a tree lined path.
8. Turn right along the field path and then follow the track westwards into Biggleswade.
9. On reaching the built up area of Biggleswade, turn right along the boundary of the Edward Peake Middle School playing field. Turn left at the driveway to meet Potton Road.
10. Cross Potton Road with care and follow the bridleway northwards.
11 Turn left and follow the track to Furzenhall Road, then head northwards along Furzenhall Road for 150m.
12 Turn left and head towards the railway.
13 The route now takes you back to the western side of the railway using the level crossing. Take care to follow the instructions at the crossing.
14. Turn right and follow the path around the north of Shortmead House and re-enter the Common via the kissing gate.
15 Head southwest with the boundary of the Common on your left and the old hedgerow on your right.
16. The route returns to the Dan Albone Memorial Car Park by rejoining the riverside path with which you started the walk.
Walk 2 Red - Yellow Route - (1 mile/1.6km)
Follow Red Route point 1.
1a Turning slightly to the right, leave the raised riverbank and head across the Common, heading towards the transmitter aerial on the horizon.
1b. After passing through the dry ford, head north eastwards towards the bridge.
1c Cross the bridge and follow the waymarking to your right, rejoining the Red Route at point 15.
Walk 3 Red - Orange Route - (2.5 miles/4km)
Follow Red Route points 1-2.
2a. Immediately before the 'Cattle Arch', turn right and head southwards with the plantation and railway line on your left.
2b. Pass through the kissing gate and continue due south, with the hedge on your left and stream on your right, rejoining the Red Route at point 15.
Walk 4 Red - Green Route - (4 miles/6.2km)
Follow Red Route points 1 - 5.
5a. Pass to the right of Furzenhall Farm, using the bridle gate and take the first track to the right.
5b. On reaching Furzenhall Road, turn left and follow the road towards Biggleswade, rejoining the Red Route by turning right at point 12.
Biggleswade Common, at 300 acres, is the largest area of Common Land in Bedfordshire and dates back to 1200 AD. Common land is a historical remnant of the manorial system which existed in medieval times. There are 108 Common Rights for Biggleswade Common, overseen by a representative body of Common Right Owners, The Fen Reeves of Biggleswade Common.
Biggleswade Common has been grazed by horses and cattle for hundreds of years. The River Ivel forms the western boundary of the Common with ancient ditches and hedgerows providing valuable habitats for many species of birds, insects, amphibians and small mammals.
The different habitats within the Common attract a wide variety of birds with kingfishers and heron scouring the river and ditches, lapwing and wagtails feeding on the open grassland, owls and kestrels patrolling the hedgerows and ditches for small mammals and tits and finches flitting along the hedgerows. Skylarks are often heard overhead.
The ditches are home to breeding frogs and toads in spring and dragonflies and damselflies later in the summer. The hedges on the Common are predominantly hawthorn with other plant species including bramble, white bryony and dog rose.
Horses and Cattle
The Common is a working common, grazed by horses and cattle. If either the horses or the cattle block your path, walk around rather than through them. Please keep all dogs on leads as the stock may become agitated if dogs get too close to them.
This walk has been developed by the Ivel and Ouse Countryside Project. If you encounter any problems or would like further information on this or any of our other walks please contact us at:
Ivel and Ouse Countryside Project, The Smithy, The Village, Old Warden, Biggleswade, SG18 9HQ Tel 01767 626326