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Homepage / Top 3 cycle routes from Cranfield Campus

Top 3 cycle routes from Cranfield Campus

12/02/2021

Three of our students have come together to share with you their favourite cycle routes from campus…

1st Route – Red,  2nd Route – Light Blue, 3rd Route – Light Green

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.

  1. 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.
  2. The second village which you come to is Newton Blossomville, with thatched cottages among the prettiest I have ever seen.
  3. Leaving Newton Blossomville you wind along a twisty turny country road until you reach Emberton.
  4. The third village, Emberton, looks like time stood still in the 18th Century (with the exception of the cars on the road of course)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. 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
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Take a right at the junction and keep heading straight till you reach Old Warden.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Written by: Ronit Kamboj

Written By: Tom Jaycocks

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  1. Sudhanshu Kamboj 13/02/2021 at 4:21 am - Reply

    Sports for fitness and creativity in arts is the perfect way to bring some change in studious routine of a University education which can be pretty taxing at times.

    Being in touch with nature to be away from screens always rejuvenate one’s soul.

    • Gill Perkins 16/02/2021 at 11:22 am - Reply

      Absolutely – couldn’t agree more 🙂

  2. Alan Metcalf 15/02/2021 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    I like your routes, but having lived around here for 40 years I thought I would send you 2 routes, that are very similar to your 2nd route but go on even quieter roads,
    The first one you divert off your route as you enter Wootton left into Church Road, and go around to Kempston West End and head up to Stagsden. Crossing the A422 into Stagsden then turning left at the church and going up over to the A428. A quick right and then left and head into Stevington, turning left in the the village and head to Pavenham. When you get to Pavenham turn left into Church lane and head to Felmersham. When you get to Felmersham, the Sun pub having been recently had a coffee stall outside and is a good place to stop. If you turn left and head to Chillington/ Carlton and when you get to Carlton you know your way back to Cranfield.
    Route 2 is slightly further and takes you more into North Bedfordshire and to start with is the same as Route 1 except when you get to the Sun in Felmersham turn right then left and down the hill until you come to T junction after a mile , turn right and head through Sharnbrook until you come to a T junction. Turn right and follow this road for about 2 miles when you will arrive at the A6. It is a roundabout so relative easy to cross and take second exit to Risely, at top of slight hill turn left down single track round. After a about a mile you will come to T junction turn right and follow this road for a couple of miles when you will get to a T junction, turn left and head through Risely, after about 1/2 mile and take the turning to Keysoe, called Keysoe Road. Follow that road for 2 to 3 miles and you will arrive at a T junction, turn right and go up the hill at the top turn right. Flollow this road for about 1+ mile and there is a turning on your right this will take you around the back of Thurleigh airfield and into Thurleigh village. When you get to the T junction turn right and follow the road for a couple of miles, arriving at a T junction, turn left and head down to Milton Ernest. Be careful here at the bottom of the hill is a T junction on to the A6. Do a quick right then left and head towards Radwell, go through Radwell and head to Felmersham. As you enter Felmersham you go around a right hand blind bend and after about 100 yards there is turning left which will take you to the Sun pub. Then it is the same as route 1 back to Cranfield.
    I hope you try them out and enjoy your cycling.
    My wife works in the CSA and I have emailed copy of the routes on a map if you want to see them. Her email address is g.metcalf@cranfield.ac.uk.

    • Gill Perkins 16/02/2021 at 11:22 am - Reply

      Super – thank you for such an informative response Alan 🙂

  3. Stephen Hobbs 02/03/2021 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    These are good routes: I think cycling’s an excellent way to see this part of England. Even places like Cambridge, St Neots, Oxford and the Cotswolds are all within reach for a day’s ride if you’re reasonably fit, and especially as the days get longer.

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