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Ampthill and Maulden Trail

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Ampthill and Maulden Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 05 Jan 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Bedfordshire, Ampthill
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Ampthill and Maulden Trail
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 5.5 mile circular walk through the gently rolling landscape of the Bedfordshire hills, providing superb views of the countryside throughout. The walk starts from the ruins of Houghton House, said to be the inspiration for House Beautiful in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.

The walk has several steady but long climbs and descents throughout and there is one stile (with an open fencing surround) and several kissing gates. The paths are a mixture of tarmac/concrete lanes and field edge paths the latter of which can get quite muddy after wet weather so waterproof boots are recommended. Whilst most of the farm land is arable, some of the fields may be holding cattle so take care with dogs. Approximate time 2.5 hours.

The walk starts from the Houghton House car park just north of Ampthill. The car park is accessed via a narrow concrete track and is signed with a brown sign off the B530 Bedford Street. Heading north out of Ampthill, as you reach a right hand bend marked with chevrons turn right onto the signed concrete track. The small parking area is on the left just before you reach the row of cottages on the right. If this parking area is full it is possible to park in Ampthill and then make your way to Rectory Lane and adjust the walk to start here. Approximate post code MK45 2EY.

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Walk Sections

Start to King's Wood
Start to King's Wood

Start point: 52.0415 lat, -0.4884 long
End point: 52.0435 lat, -0.4772 long

From the parking area, walk further along the concrete lane passing the cottages to the right. Over to the left you will see the ruins of Houghton House.

Houghton House was built in 1615 for the Countess of Pembroke and was dismantled in 1794. The ruins are now managed by English Heritage. You can take a small detour to visit the ruins should you wish.

Immediately after the last cottage on the right (and before the large farm outbuilding) turn right onto the farm track signed for Greensand Ridge Walk. Follow the wide farm track and over to the right you will pass the tall grass banks of a reservoir.

Pass by a white property on the left (King’s Wood Cottage) and then go through the metal kissing gate directly ahead. Keep to the right hand boundary of this short field to reach a pair of gates ahead. Take the right hand of the two gates, a kissing gate, and then keep left to follow the field edge footpath following the edge of King’s Wood on the left.

King's Wood to Limbersey Lane
King's Wood to Limbersey Lane

Start point: 52.0435 lat, -0.4772 long
End point: 52.0424 lat, -0.4598 long

Follow the field edge alongside the woods and after about 300 yards you will reach a waymarked junction of paths. Turn right here down the farm track, heading towards a farmhouse and outbuildings.

Keep ahead as the track passes through the centre of the farm and industrial buildings and emerges into open countryside once more. Follow the tarmac track all the way down to reach a T-junction with the main road, Limbersey Lane.

Limbersey Lane to St Mary's Church
Limbersey Lane to St Mary's Church

Start point: 52.0424 lat, -0.4598 long
End point: 52.0306 lat, -0.4582 long

Turn left along the edge of Limbersey Lane, taking care of any traffic. When you reach the property Meadowside on the left, cross over the road to turn right onto a footpath through a kissing gate. Go straight ahead through this first short field and out through the kissing gate on the opposite side.

Now join the grass path which is a few paces over to the left and follows the same direction down between two fields. Just after you draw level with the corner of the woodland across to the left, pass through another metal kissing gate ahead and follow the left hand edge of the next field. (Note this field may be holding cattle).

Keep close to the tall hedgeline on the left and pass through the metal kissing gate at the end. Now take the middle of the three paths through the centre of this next field, heading for the chimney visible over the brow of the hill. You will emerge out through a wooden kissing gate onto a tarmac parking area in front of St Mary’s Church in Maulden.

St Mary's Church to Gate Junction
St Mary's Church to Gate Junction

Start point: 52.0306 lat, -0.4582 long
End point: 52.0377 lat, -0.4738 long

Follow the short tarmac slope downhill and then with the church hall ahead, turn right up a flight of steps into the church yard. Follow the path through the church yard keeping the church to the right. Continue beyond the church and then go through the metal gate ahead.

Follow the narrow fenced tarmac path as it swings to the left heading for the properties of the village ahead. Pass through the staggered barrier to reach the T-junction with the village road. Turn right and then follow the road as it swings left and heads uphill. After house number 90, turn right onto the narrow tarmac footpath.

At the path junction keep ahead, leaving the tarmac and joining a grass footpath. As you emerge to the road, cross over and go over the stile opposite. Follow the footpath heading diagonally to the right up the slope. Alongside the property to the right, fork left through a kissing gate into the next field.

Keep right to follow the right-hand field boundary. At the fence corner, turn right through the first kissing gate and then with the second kissing gate ahead (do not pass through), turn left to follow the farm track with the wire fence to the right.

Keep ahead through the small gate set into a wider gate to follow the fenced grass farm track. At the end of this track you will reach a junction with multiple gates and stiles in several directions.

Gate Junction to Gas House Lane
Gate Junction to Gas House Lane

Start point: 52.0377 lat, -0.4738 long
End point: 52.0335 lat, -0.4859 long

Take the first path on the left here through the gate. Follow the left-hand field edge climbing steadily uphill. As you reach the brow of the hill follow the boundary round to the right. Go through the kissing gate and continue on the field edge path.

Pass through the next gate and follow the narrow path through a belt of trees. Continue as the path bears left along a field edge. After 100 yards you’ll reach a waymarked junction. Turn right here up the short slope and through the metal gate.

Follow this path through another gate and on to finally reach some steps down to the junction with the village road, Gas House Lane.

Gas House Lane to End
Gas House Lane to End

Start point: 52.0335 lat, -0.4859 long
End point: 52.0409 lat, -0.4899 long

Turn left along the stone lane to reach a T-junction with the main road. Cross over with care and turn right onto the pavement. Take the second road on the right, Rectory Lane, marked with a footpath sign. Follow the footpath as it passes to the left of St Andrew’s Church.

Keep left at the fork and a few paces later with a pretty cottage on the right, fork left again onto Holly Walk. It will soon become obvious how this path gets its name! At the end of Holly Walk, go through the wooden kissing gate to reach the main B530 road.

Cross with care, and turn right along the pavement opposite. Ignore the footpath off to the left and instead follow the main road. As you reach the brow of the hill, cross back over with care to turn right onto the concrete track signed for Houghton House. Follow the concrete track to reach the parking area where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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