The Ampthill to Haynes section of The Greensand Ridge Walk (3rd leg) is 8.8 miles long. In fact as I had curtailed my second day’s walk (see here) I reached Ampthill on my third day (after only walking from Ridgmont) and therefore had time and energy to continue several miles further. I did not make it all the way to Haynes (see later post) but carried on to Clophill.
After leaving Ampthill Park it was a short walk to Houghton House (supposedly Bunyan’s “House Beautiful”). The Greensand Ridge Walk turns off just before it but it would only be five minutes extra walking to take a slight detour to explore further. (I have covered it in my post here).
The area then becomes very rural and quiet once again. Several fields follow on from each other, some with cattle, some with crops. Again for the next couple of miles I did not pass one person – just a few bovine creatures. I was concerned one may not be quite so friendly but fortunately the next field was empty. Bulls are probably the only fear I really have when walking alone nowadays and luckily it is many years since I came across them on the Isle of Wight coastal path. That encounter had necessitated creeping with a laden backpack under an electric fence.
The fields led into the back end of the long straggling village of Maulden and then the footpath rose out again upwards to another church set on a hilltop. The perfect place and view for lunch.
The Greensand Ridge walk then leads through Maulden Conservation meadows before turning a sharp right into Maulden Woods.
Who could not love these woods! Truly they are large enough to get lost in but small enough to navigate. Unfortunately I found the signage for the Greensand Ridge walk lacking here and had to resort to my GPS on my phone on a couple of occasions. I could have found my way out of the woods OK but wanted to make sure I stuck as strictly to the trail as possible. It was great to bump into several families out on a Sunday afternoon stroll.
The woods eventually lead to the busy A6. There is a traffic island in the middle of the road but nevertheless this is not a road I would chose to cross often. The crossing is just south of a blind spot after a hill and the traffic extremely fast moving.
The woods continued on the other side of the road. A particularly peaceful place despite the nearby roadway. It is a long descent into the village of Clophill (reminding me that I would need to climb all that way back up the next day). The nippy hybrid driver was kindly waiting for me at a car park by the River Flit which runs close by to the village shops.
All in all this made a great walk and I was glad that I had split the walk up as I did. I walked about 11 miles. The area was again surprisingly hilly around Maulden and Clophill. Virus permitting, refreshments would be available at Ampthill, Maulden (with a slight detour into the village) and Clophill (which also has a Co op). Terrain – sandy! Signage not quite so good on this section – definitely take a map.
Poem on the Greensand Ridge Walk just outside Maulden.
(Yes, I know something is missing!)