Pertenhall Paths


This leaflet describes two walks, each 2.5 miles, around the ancient village of Pertenhall.

Please note:

In Walk 2, Footpath 15 has been diverted at Wood Hall Lane - please make sure that you keep to the new path as shown on this map.


How To Get There By Passenger Transport

Click here for bus and train timetable information.


How To Get There By Car


Pertenhall is approximately 12 miles north of Bedford. The Kimbolton Road, B660 takes you straight from Bedford to Pertenhall.

 Start/Finish Point

The starting point for both walks is the Village Hall which is located on the road to Swineshead about 200 yards from the B660.

Access and General Information

Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: between 1 and 1.5 hours
Access Information:
Surface Types: You will walk across surface types ranging from hard and firm with no stones greater than 5mm in size, to hard and firm with some loose stones, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with no ruts, to farmland.
Linear Gradient: There is a gradient of 1:12 where FP12 turns west at the Brook.
Cross Falls: None recorded.
Width Restrictions: None recorded.
Steps: There are steps with a height of 250mm when you leave the road at the start of the walk (as you join FP 12), and there is drop down from an earth bank at the sleeper bridge over the Brook.
Barriers: There is a barrier at the bridge over the brook just after Point 5 on the map, and a kissing gate with a width of 600mm where you rejoin the road at the end of FP 7. There is one stile.
Refreshments: None recorded.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Seats: None recorded.

Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: between 1 and 1.5 hours
Access Information:
Surface Types: You will walk across surface types ranging from hard and firm with no stones greater than 5mm in size, to hard and firm with some loose stones, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with no ruts, to farmland.
Linear Gradient: There is a linear gradient of 1:18 on FP 14 as you leave the village, and one of 1:12 between Points 4 and 5 on the map.
Cross Falls: None recorded.
Width Restrictions: There is a width restriction of 300mm between posts as you join Wood End Lane at the end of FP 16.
Steps: None recorded.
Barriers: There is a kissing gate with a width restriction of 600mm as FP 7 joins the road through the village.
Refreshments: None recorded.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Seats: None recorded.

Walk 1 - South of the brook
Starting at the Village Hall walk west along the road past Chadwell End. After about l/4 mile, turn left at the way marker to follow FP 12 across the field to the Brook. Don't cross the Brook, but turn right on FP 2 to walk west along the Brook and past a small wood. Leave FP 2 here and instead cross the Brook on the sleeper bridge to join FP 29. Follow the path and then the track, bearing left at the 'T’ junction by Rosemary Cottage 1. and then left onto the metalled road (remember to walk on the right, facing oncoming traffic). Turn left down the lane 2. which takes you past Hall Farm (note the pretty cottage 3. up the lane to your right) and continue nearly to the bridge over the Brook. 4.Cross over the stile on the right to join FP 8, which takes you along the edge of a field. Cross the first stile on your left, and head diagonally across the field to the Church 5.on your right. Pass through the gap in the fence. Then turn left onto FP30, walking through the churchyard, down to the bridge over the Brook, then (with the hedge on your left) following FP 7 to the kissing gate. Pass through the gate to find the Village Hall on your right.

Walk 2 - North of the brook
Again, start at the Village Hall. Walk west along the road a little way and then turn right into the field along FP3. Keep to the left hand side of the field, next to the ditch. Follow FP15 to Wood End Lane. Then turn left and walk a short way down the lane. At the end of the lane, with Willow Cottage 1. on your left, turn right and go up the hill on FP14. Pightle Cottage on the right, walk with the ditch on your right (watch for bluebells along the ditch in April), Bear left past the oak tree and then right, keeping the ditch on the right 2.

Look back and admire the view of Keysoe Church on the horizon. At the corner of Mountwood Spinney turn right over the stile and keep right, with the fence on your right. 3. Watch for Kimbolton Castle on the left, and for Wych Elm Spinney. Over the stile onto the road, then turn right along the road for a short distance. Here you may choose to return to the Village Hall along the road, or on FP 15, or you may continue the longer walk by crossing the road and then turning left onto BW25, before the Wood End House Lodge 4. Admire the view to the left, over the valley toward Stonely; you may even see Grafham Water on a very clear day.

The last house was once the Moravian Manse.

At fork bear right - at marker post follow the bridleway down the steep slope to the right (can be muddy !) 5. 6. View of Pertenhall Church and village - one of the highest points in Pertenhall. Continue downhill on the bridleway. Turn right along the road and immediately left onto FP4. Turn right at the footpath sign to follow the path through the hedge.

Admire the little thatched Rectory Lodge 7.
Over the bridge, across the road and into the meadow - follow the brook, keeping it on your left - admire the view - then turn right at the bridge and along FP7, through the kissing gate to the Village Hall.

