Three of our students have come together to share with you their favourite cycle routes from campus…
1st Route: The Aston Martin route – Newton Blossomville, Olney, Newport Pagnell
Author: Lorenzo Carena (Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Engineering)
This is the most beautiful and safest among the long routes around Cranfield as it runs almost entirely in quiet country roads. The route is a collection of pretty limestone villages, each with its own peculiarities, and the landscapes are simply glorious.
- Starting from Cranfield and heading North on College Rd, the route via Astwood Rd runs sinuous through the beautiful countryside with a long descent (Cranfield at a higher gradient) until you reach the village of Astwood.
- The second village which you come to is Newton Blossomville, with thatched cottages among the prettiest I have ever seen.
- Leaving Newton Blossomville you wind along a twisty turny country road until you reach Emberton.
- The third village, Emberton, looks like time stood still in the 18th Century (with the exception of the cars on the road of course)
- But it is nothing compared to the village of Olney. Birthplace of the famous song Amazing Grace. It’s limestone buildings are just beautiful and at weekends, . it is full of amazing vintage cars.
- I suggest taking a stroll through the long high street and to visit the park and lakes right outside the village. This segment of the journey marks the start of Aston Martin sightings too.
- There is a historic dealer, Desmond J Smail, with always at least 6 or 7 vintage Astons parked up outside to admire on the way past.
- Leaving Olney and onto the route to Newport Pagnell you’ll come across a sequence of pretty villages along with beautiful rolling Countryside
2nd Route: The west Bedfordshire route – Turvey, Harrold, Stevington, Wootton
Author: Ronit Kamboj (Management MSc)
This route has some symmetry to the “Aston Martin” route, in fact the first part of the route is the same, until you reach a crossroads where you turn right into Bedfordshire instead of left into north Buckinghamshire.
- Given the hilly nature of west Bedfordshire, this itinerary is overflowing with ups and downs and again includes multiple picturesque stone villages. Like it’s Buckinghamshire twin, this route has its first stops in Astwood with its pretty country pub, and Newton Blossomville – home to the most charming, thatched cottages.
- Before turning right and leaving the village behind, head out into the countryside to follow the Great Ouse river to the village of Turvey, which was entirely rebuilt in native stone in the middle of the 19th century.
- The next village you come to is Carlton, which lies on the top of a hill, therefore both the roads to get there and the road to depart from it are incredibly panoramic, at least for someone like me who grew up in a flat area. Carlton is picturesque and it is a quintessentially English town, yet the prettiest village is Harrold, which is reached after crossing a beautiful, well preserved stone bridge.
- In Harrold, it is possible to take a break in the central part of the village and to cycle along the Grebe lake next to the village.
- On the way back to the Bedford area, starting from the top of a hill allows to have pleasant downhills, and the villages on the way back to Cranfield are all beautiful, starting from Stevington. On the way back to Cranfield, unfortunately, there are at least 50 meters to make up for in altitude to be able to reach our beloved village and airport. Therefore, it is advisable to lower gearing and go with the saying, “No Pain No Gain”!
3rd Route: Cranfield –Bedford – Cardington
Author: Gaurav Pothureddy (Engineering and Management of Manufacturing Systems)
This is a superb evening or morning 26-mile (42Km) route from Cranfield University to Cardington hangars via Bedford. The course is mostly flat with some great descents. When riding in autumn and winter, you need to make sure that your bike is well-serviced and have tools and inner tubes and suitable cold-weather clothing. It’s also wise to use a rear light during daytime riding, as tree-lined country roads with early sunset can make it difficult for cars to pick you out early.
- Starting from Cranfield and heading out towards Wootton is entirely downhill having a gradient of 250 ft, which you are going to enjoy the most, I suggest you get as aerodynamic as you can here to make the most of the decent. After reaching Wootton take a right towards Ridge Road that will take you to Bedford Highstreet.
- As soon as you cross the bridge going to the High Street, take a right and ride along the Great Ouse riverbank. (N.B. this is a great spot to take some pictures)
- Cross the river by taking the suspension bridge and at the roundabout take your way towards Cardington Road and eventually crossing over A421 after which the beautiful countryside begins.
- You can take a left towards Harrowden Lane and go for the Hangars. Still, I would prefer to circuit around some of the villages (totally worth it), then visit the hangars in return and so at the junction of Kings’ Arms bus stop turn left towards Cople and ride into the village itself once reached.
- Now take a right towards Northill Road. This beautiful narrow road takes you on a real country cycling journey, with fantastic scenery. However, take care along the winding lane for oncoming traffic; for whilst this is minimal, the road’s narrowness requires attention.
- Take a right at the junction and keep heading straight till you reach Old Warden.
- Turn off to South Hill Road and enjoy the descent after some challenging climbs. The route will take you back to Kings Arms junction, from here take Harrowden Lane and head towards the Cardington Hangars, the home of British Airships.
- Finish off the ride by heading back to Bedford Highstreet and treat yourself with some good refreshments as there are ample places to choose from.
- The Cardington Hangars will captivate you, and the history will make you want to return, and so this ride is an ideal way to explore the countryside of this beautiful country.
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