walks

Saturday 19 November: exploring Cranfield part II

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Walk itinerary:       
Meet under the spreading chestnut tree* by The Cafe Bookshop.  
Depart at 12.00 noon                                                                                                                        Total walk length: circa 14 km (8.7 miles)                                                                                   Return: circa 16.00 hours                                                                                                           Bring with you a packed lunch and a drink.                                                                                Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing for a walk on country footpaths.               There is no cost associated with attending this walk – just turn up.                                            Have a look at this website on the day of the walk to see if there’s an update.

An afternoon walk in close proximity to Cranfield University, prepared by our guide Paul from Cranfield village. The first walk led by Paul took place in October and it was a great success – with almost 40 students attending.                                                              This is what Paul  tells us about this second upcoming walk on 19 November:

Another circular walk to the East of  Wharley End. This will be 14. km to the east circumnavigating Moulsoe –  a route mainly on headlands and bridle paths over arable land and through spinneys.

 Although the English Winter weather is yet to come, it will be damp and muddy underfoot so suitable footwear will be required and waterproofs if it’s raining or likely to. Bring packed lunch a drink and something to sit on may be a plastic bag.

Countryside around Cranfield University waiting to be explored
* Did you know? Horse Chestnut trees are not native to Britain – they were planted as ornamental trees for their shade. They have a pleasant white flower and their fruits conkers can be used for sport.

12 November: walk & shop near Bedford

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Walk itinerary:       
Meet in front of the Main Reception                                                                                              Depart at 10.30 am                                                                                                                            A walk followed by a  stop at  a local outdoor shop
Total walk length: circa 8 km (5  miles)                                                                                   Return: circa 17:00 hours                                                                                                           Lunch: bring your own or purchase at Danish Camp cafe                                                              In wet weather conditions; please wear waterproof boots or bring a change of shoes/socks as your feet will get wet.    

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.

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

Great Barford bridge. ksodo

On Saturday 12 November we are going to do a walk along the River Ouse, starting in the village of Great Barford, famous by its medieval bridge. Break at Danish Camp for a late lunch (we might spot a European eagle owl there), followed by a stop to admire the historical Dovecote. Walk finishes at Outdoor store at Goldington Road, Bedford, for some afternoon outdoor shopping. Perfect if you like to try on new walking boots!

Would you like more info about this walk? See our previous posts on outdoor shopping and a trip to Great Barford.

22 October: walk & shop at Stony Stratford

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Walk itinerary:       
Meet in front of the Main Reception                                                                                              Depart at 11.00 am                                                                                                                            A walk followed by free time in the town centre. Stop at outdoor shop (walking society’s  members receive 20% discount)    
Total walk length: circa 10km (6 miles)                                                                                   Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing.                                                                 Return: circa 17:00 hours                                                                                                           Lunch: bring your own or purchase at Stony Stratford’s town centre (see  http://www.stony-stratford.co.uk/orhttp://www.stony-stratford.co.uk/cafe.htm       

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

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

 

On Saturday 22 October we are going to do a walk led by Deborah, one of our longstanding members. Deborah not only works at Cranfield University’s IT department but is also a keen and an experienced walker. And she is also our new Walk Information Officer – if you see a nice leaflet produced to go with one of our walks, that is all thanks to Deborah’s effort to make your walk experience even more memorable. I asked her a few questions about this planned walk:

Deborah, could you tell us more about the planned walk on 15 October?
 
This will be a circular walk, starting in the historic town of Stony Stratford. The starting point will be the bridge that gave the town its name, but the route we take on the day will depend to some extent on the weather.
 
If the weather is, or has been, wet we’ll walk through the Ouse Valley Park that lies in the floodplain of the river Great Ouse. The park is full of wildlife and also includes several historical features such as the Iron Trunk Aqueduct carrying the Grand Union canal over the river and at the eastern edge of the walk, the Wolverton Viaduct built by Robert  Stephenson in 1838  to carry the railway line over the river.
 
Our alternative route will be to the village of Cosgrove. After a slightly inauspicious start crossing over the busy A5, you’ll be transported back in time to an age when canal boats, not lorries, were used to carry commercial goods around the country. We’ll be walking on towpaths, originally used by the horses that pulled the boats, along the disused Buckingham Arm before crossing the lock gates at Cosgrove and joining the Grand Union canal. This is an attractive and interesting walk, but the farmland stretches can be muddy in wet weather.
 
Either way we’ll be back in Stony Stratford for a late lunch. Explore the High Street and the many courtyards off of it and you’ll find several cafes and pubs to choose from. I’d recommend Macintyre’s café – run by the Macintyre charity supporting those with learning difficulties – but unfortunately it’s only open until 1pm. Perhaps if you decide to come back to Stony you’ll pop in for coffee.
 
Tell us something about yourself.
 
