The 7 mile Sandy-Blunham Circular Walk is defined by signposts and waymarker posts. Using the map and directions in this leaflet in conjunction with the waymarking will enable you to follow the route with ease, in a clockwise direction.
Sandy is situated on the A1 between Biggleswade and St Neots, and on the A603 from Bedford. Sandy Town Centre car park is off the High Street opposite the church. There is a car park at Sandy Railway station also.
The car park in Sandy Town Centre. Grid Ref TL163492
Distance: 7 Miles
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: The steepest linear gradient is between 1:6-1:9, particularly between points 9 and 10 on the map.
Cross Falls: The steepest are 1:9 or steeper, again between points 9 and 10.
Width Restriction: There is no restriction less than 1000mm.
Steps: The maximum step height is 300mm at The Pinnacle (point 10), and at point 5, there is a 100mm step off of the bridge.
Barriers: There are 11 kissing gates with a restriction of less than 1000mm, one kissing gate with a restriction of between 1000-1500mm, three one-way opening gates with a width of greater than 750mm and three staggered barriers with a minimum restriction of less than 950mm. At The Riddy (point 3), the path crosses a pipe with a height of 100mm.
Refreshments: There are pubs and shops at Sandy and Blunham and Sandy also has a café.
Public Toilets: These are located at Sandy.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Seats: There are seats located at The Pinnacle (point 10) and close to Girtford Bridge at point 3.
Point 1. Turn left out of Sandy Town Centre Car Park into High Street. Cross the road and turn right into Ivel Road. Follow Ivel Road until reaching the bridleway. Take the bridleway and cross the bridge over the River Ivel. Follow the path to the weir and at the junction of paths turn left.
Point 2. Cross the bridge and turn right into The Riddy local nature reserve. Bear left as you enter through the kissing gate and then right to follow the streamside path to the timber bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right towards the A1 road bridge. Follow the riverside path under this bridge and continue along the riverside path and then bear left through a kissing gate and across a timber footbridge.
Point 3. Turn right on to the pavement following it over Girtford Bridge and cross the road after the crash barrier. This is a very busy road so please cross carefully. Take the tarmac path down to your left and through the kissing gate. Follow the riverside path northwards.
Point 4. When you reach the lakes on your right cross the bridge over the river. Turn right and follow the riverside path alongside the Abbey Corrugated factory at South Mills to the tarmac road. Follow the road from the factory entrance and, just before the cottages at the bend in the road, turn right to pass South Mills Conservation Area and then under the dismantled railway line. Continue northwards through grazing meadows and on reaching a tarmac path turn right and follow it to the river.
Point 5. Cross the bridge and continue ahead on this path until you reach a roundabout. Cross with care under the A I, using the pavement on the right. Turn immediately right, then left into Cottage Road.
Point 6. As the road veers to the right, take the bridleway which continues straight on. Follow the bridleway, past Sandy Upper School on your right, until you reach Sunderland Road.
Point 7. Cross the road carefully and turn right, then take the bridleway on the left after the factory. Go under the railway bridge and turn immediately right to follow the path beside the railway.
Point 8. At the junction of paths turn left and follow the track to Lowfield Farm (9). For a short- cut back to the town centre and car park (1) continue straight on, over the railway bridge and turn left into Brickhill Road. Turn right into Cambridge Road and upon reaching the Market Square turn left into the car park.
Point 9. Follow the path to the right. At the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow the bridleway beside the hedge (can be muddy in winter). Continue south on the bridleway, through two gates, then up the hill through meadowland to Sand Lane. Turn right and follow this road until reaching the footpath on your left.
Point 10. Go through the barrier and turn right to follow the path to the top of The Pinnacle. Follow the steps down to the left and continue over the railway bridge. Follow the path into Stonecroft, turn right and then left into St. Swithun's Way. Turn right into High Street to return to the car park (1).
The Ivel Valley
The Ivel valley stretches from north to south in front of you. The meltwaters of glacial times brought deposits of gravel and sand which are now extracted for use in the construction industry. The valley has rich soils which support an intensive farming and market gardening industry.
St Swithun's Church, Sandy
Constructed of local sandstone and built in the 14th century on the site of an earlier church. The church was restored and enlarged from I 858-60 by the architect William Habershon and contains many interesting carvings.
St. Edmund's Church is constructed from sandstone and dates back to the 11th century. It was enlarged and restored in 1862 by designers Rattee and Kett of Cambridge and now very little of the original structure can be seen.
South Mills, Blunham
A Domesday mill site. In the 19th century the mill was used to crush seed to produce oil and oilcakes, until it burned down in 1873. Later a factory on the site produced fertilisers from bones and animal waste. The current factory was built by Abbey Corrugated for its production of cardboard packaging materials.
St. John's Church was built in 1860 as a memorial to Reverend Edward Dawkins of Moggerhanger House, who died in 1859. Designed by William Slater, it is Norman in style and constructed from stone, including local material from Kempston and Silsoe, and oak for the roof from Moggerhanger Park.
Ravensden Water Tower
Probably the furthest that you can see from this point. Built in 1953 and still in use today, the tower regulates water pressure, enabling the distribution of water around the area.
Sandye Place is a Georgian manor built on the remains of a medieval stone house. The parklands of the manor house were home to the famous Sandy Show, the largest one-day show in the region. Sandye Place in now a school.
The Pinnacle, an outcrop on the Greensand Ridge which, at the height of 300 feet above sea level, offers great views over the Ivel valley. The Greensand Ridge was formed about 125 million years ago, from sands deposited in a shallow sea. Over time parts have hardened to form sandstone. This would have been a continuous ridge, but over millions of years, the River Ivel has carved a broad valley through it.
This leaflet was produced by the Ivel Countryside project.