Great Barford

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

Great Barford-Bedford walk..& shopping! (Sun 27-10-13)

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Enjoy this leisurely walk along the River Great Ouse from the village of Great Barford (famous for its medieval bridge) to Goldington Road, Bedford.

great barford

Along the way we will stop for lunch at the Danish Camp  – described as Bedfordshire’s best kept secret,


followed by a look at the historical Willington Dovecote and stables managed by the National Trust. The walk will finish at the Go Outdoors store in Bedford for some afternoon shopping. Perfect if you like to try on some new hiking boots or waterproof clothing.

Activity date:
 Sunday 27th October 2013
Meeting point:
 The Café Bookshop (Cranfield University)
Departing time from Cranfield:
Arriving time to Cranfield (approx):
Walk length (Km):
 8 Km (5 miles)
Club members only?:
Sign up at: with “ALEX-GREAT BARFORD in title
Sign-up deadline:
 Friday 25th October @ 1pm (this is absolute as we need to order transport)
£6 members, £8 non-members
Meal provided?:
 We will stop for lunch at the Danish Camp. You can either buy something there or bring a packed lunch
Comfortable clothes and footwear, better hiking boots because the path may be muddy, and waterproof clothing (get used to it; Welcome to England!!). Always carry some water with you.
Other information:
 The final stop on this walk will be at the Go Outdoors store in Bedford where we can get 10% discount on hiking gear.

Behind the scenes: walk to Great Barford

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Our walking group at Cranfield University is planning a walk, combined with a shopping trip to an outdoor store in Bedford,  on either 22 October or on 12 November (TBC nearer to the time).

But before we even set off on this walk in the next couple of weeks or so, there is work that must be done in preparation. What exactly does it involve? This post is about what goes on behind the scenes in preparation for one of our walks:

First, me going into Digimap at my desk, checking various routes and measuring their distances. Then getting a small group together, arranging time and date to meet up one afternoon. So on Saturday 8 October 4 of us – Deborah, Belén, Graham and myself – drove to the location of an outdoor store on the outskirts of Bedford to trial a possible circular walking route there. Going over our maps again, trying to make a final decision about which walking route to pursue. Towards Bedford, north or east? We ended up opting for the eastern route towards the River Great Ouse, mainly as Deborah was familiar with the area. Turning on the GPS and off we go. We stopped on the edge of the village of Willington to admire a Tudor stone-built dovecote there and then headed towards the historical area of Danish Camp.

There we discovered a nice cafe that offers bicycle hire and river boat trips. We continued all the way to the village of Great Barford and its spectacular medieval bridge before heading back. It took us 4 hours to explore this walking route and we covered about 15 km ( 9.4 miles). We were just back on time to squeeze in a visit to the outdoor store before its closing time. Our verdict about the route: it was a lovely walk by the side of the river, with many interesting features along the way. Terrain mostly good.  Now back at the university, there are still things to be sorted – transport and its cost, exact timing of the walk, advertising, then adjusting the final walking route to weather conditions present on the day of the walk. We had a long day on Saturday but it was certainly worthy – we now have a very nice walking route planned for one of our upcoming events.

If you like to take part in any future exploration/ preparation walks for the Cranfield University’s walking society, contact Kristina.