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How to get there

You can reach Wilstead easily by car from the A6, just off the A421, or by bus from Bedford. (Click here for timetables)

Start/finish points

Car park in Whitworth Way, behind the Methodist Church in Cotton End Road.

Grid Ref TL066436


5 miles


Surface types – Varied, ranging from grass uncultivated paths with no ruts to earth paths with ruts/mud and cultivated farmland.

Linear Gradient - Steepest linear gradient is steeper than 1:26 between points 11 - 12 of the map, where it can be very slippery in wet weather.

Cross Falls - Steepest is 1:26.

Width Restriction – 600mm (at point 2 on the map)

Steps - There are steps at the junction of points 4 and 17 on the map with a max. step height of 300mm.

Barriers – The bridge (point 16) has barriers at each end and a stile. A one-way opening gate with a max width of 600mm (point 20) and a gravity gate (point 19). Please note there is also an electric fence (between points 11 and 12 and from points 13 to 14).

Route description

1 - Turn right out of the car park at the end of Cotton End Road and continue along to the footpath finger post on the right, just past Chapel Lane, on the other side of the road.2 - Go through the kissing gate by the thatched cottage and along the edge of three fields, keeping the hedge on your left until you meet another footpath at a t-junction.3 - Turn left at the junction and go across the field to another footpath junction at the top of Ivy Lane.
4 - At this junction turn right (do not go over the bridge and stile) and proceed towards the woods, keeping the hedge on your left.
5 - Go straight on through the corner of the wood and continue with the wood on your right. After a short distance, continue straight on across the field to the bottom of the hill.
6 - Bear slightly left and continue up the hill across a field to a stile and lone tree.
7 - Go past the tree to the brow of the hill and, bearing slightly right, aim for a gate in the far, southern corner of the field. At the brow of the hill, check out the panoramic view behind you stretching from Cranfield in the west, to Cople and beyond in the east, with the  Cardington Sheds in the middle.
8 - Cross the next field to a kissing gate keeping the pond on your right.
9 - Proceed through the kissing gate keeping the trees/hedge on your right. Across the field on your left is St Macute's Wood. Keep going straight on into the next field, past a stand of trees on your left, to Northwood End Farm, (keep to the left of the farm buildings), to a finger post at a junction with a bridleway.
10 - At this point you can turn right down the farm road/bridleway to Haynes. A short way down this road on the right is an old grain store perched on capped piers to keep the rats out - well worth a little detour.
11 - Go back to the finger post and walk away from the farm down a bridleway, along the edge of a field, keeping the new hedge to your right. Keep going downhill, through farm gates, keeping the hedge on your right down to Manor Farm. As you descend, the view to the left reveals St Macute's and Wilstead Woods and the village buildings partially hidden in the trees. The square outline of the tower of All Saints Church can just be made out.
12 - Go straight on, keeping the farm buildings on your left and just before the farmhouse on your right, turn left through a gate into a field. Keeping the farm buildings on your left, go on along the field edge which bends to the right.
13 -  At the junction of two footpaths bear left along the edge of the field, with the hedge on your right, until almost the end of the field.
14 - Just before the end of the field turn right through the hedge, over the stile and into a paddock. Cut across the corner of this paddock to another stile and go through the hedge into another field. Turn right then almost immediately left along the edge of the field.
15 - Halfway down the field switch to the other side of the hedge by turning right, then left, and continue with the hedge on your left.
16 - At the end of the field cross two bridges to another field. Turn right, and go along the edge of the field with the hedge / ditch on your right, to a stile.
17 - Go over the stile and bridge to find yourself where you were earlier. Go straight on, retracing your steps to where you joined this path earlier. At the junction don't turn right but carry straight on with the hedge on your right, until you meet the 'Carriage Drive’. This was the rear drive to Haynes Park, a fine 18th century Georgian country house. The Carriage Drive is a Permissive Path and walkers are also allowed to walk through the woods on either side of the path, as it goes up the hillside.
18 -  At the Carriage Drive, go almost straight ahead and continue down the side of a field with the hedge on your right to a small bridge and a gate.
19 -  Go through the gate, turn right and once through the gap, bear left across the field to a kissing gate.
20 -  Go through the gate and walk down between hedges. In spring and summer this forms a green tunnel and is known locally as Dragon’s Wood.
21 - Just past the building on the right, turn right over a small bridge and after a short distance you will emerge into Whitworth Way with the car park almost in front of you.

Pit stops/points of interest

There is a shop in Wilstead. There are no public toilets or picnic benches on this route.

The Greyhound

The Woolpack

The Red Lion


Wilstead P3 Group

Parish Paths Partnership

Central Bedfordshire Council

Bedford Borough Council

Thanks to J Tanswell for use of her sketches and to B Seamark, T Davies and A Philips for help with the original text