Potton-Sutton Circular Walk


This is a 5.3 mile circular walk betwen Potton, Sutton and Deepdale

How To Get There By Passenger Transport

Click here for bus and train timetable information.

How To Get There By Car

Potton is situated in mid Bedfordshire, 11.5 miles east of Bedford. There is a car park in the market square - however it has a time restriction.

Start/Finish Point

The walk is described in a clockwise direction starting from the car park nearest to the market square in Potton. Grid Ref TL223491

Access and General Information

Distance: 5 miles.
Access Information:
Surface Types:
You can expect to walk across varied surfaces ranging from a hard, firm surface with stones no larger than 10mm to grass or uncultivated earth to farmland that has been cultivated.
Linear Gradient: The steepest linear gradient is between 1:6 and 1:9, these areas are often less than 100m. Other linear gradients are 1:10 - 1:13 and 1:18 or less.
Cross Falls: The steepest cross fall is 1:9, this area is on a short upward slope and is on stony ground.
Width Restriction: The second bridge you cross has barriers either end with a minimum width restriction of 380mm.
Steps: For the last half mile of the walk you will cross the road in Potton a number of times, the curb height is 100mm.
Barriers: There are two kissing gates on the walk; one with a minimum width of less than 1000mm and the other is between 1000 and 1500mm. There is also one one-step stile.
Refreshments: Potton market square has grocery stores and pubs. There is the John O'Gaunt public house in Sutton.
Public Toilets: In Potton town centre
Picnic Tables: None on route
Seats: One seat in Pegnut Wood by the first bridge


Route Description

Click here to download the map.

Point 1.
Turn left out of the main entrance to the car park along Brook End and left again to head out of Potton along Bury Hill. After crossing Potton Brook follow the public footpath on your right around the new housing estate until reaching the entrance to Pegnut Wood poplar plantation.

The Fire Station on Bury Hill occupies the site once owned by Braybrook's Tannery, dating from at least the early 1700s and renowned for the manufacture of parchment and chamois leather. Potton Brook rises near Gamlingay and flows west to Biggleswade Common and the River Ivel. Otter and water vole and kingfisher have been recorded on the brook.

Point 2
Pass through the kissing gate and follow the waymarked path diagonally to your left, through the plantation. Follow the waymarking through the hedge and turn right to head south, keeping the plantation on your right.

Pegnut Wood poplar plantation was planted between 1993 and 1995 by the Co-op Wholesale Society for producing high quality timber. Ancient maps show this area as ‘pignut wood' referring to the edible ‘earth nuts', or roots, of a locally common plant, which pigs were trained to uproot for human consumption.

Point 3
On reaching the end of the plantation, continue straight ahead towards Sutton. At the small group of oak trees, continue straight ahead across the field before bearing right alongside a garden fence to meet High Street. At the phone box, turn right to walk into Sutton along High Street.

Much of Sutton was historically owned by the Burgoyne family of Sutton Park. A local legend states that the estate was given to the Burgoynes in 1399 by John O'Gaunt, son of Edward III, with the words "I John of Gaunt do give and grant to John Burgoyne and the heirs of his loin, Sutton and Potton until the world's rotten"!

Point 4
50m past the aptly named John O'Gaunt pub, turn right, over a stile and along a public footpath which leads you through a garden, past school playing fields on your right and straight ahead across an open field.

A short detour towards the church before leaving the High Street will lead you to Sutton Ford and the attractive sandstone footbridge dating from the 13th century.

Point 5
Follow the waymarked path, with the golf course on your left and Pegnut Wood on your right. Bear left across the bridge and follow the waymarked path straight ahead through the plantation and across a second bridge. Head towards Biggleswade Road, keeping the golf course on your left.

The club house was originally the manor house, with an older manor house located on the current 17th green! John O'Gaunt's Hill on the golf course is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, thought to be a medieval motte, a minor fortification.

Point 6
At Biggleswade Road, turn right along the pavement for 25m. With care, cross the road and following the signposted public bridleway, bear right to keep the oak wood on your left. Continue along the path beneath the trees of 'Potton Belt', again keeping the golf course on your left.

Galley Hill on the Potton/ Sutton parish boundary, derives its name from 'Gallows Hill' where local criminals met their end. Local tradition says that John O'Gaunt owned the manor of Sutton, hence the name of the pub and golf course. However, it is more likely that his son Henry, Earl of Derby, owned the manor.

Point 7
Possible Shortcut. Turn right along the public bridleway (Sutton Mill Road) towards Potton, keeping the chainlink fence on your left. On reaching the mini roundabouts, turn right then immediately left to head north along Newtown to rejoin the route at point 10.

The land to the east of Sutton Mill Road was mined for coprolites (phosphatic nodules) in the late 19th century. The mining was a major source of employment in the town for 20 - 30 years. The coprolites were exported to France where they were used as fertilisers in vineyards. Sutton Mill Road led to a post-mill, built on a mound to maximise exposure to the wind.

Point 8
Turn right onto Carthegena Road, taking care of traffic around the bends. Go straight over the crossroads to head up Deepdale Lane, passing Deepdale Water Gardens on your right.

The line of the dismantled Bedford - Cambridge railway, opened in 1862 by Robert Peel, is clearly seen adjacent to the quarry site.

Point 9
As the road bends to the left, turn right along the waymarked public footpath, passing a driveway and campsite on your left. The path widens to become a track (Old Bedford Road) leading to Potton. On reaching the crossroads, turn left along Newtown.

The Sandy Heath Transmitter, directly behind you as you walk along Old Bedford Road, is a major landmark in east Bedfordshire, transmitting TV and 'phone signals. Much of the land around the transmitter, which is on the Greensand Ridge, is being quarried for sand. Restoration of the quarry site is enabling the re-creation of heathland, a nationally threatened and valuable habitat.

Point 10
Turn right along Mill Lane. Continue straight ahead onto Everton Road for 450m, turning right into Willow Road opposite Everton Road Filling Station.

Mill Lane derives its name from the windmill to the west of the town which was built in 1775. For the last years of its working life between 1927 -1932, the mill was steam powered.

Point 11
Turn left into Baker Avenue and follow the public footpath between house numbers 11 and 13. Turn right along Horslow Street and then left after 140m following Meeting Lane to King Street.

It was from a hayrick in a yard on the west side of King Street that the Great Fire of Potton started in 1783. 50 houses were destroyed at a cost of £25,000, greatly slowing the town's development.

Point 12
Cross King Street and head down Church Causeway. Immediately after crossing a footbridge, turn right along a path, keeping the stream on your right and playing fields on your left. After crossing a small concrete bridge, bear right to return to Brook End car park.

Church Causeway leads to the 13th century Church of St Mary the Virgin which was built from sandstone, excavated from an old quarry site opposite the church.


This leaflet was produced by the Ivel Countryside project which was an initiative of the Bedfordshire County Council, Mid Beds District Council and the Wildlife Trust to enhance and promote enjoyment of the countryside.