Parish Paths and Pertenhall
Parish Paths and byways record the ways that people have lived in and moved across the landscape, often for many centuries. Walking them not only provides exercise and pleasure (even if it's a hot shower and soup after a cold, wet day!) but links us directly with those who walked them in the past and will do so in the future.

Pertenhall is an ancient place; it is mentioned (as Partenhale) in the Domesday Book of 1086, but the Saxons who settled here 500-odd years before that named the place as Pearta's halh meaning 'Pearta's nook of land', nook being a shallow hollow or valley, or perhaps a piece of land held in a river-bend in the way that the Church and the Old Rectory lie in the curve of Pertenhall Brook. Other place names in the Parish also have Old English origins: Pertenhall Hoo Farm lies on a Saxon hoh, a heel or sharply projecting spur of higher ground, while Chadwell End which was recorded as Chawdwell brak (from braec or newly cleared land) in 1607, is probably derived from ceald-wielle meaning ‘cold spring’. Water from the spring itself (like many others) was once thought to have healing qualities, particularly for the eyes.

Other, more recent, place names also record past landscapes; Wood End is a reminder of the forests which survived longest on the heavy clays and higher ground in the north of the parish and beyond, while Green End suggests the village green or common was nearby.

In medieval times a court was held in one of the fields in Pertenhall (complaints about agricultural over-taxation were recorded here in 1340). Names such as 'Gallows Field' and 'Galley Oak' spinney along the track which was once the main road south to Riseley are a reminder of the gallows which awaited those found guilty of serious crimes.

Landmarks & Local History
St. Peter's Church was recorded as dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul in 1506. Built c.1190, the north arcade is the oldest structure, with the rounded piers and remains of dogtooth decoration on one arch which are characteristic of Norman architecture.

East of the Church, the Old Rectory was built in the 16th or early 17th century by Bishop Fox. In 1657 Pertenhall's John Donne (not the Dean of St. Paul's) was arrested for his work in drafting the 'Humble and Serious Testimony' which may have helped persuade Cromwell not to take the crown. After the Restoration John Donne was ejected from the living at Pertenhall; he preached instead in the woods towards Keysoe for which he was arrested and held in the Bedford County Gaol. Here he might well have heard the words of John Bunyan who was also imprisoned at that time.

The Old Rectory was refronted in 1799 (by John Martyn, first of the three generations of Martyns associated with the Rectory). John Martyn F.R.S. (1699-1768) was Professor of Botany at Cambridge, Fellow of the Royal Society, and a friend of Carl von Linnaeus who first published the principles of biological classification. In turn his son Thomas Martyn (also Professor of Botany at Cambridge) became Rector of Pertenhall in 1804, bringing his son John King Martyn as curate. John King Martyn became a convert to more evangelical doctrines, and began Sunday evening lectures in a local cottage to a group which eventually became the Pertenhall Society. In 1823 he fell out with the established Anglican Church and left to join the Moravians.

In 1827 Martyn built a Moravian Chapel for Society members in Pertenhall, in what is now Chapel Yard opposite Wood End House, his house on the road to Kimbolton. This Chapel stood until 1976; the old schoolroom and burial ground still remain. The Moravians observed strict segregation of single men and women both in life and after death, marked by the arrangement of the flat memorial stones, women to the left, men to the right.

Geology and Wildlife
Pertenhall lies in the shallow valley carved into the Oxford Clay by Pertenhall Brook. The waterworn shells of the oyster-like Gryphaea (also known as the ‘Devil’s toenail) are often found in ploughed fields and streambeds, a reminder that we are walking on what was the ocean floor during the Jurassic.

Today the quiet woods and fields of Pertenhall provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife which is often unseen by those who walk during the day. Watch for animal tracks on muddy footpaths… those of fox are similar to (but narrower than) those of a dog. Deer tracks are likely to be either Fallow deer or Muntjac, neither of which are native to Britain. Fallow were brought here from the Mediterranean by the Normans, who also introduced the rabbit from the same area. The small, shy Muntjac are the descendants of escapees from game parks earlier this century. Birds such as finches, tits, blackbirds and other thrushes are active during the day, but listen at night for the tu-whit…tu-whit…tu-whooooo call of the tawny owl. Any light left on at night which attracts moths may also attract bats such as Pipistrelles which feed on them.

A Country Code
Because the countryside is a place to be enjoyed by all, please:protect the wildlife which lives hererespect the quiet of the countrysidetake your litter home

Because the countryside is a place of work, please keep to paths,use gates and stiles to cross fences,keep dogs under control.

Route Description

Click here to download the map.


This leaflet has been prepared by the Pertenhall Group members of the Parish Paths Partnership in conjunction with Officers in the Environmental Services section of Bedfordshire County Council, and is published with grant aid from the Countryside Commission.