The Pinchmill Island Walk Sharnbrook

The Pinchmill Island Walk Sharnbrook

This is a slightly undulating walk with pleasant views of Sharnbrook and the surrounding countryside. Stout footwear is needed in wet conditions.
Flood Warning - If the river is high, the route will be impassable at the Islands.

How To Get There By Passenger Transport

BY BUS – Telephone Bedfordshire Bus Information Line : 01234 228337, 8.30am – 5pm open 5 days a week or Travel Line 0870 6082608.
BY TRAIN – For timetable information, please telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950.
Click here for the National Rail Enquiries website

How To Get There By Car

Sharnbrook is 9 miles north of Bedford off the A6, and 6 miles south of Rushden.
Parking is available at the A6 end of the lay-by in Mill Road above Crossways Farm, or in the Fordham Arms car park.

Start/Finish Point

The suggested starting point for this walk is at the entrance to the Mill Theatre.

Access and General Information

Length: 3½ miles (5.6 km)
Time: 2½ hours

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 hard but variable surfaces with loose stones, to grass or uncultivated earth paths, to farmland that has been cultivated.
Linear Gradient: The steepest linear gradient is between 1:6 and 1:9 by the Mill Theatre and between points H and I.
Cross Falls: None recorded.
Width Restriction: There is a barrier 470mm high near to Brook Farm. There is a minimum width restriction of 900mm on the bridge at G, and one of 850mm on the bridge at K.
Steps: There are 30 steps on the Pinchmill Island bridges, with a maximum step height of 250mm. There is also a step of 200mm between H & I.
Barriers: There are three kissing gates with a restriction of less than 1000mm, five 1-way opening gates with a width greater than 750mm and seven 2-step stiles.
Refreshments: There are pubs and shops in Sharnbrook and Radwell.
Public Toilets: None on route.
Picnic Tables: None on route.
Seats: None on route.

Route Description

A Start at the entrance to the Mill Theatre and walk south along the public bridleway. On your left is the Mill which was purchased in 1974 by the Sharnbrook Amateur Theatre Trust. After much hard work by volunteers this has been turned into a local theatre where the standard of production is always extremely high.

B Cross the bridge. There are splendid views towards Milton Ernest over the gravel pit lakes. These are havens for swans. On the right is the viaduct. The railway lines divide - the lower line for goods trains goes through the tunnel, the passenger trains go over the top of Sharnbrook Summit.

C Go through the gate into the old gravel workings. On the horizon is the DRA Tunnel site, famous for the development of the Harrier Jump Jet and the supersonic Concorde aircraft.

D Follow the track over the railway bridge. The views to the left and right are outstanding.

E Follow the road left. A short way down, take the track to the right. Cross the road and continue along until you come to a kissing gate on the left, before the closed gate ahead. Go through the kissing gate and follow the field edge all the way to the bottom of the field. From here there are views of Felmersham church and Sharnbrook church.

F Go through the kissing gate in the hedge at the bottom and pass over two bridges. This field is part of the Countryside Access Scheme where land is provided by local landowners for use by the public.

G At the right hand corner of the field go over two stiles. Cross the road. There is a public footpath sign on the right. Two stiles lead into a field. Keep to the left edge. Pass through two gates keeping the caravan site on your left. At the next stile there is a notice board of the Pinchmill Island site.

H Walk over the five bridges which cross the River Ouse, then through a kissing gate.

I Follow the river to the bridge, turn left to climb the stile and bridge and and turn right along the bridleway. On the left is Felmersham Nature Reserve. You are allowed to wander around the reserve but dogs must be kept on leads.

J Cross the field by the diagonal path. At the end go through the gate. Here also dogs must be kept on leads. Walk straight along the field edge.

K After the gate, turn left for Sharnbrook village. To continue your walk turn right and follow the road up Kennel Hill, crossing the Sharn Brook. Bear right and walk along Mill Road to the start of the walk.


This leaflet has been written by Sharnbrook Parish Council P3 Group supported by Bedfordshire County Council and funded through the Parish Paths Partnership. Thanks are extended to Col. King Harman of Ouse Manor for the inclusion of Pinchmill Islands on the rights of way network and Bedfordia Farms for providing land in the Countryside Access Scheme.