I’ve been at Cranfield for over 6 years, working in the IT Department throughout. You might have met me if you’ve attended any of our training courses. I grew up in Bedford but moved to Milton Keynes when I graduated, so I know this area quite well. As a keen walker I like to make the most of living in such a wonderfully green city – there’s so much more to see than the shopping centre!
 
What is your favourite walk?
 
My favourite walks (apart from Milton Keynes of course!) would have to be around the town of Bakewell in the Peak District National Park – easy enough to get to for weekends away, or further afield the stunning Mawddach Estuary and the surrounding area in Snowdonia, North Wales.
 
What advice would you give to our walkers or what useful information could you share with us?
 
My walks won’t be extreme by any means! Just make sure you have a jacket and comfortable shoes with good grip, both should preferably be waterproof if you’re going to be joining our winter walks. A small rucksack containing a drink and a couple of snacks would be a good idea too. But often you’ll find that we either include a stop for refreshments or there’ll be somewhere for a cup of tea and a piece of cake afterwards -)
 
Thank you, Deborah. I look forward to our walk and visit to Stony Stratford next week. Kristina Sodomkova
 
An interesting fact about Stony Stratford – did you know that in the past, the world largest trams were used for transport in Stony Stratford? For more on history, see local council’s website: http://www.stonystratford.gov.uk/Visit_The_Area/History
 
Looking for an idea for a next visit to Stony Stratford?-Try the town and river walk

Walk on Saturday 15 October: exploring Cranfield

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Walk itinerary:       
Meet in front of Cafe Bookshop,                                                                                                 Depart at 10.30 am                                                                                                                           11.00 am – 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 11 am.                                    Total walk length: circa 13.5 km (8.5 miles)                                                                                   Return: circa 15.30 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.
                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.

Undulating countryside at Cranfield. ksodo October 2011

On Saturday 15 October we are going to do a walk led by Paul from Cranfield village.  We met Paul during the last guided walk organised by North Crawley Historical Society in September. We struck a conversation that started with us being impressed with Paul cycling all the way from Cranfield village to then attend the 8 km (5 miles) walk at North Crawley. Learning that Paul was an experienced rambler from an area that we have not much explored in the past (i.e. Cranfield village), we could not help asking about a possible walk for our group. To which Paul kindly agreed to. So here it is; we are going to do a walk with Paul this coming Saturday. But first, I asked Paul couple of questions:

Paul, could you tell us more about the planned walk on 15 October?
 
 
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. 
 
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: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2010/04/which-reveals-the-best-walking-boots-207719/  Sometimes TK Max, a shop In the Centre Milton Keynes, has reasonable quality walking boots at discounted prices.
 
                                                                                                                  
Thank you, Paul. I look forward to our walk on Saturday.  Kristina Sodomkova

Cranfield village, airport security and a tea party

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On they way to Cranfield village. Photo courtesy of Xiaojian Huang.

02 October 2011 – Our walk on Sunday afternoon aimed to introduce new students to the joy of walking to Cranfield village using a public footpath. This route is about 2.5 km one way and is a perfect running route, provided it is not too windy as it is quite exposed. This walk turned out to be a record-breaking event as more than 50 students attended! Luckily, we were prepared. Our group of experienced walkers covered front, middle and the back, namely: Eduardo, Graham, Periklis, Shiwei, Simon and myself.  Once arriving at Cranfield village, we popped to Co-op supermarket and then had a short break, relaxing on the edge of the field, before embarking on the return journey. It was a peaceful walk except that our very long procession, spread out in its full length, did not escape the attention of Cranfield airport security staff.

The footpath to Cranfield village follows boundaries of Cranfield Airport. Photo courtesy of Jeongha Ha.

We were confronted by their marked vehicle, lights flashing, near the point where the path diverges. “We are going to a tea party,” I replied innocently to the security man’s question; what was this all about? Which was true, we were on the way to join a tea party at Mitchell Hall, organised by the Community Centre. Our activity looked apparently suspicious – I guess, they have not seen so many people before using this public footpath at once. It was then suggested to us to follow the path religiously, which would mean going over the stiles. I had to refuse this suggestion politely as with such a large group, it was much easier (and safer) to use another option – a nice wide path that follows the hedge round the corner. This section is regularly used by runners and thus makes the walk to Cranfield village stiles-free – however this is an unofficial section of the public footpath that is not marked on Ordnance Surveymaps.  We were let off on this occasion to continue on our planned route back but advised to seek an official permission from the university to use this unofficial small stretch of path in the future. Oh, no, not again – wouldn’t even know who to ask. Probably not Transport Team as they don’t feel strongly about walking falling into their department.  Anyway, we had a lovely walk and did manage to get back to the tea party well ahead of time.

Location of the two stiles on the footpath. Alternative sections of route are shown as dash line.
                     

 

 
 
One of the two stiles en route to Cranfield village.