Forest of Marston Vale

6 great walks we had this October!

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The student society Cranfield University’s Walks had a busy month. Following our attendance at CSA student societies and clubs fair on 1st and 4th October, 6 local walks were organised for students and staff. The aim of these events was to show that Cranfield University and its surrounding areas are located in the midst of beautiful countryside that is ideal for walking.

A quick glance at the walks we’ve done in October:

featured-imageSunday 2nd October, a circular walk to Cranfield village: Fantastic turnout for our 1st walk! More than 40 students and staff  set off from Cranfield University and continued on the cycle path to Cranfield village. The cycle path had been only recently completed; it appears to loosely connect to the national 51 cycle route that goes from Cranfield village to Marston Moretaine and Bedford.

Our 1st walk, 1st group picture!

In Cranfield village students were shown the site of the St Peter & St Paul’s church, Swan pub, and Budgens and Co-op supermarkets .  Our group admired the views towards the Forest of Marston Vale, a community forest stretching behind the village high street towards Marston Moretaine. Return journey was led via the public footpath that circumnavigates Cranfield airport.

Saturday 7th October – A walk & shop trip: Discovering Bedfordshire’s best kept secrets! Following a short drive, 7 of us set off from the village of Great Barford, known for its beautiful medieval bridge. The walk continued along the River Great Ouse to Danish Camp and with a stop at the historical Willington Dovecote and Stables. Final stop was at Go Outdoors store on the outskirts of Bedford, a  perfect place to unwind for some shopping – new walking boots, base layers, hiking socks and more!

Sunday 8th October, special interest walk – geology of Dunstable Downs: A minibus took our group of 13 about 30km south of Cranfield University, to visit  the highest point of East of England. After a lunch at The Chiltern Gateway Centre run by National Trust, we met with our guide who teaches geology at Birbeck College, University of London. This was a circular walk, circa 10km in length. It included a stop at  at the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. We learned about the fascinating history of the area going back millions of year –  think of dry valleys, shallow seas and lots of chalk!

Saturday 15th and 22nd of October, a walk to Lodge Farm and Farm Shop: There was a group of 25 and 8 of us respectively on these short walks from Cranfield University across the fields to the quintessentially English village of North Crawley and then to Raw Milk Dairy and Farm Shop run by Angela and Gary Adderson on the outskirts of the village. Homemade cakes, bread, fresh raw milk and cream awaited us. We enjoyed complimentary teas and coffees whilst sitting in Angela’s garden and even got a tour of the dairy and learned about milking cows.

Tuesday 25th October, a special evening walk in the dark: 31 of us headed in the dark from Cranfield University via the footpath that circumnavigates the airfield to Cranfield village and beyond, via Marston Thrift to the village of Marston Moretaine. On the way students learned local ghost stories. Huge thank you goes to The Bell pub at Marston Moretaine for accommodating our large group for refreshments. Special spooky-themed cakes were made for us by Angela from Raw Milk Dairy and Farm Shop at Lodge Farm.

Our October walks were attended by staff and MSc and PhD students from across different schools. European countries were well-represented; we also had students from Australia, USA, Guatemala, Mexico, Cameroon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Malaysia, China, and India.

More walks are planned before Christmas. Would you like to get involved helping Andrew and Kristina organise future events for students and staff at Cranfield University? There are volunteer positions available to join our award-winning team, visit our Committee page to learn more. Or do you have a car and would you be willing to be one of our volunteer drivers and thus help us cut out transport costs? We like to hear from you,  get in touchFinally..

Congratulations! Our 1st star walker is HoiKen, an MSc student from Malaysia, who attended

 all of our six walks in the month of October!start-walker

Marston Moretaine forest – Spooky Walk (Thu. 31/10/13)

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Join the Halloween walk!!
Britain is a place rich in folklore, myths and legends of great variety originating from its many historical periods; from the ghosts of Roman soldiers near York to the spectres of Spitfire pilots at some of our airfields. Cranfield and its surrounding villages all have a long history and their own local legends and sites of paranormal activity.
Halloween is an ancient tradition dating back thousands of years although its exact origins are disputed. Although different cultures practiced this tradition in different ways, it has always been associated with the supernatural; a time when the barriers between this world and the next become thin.
Misty Graveyard, Halloween
This Halloween, we will guide you to some of the local areas where ghosts have been spotted and talk about the local legends associated with them. We will also encourage our members to tell the ghost stories from their home countries.
The walk will start in Cranfield at 7:00 PM and finish in Marston Moretaine (roughly 4 miles away) where back in the CSA in Cranfield University there will be drinks, and cake provided. We should leave the pub around 10 ish. There will be a cost of £5 for members and £8 for non-members to cover the transport and food.
Activity date:
 Thursday 31st  of October 2013
Meeting point:
 The Café Bookshop (Cranfield University)
Departing time from Cranfield:
Arriving time to Cranfield (approx):
Walk length:
 6 Km (approx)
Club members only?:
Sign up at: with “SPOOKY WALK” in title
Sign-up deadline:
Tuesday 29th (this is absolute as we need to order transport, cakes and book tables in the pub)
 £5 for members £8 for non-members. Have with you the exact amount of money the day of the walk.
Meal provided?:
 Cake and warm drinks at the Bell pub in Marsten Moretaine the CSA in Cranfield University
 Check the weather forecast beforehand, warm clothing is advised
Other information:
 Walk involves areas of recorded paranormal activity!

