On Sunday 2nd April Chicheley Hall, owned by The Royal Society, opened its doors to Cranfield University’s students and staff .
This special visit was part of the longest countryside walk so far organised by the university’s walking society in the academic year 2016/2017. The walk was attended by 23 Cranfield students, alumni, and staff from numerous countries: China, India, Saudi Arabia, Italy, France, Cameroon, Nigeria, UK, Czech Republic, and Malaysia. It followed from a similar event five years ago when Cranfield students visited Chicheley Hall as part of The Royal Society’s Heritage Open Day.
Chicheley Hall is a stunning Grade I listed mansion surrounded by 80 acres of beautifully kept grounds. Now a wedding venue and a conference centre. Home to The Royal Society and its Kavli Royal Society International Centre that offers residential working retreat for scientists worldwide.
About the walk: Chicheley Hall lies circa 8km from Cranfield University in north-easterly direction. It provides the perfect opportunity for a lovely countryside walk between these two locations, by using a network of public footpaths. The walk to Chicheley Hall took us under 2 hours and we repeatedly crossed the local watercourse, Chicheley Brook. Having turned off left just before reaching the village of North Crawley through the fields; having passed a field with horses, we crossed Folly Lane towards Brook End; then continued until crossing the main road towards Chicheley; walking along the road on the inside hedge of a field (with the permission of a local farmer) before turning right and continuing on a track until reaching a turning on the left through the fields. Then it was an opportunity to experience a true Jane Austin moment where at one point Chicheley Hall emerges on the horizon as you walk through a small woodland not far from the final destination.
Before arrival at the beautiful grounds of Chicheley Hall and its manicured lawns, we passed primitive Hebridean sheep in the field. A guided tour of the house was arranged; we learned about the fascinating history of the house and admired its interior. Next was time for a tea/ coffee and cake, freshly prepared at the hall’s kitchen, before we headed outside to explore the gardens and visit the unique raptors’ sculptures hidden among the trees. Then it was time to head back to the university. A quick drink stop at North Crawley’s local pub energised us for the last leg of the journey across the fields back to Cranfield University‘s campus. We were back before sunset. What a fabulous day of walking it was!
Special thank you goes to Chicheley Hall staff who made our visit possible and very enjoyable: Lauren kindly made special arrangements for our visit. Charles and Maurice, our guides, shared their knowledge of the hall and its history and patiently answered our numerous questions.
Next walk to Chicheley Hall: 14 May 2017. Bookings will open soon, check this website for updates.
Photos by Ali, our Photo Editor; Hoiken & Kristina. @Cranfield University's Walks 2017.
Experience a true Jane Austin moment as you walk from Cranfield University via the quintessentially English village of North Crawley to the beautifully restored Chicheley Hall. Attend an exclusive guided tour of the house and gardens, followed by tea & cakes. A very special event not to be missed!
Chicheley Hall is a stunning Grade I listed mansion surrounded by 80 acres of beautifully kept grounds. Now a wedding venue and a conference centre.
Meet in front of the Cafe Bookshop. Depart at 12.30 hours.
Return: circa 19.00 hours. Optional stop at The Cock Inn pub on the way back. Total walk length: circa 14 km (2 hours one way) Surface: footpaths, some stiles to cross over, it may be muddy. Cost: £7 members, £10 non-members. Teas & cake at Chicheley Hall included in the price.
Limited places available. Book online here via our Eventbrite page.
Discover Milton Keynes: Join us for a lovely walk along the picturesque Caldecotte and Willen Lakes, admire the unique Peace Pagoda and a historical church. Great views all around!
Walk itinerary: Meet in front of the Main Reception Depart at 11.30am. Return: circa 17:00 hours. Total walk length: circa 10km. Stop for refreshments at Caldecotte Arms Surface mostly suitable for trainers but can be muddy and wet underfoot. Transport provided from the university and back.
Cost: £5 members, £7 members. Cost covers transport, pay for own refreshments. Limited number of places available, book by Friday evening 17th February.
Our pub walk is back! Join us for a countryside walk from Cranfield University to the quintessentially English village of North Crawley via Folly Lane. Enjoy a lunch at a local pub before heading back to the university via a footpath across the fields.
Meet in front of Cafe Bookshop
Depart at 11.30am. Return back circa 16:00 hours
Total walk length: circa 7km (4.3 miles)
Surface: tarmac (Folly Lane), grass & field (footpath, return journey). Please bring a waterproof jacket in case it rains. It is likely to be wet and muddy underfoot on the footpaths.
Advance bookings are necessary for the pub lunch. Pay for your lunch at the pub. View menu here.
Teas and coffee included in the price of the walk.
Book your place online here.
The Cock Inn at North Crawley is a friendly pub run by Jackie and Gary Magee. Visit the pub’s website here
Did you know? In the Domesday Book of 1086 the village was referred to as “Crauelai”. Learn more on the site of the North Crawley Historical Society.
Photos from our last pub lunch walk:
Join us for a pleasant walk from Cranfield University, via Cranfield village and the wooded Marston Trift, to the Forest Centre & Millennium Country Park, with a view over the Stewartby Lake, where we will stop for a lunch at the cafe (bring your own lunch or purchase at the cafe). This will be followed by a walk to the ancient St Mary’s Church at Marston Moreteyne where we will get a tour of this historical church. Transport back to the university included.
Meet in front of the Cafe Bookshop. Depart at 10.30am.
Those joining us at Cranfield village, meet us at 11.30 am in front of The Swan pub.
Return: circa 16.30 hours Total walk length: circa 10 km (6.5miles) Surface: mainly tarmac or gravel path but it may be muddy. Cost: £6 members, £8 non-members. Stop for lunch: at Lakeside cafe
Weather forecast:unsettled.Please bring a waterproof jacket in case it rains.
Walking society members, help us put together a great plan of walks and other activities for the new year 2017!
The walking society organised 9 local walks for the new students at Cranfield University between the months of October and December 2016. You can read about some of these events here. These walks followed the footpath and cycle path to Cranfield village; showed us the way across the fields to a local farm shop and along a country lane to a local pub in the quintessential village of North Crawley; led us to visit a nearby historical market town of Olney and the medieval hunting ground of Salcey Forest; and explore the geology of the highest point of East of England and Bedfordshire’s best secrets.
Where could our walks take us in the new year 2017? This is an opportunity for our walking society’s members to have their say and get actively involved in planning our next walks.
If you are not a member yet, this is an opportunity for you to meet our friendly bunch and join our society.
Looking forward to seeing you!
If you cannot attend this meeting in person and would like to contribute with ideas for upcoming activities, you may email us at email@example.com
Andrew and Kristina
To our members and past and present students and staff at Cranfield University
May the peace and beauty of this special season remain with you throughout the new coming year; and its light guides you to the right path.