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 1, from Leighton Buzzard to Woburn, takes you through a variety of landscapes, from the calm of the Grand Union Canal, through historic Stockgrove Country Park, and finishes in the beautiful Georgian town of Woburn.
Leighton Buzzard lies to the north of the A505, about 8 miles to the west of Dunstable. There is parking off of Leighton Road or at the train station.
The route starts from the road bridge on Leighton Road in Leighton Buzzard and ends in the centre of Woburn, at the fire station on George Street.
Length: 8.5 miles (13 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, variable sized stones, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with and without ruts and mud, to farmland.
Linear Gradient: The steepest linear gradient is steeper than 1:6 between points 3 and 4 on the map There are also gradients of greater than 1:6 before you enter Oak Wood, between points 4 and 5 on the map. Elsewhere, there are gradients of between 1:6-1:9, 1:10-1:13 and between 1:14-1:17 along the route.
Cross Falls: The steepest are 1:9 or steeper between points 3 and 4 on the map and between points 4 and 5.
Width Restriction: The minimum width restriction of 770mm, on the sleeper bridge between the A5 and Sheep Lane (between points 6 and 7 on the map).
Steps: The longest flight of steps is at the A5 (Watling Street). There are 15 steps down to the road and 12 steps up from the road with a maximum height of 300mm. There are 7 steps at the bridge over the Ouzel (point 3), with a maximum height of 350mm, 6 steps at the first boardwalk (point 3) with a maximum height of 280mm, and 4 steps at the second boardwalk (point 3), with a maximum height of 210mm.
Barriers: There are 8 kissing gates with a restriction of less than 1000mm. There are two particularly narrow kissing gates with a restriction of between 420mm and 550mm, located where the path skirts Rammamere Farm (between points 5 and 6). There are also 2 two-step stiles, one one-step stile, 1 2-way opening gate with a width of greater than 750mm and one 1-way opening gate with a width of greater than 750mm.
Refreshments: Leighton Buzzard town centre (about 450m from the start of the walk), has a full range of pubs, shops, cafés, etc. Stockgrove Country Park (about 800m from the route), has a café. In Woburn, there are shops, pubs and cafés.
Public Toilets: These are located at Stockgrove Country Park.
Picnic Tables: Located at Stockgrove Country Park.
Seats: There are seats at the canal bridge in Linslade, at Leighton lock and as you leave Oak Wood.
1 Begin at the road bridge on Leighton Road which crosses the canal. Walk northwards along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal to The Globe Public House.
2 Pass the pub and turn right through a kissing gate into a large meadow. Immediately turn left, heading down the bank and onto the boardwalks. At the end of the boardwalks turn sharp right and walk across the field to the edge of the river. At this point head for the bridge that crosses over the river.
3 Cross the bridge and head straight across the field to a track. Turn left, through the kissing gate and left again to join a large, sandy track known as Firs Path. Keep following this path with the wood on your right and river on your left until you emerge into a large meadow. Continue to follow the path up the hill and through the wood to the crossroads.
4 Turn left along Bragenham Lane for 50m and turn right onto the footpath. Follow the waymarked path to Oak Wood.
Oak Wood is part of Stockgrove Country Park. To visit the Park, follow the signposted path which is off the bridleway.
Pass the pond and over the bridge. Continue on the main path until you reach a T- junction. Turn right up the hill, through the conifers and past the cottages and clock tower. This brings you out onto Brickhill Road.
5 Turn right and after 200m turn left through the layby and down a narrow path. Follow the bridleway around the edge of Rammamere Heath. On leaving the heath, head towards Rammamere farm. Go through the gate and into open fields. Cross one field but do not go through the gate. Instead turn right and follow the fence line. Follow the waymarked path until you get to the corner of the field by a wood. At this point turn left over a stile and footbridge and into another field. King's Wood National Nature Reserve is on the right hand side.
6 Cross the road with care and follow the cross-field footpaths until you reach Sheep Lane. At the road turn left and after 150m turn left again through a gate and along a grass ride.
7 Enter the wood following the bridleway known as Nun's Lane to a junction with a large sandstone marker. Turn right and follow the path to the road, passing Job's Farm.
8 At the road turn left and continue along the pavement for 400m. At Maryland College there is a fingerpost on the opposite side of the road. Cross the road with care and follow the waymarked path across a field and then along the fence line. From this path, take the first left to go into Woburn, or the second left to follow to Greensand Ridge Walk to the fire station on George Street.