Walk to Houghton House and King's Wood

I have searched around and most of the published walks are for at least 2 hours, so thought I would put together this short walk, which I think should take you about an hour, and then another 20 minutes to look around if you choose.

Ampthill Market market is in the main car park behind NatWest bank, and we are the nearest to the bank, come and say hello.  We can hold onto your purchases until midday, so you can go and wander and not miss out on the best cakes :)  Or we normally have quiche in various sizes, and small cakes - so take it with you, along with something to sit on and enjoy a picnic on the lawns of Houghton House.

Here is a sketch of the route:
Sketch map and here is the route for printing

As there is no parking in the centre for a stay for longer than 2 hours, you will need to park in laybys in Woburn Road, or in the park car parks, or in a side street, please park thoughtfully.

This route is mainly on gravel track, but there are places that are mud tracks and these can be very muddy in wet weather, so be prepared, and part of it is up hill.  There are no seats anywhere on the main walk, nor any toilets, both are available in the centre of town.  There is a seat just outside Kings Wood.
view from Church

Start at St Andrews Church see below for directions.

Follow the track that is on the left of the church as you face it, just past the Church you will see a track forking to the left (this will be where you will return), and a track to your right. 

Take the track to the right and follow the path through the old graveyard, through the gate and down through the new burial ground until you reach the gate to the gravel farm track at the bottom.

Turn left this is Gas House Lane.  Keep on this track until you go over the cattle grid shortly after you will see sign that takes you diagonally across the field to your right.  

Sometimes there are cattle in this field, so take care
You will be passing the building (Lodge Piece Farm) that is at the end of the track, on your left.  Go through the metal kissing gate.

Keep following the mud track. It turns to the right once at the end of the Lodge Piece Farm, and then left along the edge of the reservoir.  Then you will reach a track, you will need to turn left and then you will see a gate almost immediately on your right that takes you into the farm yard.

You have a few options depending how much time you have:

  • You can turn immediately right and wander up to Kings Wood, this is definitely worth doing if the Bluebells are out mid to end of April normally. 
  • Or you can cross the farmyard to the left, and pick up the track on the other side turn right and walk down to Houghton House. 
  • I would allow at least 20 minutes for each, to return back to the farmyard.
  • Or if you just want to head back to Ampthill, and continue in a circle, you need to turn left on either track, they join up and take you back to the main road to Bedford (B530).
NB this is part of the Greensand Ridge Walk

Once you reach the road, you will go left, you will need to cross over the road to the footpath (this is a bit of a pain, and can be busy).  Walk down the hill just a short way past the first house on the left, and you should see an entrance to a footpath, cross the road and go through the gate and follow the path.

This is Holly Walk, and it will take you all the way back to the Church, it is probably about ½ a mile.  You can just follow the road down into Ampthill.

So that is the basic walk here is more information:
Houghton House

Houghton House
Owned by English Heritage.  It was built in 1615, and by 1794 it was partially dismantled.  There are so many pictures and loads of information on the internet, just do a quick search.  Check out their website and download a free pod cast.






King’s Wood
Kings Wood
King's Wood is an ancient broad leaved woodland, that has been planted since mediaeval times. The commonest trees are ash and oak, there are also sweet chestnut, turkey oak, and sycamore at the southern end: hornbeam, beech and oak can be found in the middle. There are some beautiful wildlife and plants: bluebells, yellow archanger, wood spurge, wood aneomes, goldilocks, lesser teasel and wood speedwell.  




It is a beautiful quiet place, as you enter the path splits into 2.  The left path will eventually take you down to Houghton Conquest, and if you turn right at the first chance you have it will eventually take you back to the gate.  This will probably take 20 minutes at least.  The path to the right follows the edge of the wood more closely and you can exit out into the fields.  I have taken a picture of the sign as you enter the wood, which has a map and some information.


Holly Walk


Holly Walk
Holly Walk is a banked footpath made in the early 1820s for Lord Holland as a short cut to the church from Park House.  Thatched cottages were built at either end, the Church end one having been rebuilt following a fire with a tiled roof.








This the area of the farm where the tracks meet:
google maps
NB There is a small car park halfway through this walk at Houghton House. 

Directions to the church
Woburn Road for the park
This is the road from the A507 from the North/west direction eg Milton Keynes, Ridgmont, signposted Ampthill.  There are 2 car parks that serve the park, and laybys along the road.  The second car park is nearer to the town.  

  • Coming from Flitwick/Dunstable direction you will need to turn right into Woburn Road at the first mini roundabout 
  • From Maulden it is the second mini roundabout right into Woburn Road.
St Andrews Church is off Church Street, which is the road to Maulden, on your left as you head towards Maulden.  From Woburn Road head down the hill towards the centre of town, turn left cross the road to the ‘market square’, this has benches and the town’s pump. 

NB I have found a few printed leaflets for walks starting in Ampthill and will add them to the blog and website, look for the links.

Comments

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  2. I walked up there today, using a slightly different route, the return was the same as the onward journey to Kings Wood - it is on here: http://www.mapmywalk.com/workout/558721237. The loop at the top is just around the wood.

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