Sunday 2 December – Earth sends S.O.S.: Help, plant trees!

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The world is in peril. And Gaya, the Spirit of the Earth, can no longer stand the terrible destruction plaguing our planet. And she now asks us, to give her a helping hand. — A call for the planeteers to give a helping hand, to heal the world!

Cranfield University Student Association and Walking society Presents

Heal the world – take part in tree planting @ Forest of  Marston Vale 

Cranfield University students planting trees last year

The CSA and the walking society ‘Cranfield University’s Walks‘  have joined hands to promote a good cause. A public tree planting event in Forest of Marston Vale.

Tea/coffee/biscuits/tools/toilets etc are provided for all participants. Now all we need is YOU.

Plantation Timings:  11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Date: 2nd December

NOTE: We would require you to register at the CSA office 1st floor, by Thursday evening, so that we get an estimate of the number of people for whom transport has to be arranged.

COST: 3 pounds (a meager sum for a much better Earth) and this includes the refreshments as well as transport.

It’s your chance to make a difference!

click here for more details

Walk on Saturday 17 November: exploring Cranfield Part II

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Walk itinerary:       
Meet in front of Cafe Bookshop,                                                                                                 Depart at 12.30 am                                                                                                                           1.15 pm – meeting Paul, our guide, at Cranfield village;  by the gate  where the footpath from Cranfield University leads into the road  (click on the hyperlink to see the point as an arrow on this map).                                                                                                                            For those who live in Cranfield village, you can join us there at 1:00 pm.                                   Total walk length: circa 6 miles

Return: circa 16.30 hours                                                                                                           Bring with you a packed lunch and a drink (optional stop at Co-op supermarket)             Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing for a walk on country footpaths. Also, a some clouds and drizzle is predicted, please come prepared.

There is no cost associated with attending this walk.                                                               

Have a look at this website on the day of the walk to see if there’s an update.

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On Saturday 17 Novemner we are going to do a walk led by Paul from Cranfield village.  We met Paul during the last guided walk Exploring Cranfield Village Part 1. We did a 16 km walk last time where we had an amazing walk in and around Cranfield. Now, to continue on this wonderful exploration, we are having a follow up walk.

Paul is an experienced rambler from Cranfield Village. And he has kindly agreed to lead the follow up walk as well, to explore a few more areas near by. So here it is; we are going to do a walk with Paul this coming Saturday. But first, Kirstina Sodomkova (the pillar of our walking group)  asked Paul couple of questions:

Paul, could you tell us more about the planned walk on 17 November?
 We will be leaving Cranfield a south westerly direction going across fields to a little used church that can only be reached on foot paths, taking in the splendid views and the Autumn colours, then having a short  break. Returning through the woods partly on the John Bunyan Trail. And back to Cranfield
Tell us something about yourself.
 I was brought up in London and started rambling in my early teens, with school friends, catching the train on Friday evening out into the countryside, then walk to a youth hostel. Next day, after we done the chores, on to another for the night, then back home on Sunday in time for tea (or so we promised).  I have lived in Cranfield for some 22 years now.
What is your favourite walk?
 In England there’s many pleasant walks taking the views, going somewhere of particular interest or just want to get out.  But my favourites are the expeditions with my son and grandson.
What advice would you give to our walkers or what useful information could you share with us?
 Get an ordnance survey map of the area you’re in or going to, 1:25000 scale Explorer map –  the one with orange on its cover ( there is a problem for Cranfield as it’s on the corner of four maps)
This link gives some independent help in choosing walking boots:  Sometimes TK Max, a shop In the Centre Milton Keynes, has reasonable quality walking boots at discounted prices.
Thank you, Paul. We look forward to our walk on Saturday.  Kristina Sodomkova

Wednesday 31 October: All Hallows Eve Walk

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Walk itinerary:       
Meet in front of the Main Reception                                                                                              Depart at 7pm                                                                                                                                Return: before 22.00 hours                                                                                                           Total walk length: 7 km ( circa 4.5 miles).                                                                                   Terrain: suitable for wearing trainers                                                                                               Walk leader: Andrew Potter from School of Applied Sciences.                                                  Event organisers: Sarah, Kristina & Vikas (Committee Members)                                              Refreshments at the end of the walk at The Bell pub, Marston Moretaine.  

Only limited places available.  Please book your place by 2:00 PM Friday 26th Oct.


Cost: £5 for members of Cranfield University’s walking society, non-members £8
Book your place at the Cranfield Students’ Association’s office, 1st floor                            Show you membership card to claim a discounted rate when booking a place.

St Mary’s church tower – photo by Periklis Lolis

Have a look at this website on the day of the walk to see if there’s an update.

