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How to get there

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Start/finish points

The Forest Centre, Marston Moretaine, MK43 0PR

Explorer Maps 193 AND 208.


10 miles (with options for some detours)

Route description

1 - Arriving at the Country Park head for the grass overflow car park straight ahead at the entrance roundabout. Take the horse trail either by turning right after the horse trail at the end of the car park or by turning left at the bridleway (BW) gate by the roundabout (if you wish to be further away from the wind turbine). Follow this trail around to the Forest Centre access road. 

2 - Follow the access road to the main road and then turn right towards Marston Moretaine village. Cross Station Road with care and follow the signed National Cycle Route 51 (NCR51) round to the left.  Follow NCR51 signs to the new bridge over the new A421 dual carriageway. 

3 - Once over bridge turn left through metal bridle gate to a 2nd metal bridle gate.  Follow the BW to the end of this field and into the next field.  Then immediately turn right on to BW with hedge on your right.

4 - Continue until you come to T junction.  Turn right and through/around the gate onto the road and then take a left turn into Marston Thrift car park. You could return to the Visitor Centre by following the directions from the car park in point 8, but you will be missing the best part of the route! 

5 - At the far end of the car park is the entrance to the BW.  Follow this path for 500 yards to a T junction.  At T junction you have a choice:

  • To follow the basic route, follow the BW to the left.
  • For a variant with a grassy surface, turn right and then turn left into Rectory Wood, follow the horse trail (signed with horseshoes) round to the left, until you reach a dropped horse ‘hop’ gate on your left where you rejoin the basic route.
  • You could also ride the whole of the circuit of Rectory Wood (about a mile) and rejoin the route either at this point or at the hop gate.
  • Or take the Green route extension by turning right and then right again opposite Rectory Wood on to the BW alongside Marston Thrift at B1.

If you turn left, follow the BW and NCR51 signs along the edge of the former Brogborough landfill site and then uphill towards Holcot Wood. This path is also part of the NCR 51 so you mayencounter cyclists coming downhill at speed.  After 1½ miles you will come to a metal bridlegate ahead.  Continue to follow NCR51 signs.  Watch out for rabbit holes on this section of track.

6 - On reaching a BW crossroads at top edge of Holcot Wood, take the grass path on your right alongside the wood. Follow this path for ¾ mile through a gap in the hedge, along a wide field headland, through another gap in the hedge on your right and towards Wood End Farm.   

7 - Take the weighted wooden bridle gate on the left of the farm gate onto Court Road and into Cranfield for approximately ¾ mile.

8 - Turn right into Rectory Lane and follow the BW along the road to the right towards and past Rectory Farm to the corner of Marston Thrift to point 5/B1. You can take the optional route by carrying on to the left turn at the corner of Marston Thrift (5/B1). Continue on the BW to the Marston Thrift car park, turn left and follow the NCR51 signs along Wood End Lane to the A421 bridge at point 3. Or turn right out of car park and return to A421 bridge on the grassy BWs you used on the way out.

9 - On the other side of the A421 bridge take the BW ahead through two consecutive metal bridle gates.  When you reach a BW T junction, turn left onto this BW and follow until you rejoin Wood End Lane.  After about 100 yards, as the road bears left.

10 - Follow the BW ahead for 50 yards to the old A421. Take care crossing the road - this is a very fast section of road, though usually not busy. Cross the road and follow BW through a small woodland and then onto Woburn Road and into Marston Moretaine.  There is a wide verge along this road.  When you reach the pelican crossing turn right and return to the Forest Centre by following the route past the church that you took on the way out. As you enter the driveway to the Forest Centre, you will find the horse trail 200 yards ahead.  This will return you to the car park.

Pit stops/points of interest

There are toilets and benches at the Forest Centre.

The Forest Centre

The Green Man


Forest Volunteers

Central Bedfordshire Council

Bedford Borough Council

The British Horse Society

Funded by Natural England as part of the Paths for Communities Project