The Greensand Ridge Walk is Bedfordshire's premier long distance walk. The route spans the county for a total of 40 miles, following the greensand ridge. The walk is an ideal introduction to the history, landscape and wildlife of this part of the county. Section 4, with stunning views from the ridge, passes Old Warden Tunnel Nature Reserve, the attractive village of Northill with its 14th century church, and ends in Sandy.
Haynes is on the A600, about 8 miles south east of Bedford. There is limited off road parking in Haynes.
The walk begins at Deadman's Cross, on the A600 close to the village of Haynes and ends on the High Street in Sandy.
Length: 7½ miles (11 km)
Surface Types: You will walk across surface types ranging from hard and firm with no stones larger than 5mm, to hard and firm with some loose stones, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with and without ruts and mud.
Linear Gradient: As the route passes through Highlands Farm, there is a linear gradient of 1:10-1:13, and short sections of 1:6-1:9.
Cross Falls: There are no cross falls steeper than 1:16 except over very short distances and on the two slopes near to Highlands Farm which has cross falls of 1:9-1:16.
Width Restriction: There is a bridge at Beeston Fields which has a width restriction of 870mm.
Steps: There are steps at the bridge over the A1 at Beeston (51 in total), with a maximum step height of 120mm.
Barriers: There is a ‘squeezer' stile with a minimum of width of 260mm at the top reducing to 160mm at the bottom with a 330mm stepover at each end of a narrow bridge (1050mm wide) between Thorncote Road, Northill and Bedford Road. There are 6 kissing gates with a restriction of less than 1000mm and one two-step stile.
Refreshments: Haynes has several pubs (The Greyhound and The Red Lion (also a restaurant)). There is one pub in Northill, The Crown. Sandy town centre has a range of shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Seats: There are 3 seats in Northill Churchyard, 3 on the village green in Northill, 2 at Beeston Green and 1 at the junction of Ivel Road and High Street, Sandy.
1 With care cross the A600, turn left and follow the road verge for 40m to a permissive path on your right. The path through Warden Great and Warden Little Woods is permitted through an agreement between the landowner (Southill Estate) and the County Council. The route cannot be used between 1st November and 1st March. During this period minor roads to the south and east must be used (see map).
2 At the road, cross straight ahead to Old Warden railway tunnel. Continue on the waymarked track that becomes a grassed headland before joining the lane immediately north of Sweetbrier Farm. Turn left and follow the yew hedged lane before taking the second footpath on the right.
3 Follow the grass track which leads down the slope to a kissing gate in a tree belt. Continue through the horse paddocks, past Highlands Farm and a small belt of trees; then follow the headland to Home Wood. Follow the waymarked woodland rides to a kissing gate. Leave the wood and pass between horse paddocks to a staggered barrier and continue along the track to Bedford Road. Turn right and follow the road into Northill with its I 4th century church on your right.
4 Turn left and follow Thorncote Road for 440m then take the track on your right after passing the thatched cottages on your left. Follow the waymarked track, across Bedford Road and continue through an avenue of trees and between arable fields onto Beeston Green.
5 Turn left and follow the road for 160m to The Crescent on your right. Go through an alleyway, use the footbridge to cross the A1 and head north along the pavement. Turn right into The Baulk that narrows from a road between houses into a hedged path that crosses the River Ivel, At this point, the route crosses the 'Kingfisher Way', a walk along the River Ivel.
6 Turn right at the weir and follow the surfaced path, crossing the river again after 500m and leading into Ivel Road. Continue ahead to the High Street, Sandy.