Join us for this special Halloween walk in the dark on Wednesday evening. After a short journey to Cranfield village where the walk will start, we will continue  on the National Route 51 of the National Cycle Network towards the Forest of Marston Vale; through the wooded Marston Trift to the neighbouring village of Marston Moretaine; ending there by the 15th century church of St Mary. This is a beautiful ancient church with an unusual detached tower that perhaps served once as a watchtower, or a place of refuge. A very special event not to be mised!-)

Light candles with us in the church graveyard for the upcoming day of “all souls” and soak up the magical atmosphere of the church lit up at night.  

Did you know? Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago. See also:

Walk on sunny Saturday 6 October: exploring Cranfield

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Update on Saturday morning 6 October:  due to a long period of rain yesterday evening, please note that this route might be bit muddy today. If your shoes are not waterproof, you may want to bring with you a change of socks or another pair of shoes just in case.

Walk itinerary:       
Meet in front of Cafe Bookshop by the large chestnut tree                                                 Depart at 12.30 hours                                                                                                                       13.15 hours – meeting Paul, our guide, at Cranfield village;  by the gate  where the footpath from Cranfield University leads into the road  (click on the hyperlink to see the point as an arrow on this map). For those who live in Cranfield village, you can join us there at 13.15 hours.                                                                                                                            Total walk length: circa 13.5 km (8.5 miles)                                                                                   Return: circa 17.30 hours                                                                                                                    Bring with you a packed lunch and a bottle of water (optional stop at Co-op supermarket at Cranfield village)                                                                                                                                   Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing for a walk on country footpaths.                
There is no cost associated with attending this walk. No bookings required, just turn up. Have a look at this website on the day of the walk to see if there’s an update.

Photos from last year’ walk: More than 30 Cranfield University’s students enjoyed this pleasant walk through Cranfield’s countryside on one sunny October day.

On Saturday 6 October we are going to do a repeat of last year’s walk led by Paul from Cranfield village. The weather forecast is perfect – sunshine all day long!  Paul is a keen walker and a member of Ouse Valley Ramblers walking group. Paul says about this walk: This will be a circular walk from Cranfield village in south-easterly direction, taking in woods and  open fields; providing good views of the undulating countryside. It will introduce  students to some of the features of Bedfordshire with a bit of information on the industrial history of the area.  This route might be bit muddy and there’s one very low stile to cross over.”

Record-breaking weekend 4 ‘Cranfield University’s walks

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Our student walk society ‘Cranfield University’s Walks had a very busy weekend during which new Cranfield University’s students showed record interest in our walks:

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On Saturday 29th September 34 of Cranfield University’s students attended an early afternoon walk across the fields to Lodge Farm, North Crawley. It was so nice to see the  current student president Atma joining us for this event.!-) At one point our group split and so some of us went on a little detour via North Crawley village, before heading to Lodge Farm.  Angela who runs the Lodge Farm farm shop – and a current winner of our award for the “most welcoming local business” – prepared especially for us her amazing homemade cakes, ice cream and freshly baked bread. We sat in the garden sipping a cup of tea /coffee and watched those having a go at the trampoline or wandered off to say hello to the chickens. Then it was time to head back to Cranfield University via the working stables next door to Lodge Farm. Big thank you goes to our group of walk leaders for this walk: Shiwei, Moustafa, Nelia, Jason and Asteris. Special appearance by Periklis who travelled all the way from Rugby to attend this walk – wow!

After the walk, there was annual student clubs and societies fair from 5 to 8pm, organised by Cranfield Students’ Association. What very busy 3 hours it was! We did not stop! Big thank you goes to Alan and Graham for manning our table so eloquently; also Nelia, Farrukh and Periklis for their support. And let’s not forget to acknowledge the presence of our amazing photographers Asteris and Xiaojian, who is also our Photo Editor. 

On Sunday 30 September we organised a walk to Cranfield village. Last year the attendance was good – but this year, it was record-breaking! We counted 83 Cranfield University students at the start of this walk! Unbelievable! We descended on Cranfield village like a swarm of bees! We stopped at a local co-op supermarket, then getting a view of Marston Trift and Forest of Marston Vale, before heading back on a small section of the  National Route 51 of the National Cycle Network and then using the footpath that circumnavigates Cranfield airport. Big thank you goes to our group of walk leaders for this walk: Alan, Nelia,Farrukh, Dave and Alex. Also to our photographers Alan and Tomas.

On Monday 1 October at lunchtime there was yet another annual fair in CSA  which was an oportunity for new students to meet representatives of ‘Cranfield University’s Walks’: We  answered students’  numerous questions and signed up more new members. Big thank you  goes to our great team – Andrew, Jason and Eduardo and our award-winning photographer Asteris

This was our busiest weekend yet, with record attendance on our walks. The two student clubs & societies fairs led to 54 students and staff being recruited as our members. More are to join, as I gather from the number of email enquiries we’ve had in the past couple of days!-)

If you like to join our walking society, visit our Membership page and follow the instructions there.

Photos from last year’s club & societies fair – photos  courtesy of Asteris Apostolidis, Xiaojian Huang and Alan Nelson.
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