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How to get there

Willington is easy to get to by road - it's just off the A421 at the Cardington junction (follow Bedford Road). It's not easy to get there by train, but you can get a bus to nearby Balls Lane (click here for the timetable from Bedford).

Start/finish points

The National Trust Dovecote car park


2.4 miles

Route description

1. Starting from Willington Dovecote car park, turn right out of the car park onto Church End and head in a northerly direction passing the Willington stables on your left.

2. Continue northwards, passing the junction with the National Cycle way Route 51 and crossing the Elstow Brook via an old quarry bridge, until you come to another junction and a metal bridleway gate.

3. At the junction, pass through the metal gate and follow the signs directing you to the riverside path. Continue northwards and cross the Lafarge haul road - watch out for traffic.

4. After crossing the haul road you will pass through another metal gate and fenced-in gravel track that meanders through grass fields frequented by many species of birds and wildfowl. Further along the track you will pass two lakes, Causeway Lake on your left and Dovecote Lake on your right. Continue along the gravel track as it bends round Causeway Lake to a T-junction and signpost by a cattlegrid.

5. At the signpost, turn right in a north-easterly direction and follow the tarmac path that is signposted Danish Camp. Follow the path along the banks of the River Great Ouse. Watch out for cyclists and vehicles.

6. Continue along the tarmac path until you come to another junction where a loose stoned track takes you into woodland where a new back channel off the river was created for spawning fish. The loose stoned path is an optional route that will bring you back onto the tarmac path further along and will add no more than 5 minutes to your walk.

7. The path now heads southwards, hugging the river and going under the Lafarge haul road bridge, before coming to a second bridge over Elstow Brook - perfect for playing Pooh sticks!

8. Follow the tarmac path over the wooden bridge to its junction with National Cycleway Route 51. Danish Camp is to your left. You can find refreshments here.

9. At the T-junction with the cycleway, turn right in a westerly direction and follow the sign for Bedford and Priory Country Park. This section of path follows the old Bedford to Cambridge railway line. To your left are the remains of the station platforms. 

10. Continuing westwards, the path brings you back to the junction with Church End where you are directed back to Willington Dovecote and car park.

Pit stops/points of interest

There are public toilets at Danish Camp and seats at the Dovecote and on Balls Lane.

Danish Camp


National Trust