Bridleway 2 (Tempsford) and Bridleway 3 (Cambridgeshire)

Distance: 1600 metres Direction: E – W

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This Bridleway starts about 400 metres northeast of Tempsford level crossing (TL 180542). There are no car parking places east of the railway line so you need to find a safe place in Tempsford. To reach the bridleway, follow the tarmac road north alongside the railway line for about 100 metres. It begins just after you pass under the electricity transmission line at the 19th century Station Farm (TL 183544) and follows the road northeast alongside a field drain.



The mature hedge has a variety of trees including oak, beech, sycamore, rowan, elder, hawthorn and dog rose. It is particularly spectacular in late-April and early May when it is covered in blossom and the smell of pollen fills the air. 


Yellowhammers, Willow Warblers, Whitethroats thrive in these hedgerows. After about 600 metres, the bridleway leaves the road (TL 188544) and follows a mature hawthorn hedge east-southeast alongside the northern side of the field drain for about a kilometre.


This was one of numerous drainage ditches dug in preparation for the construction of Tempsford Airfield, to lower the water table of this previously flat, clay land. The drain flows west towards the River Ivel north of Tempsford. John Button, a former farm manager on the Woodbury estate, recalled finding brick foundations for one of the concrete runways up to nine feet (3.15 m) thick. They had been brought in from the bombed out cities of Peterborough and London.


You can see Cold Arbour Farm to the north (TL 193544). Some historians think that the word “arbour” was a resting place for travellers using the Roman road. Others think it was the deserted rooms or ruins of a Roman villa that provided cold shelter for travellers using this bridleway. High quality red Samian ware, bones and coins dating from between 161 AD to 378 AD have been found in the vicinity.


The bridleway follows the hedge eastwards along the field boundary until it passes through a gap in the hedge and crosses an old stone bridge into a grassy meadow (TL 185541). Cowslips can be spotted in early spring. Nightingales can be heard singing from bushes on early summer evenings and skylarks overhead. The Bridleway now follows the boundary between Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, or more correctly, the southwest corner of Huntingdonshire and becomes Bridleway 3. There are attractive views northwest to Alington Hill, the extreme western edge of the Greensand Ridge in this area. Looking eastwards you can see Boys Wood, Sir John’s Wood on the crest of the ridge. Highlands Farm can just be made out on the top of the hill and Stone Hill Farm just below it. Further east you can see Weaveley Wood, just north of the white-washed rear walls of Tetworth Hall. The red-bricked buildings of Old Woodbury and Woodbury Home Farm further south can be spotted in the woods further southeast towards Everton.


The bridleway crosses the corner of the field for about 100 metres and then turns east, following the same field drain for about 350 metres until it crosses the Roman Road (TL 188542). Reed Buntings and Sedge Warbler can be heard singing bushes alongside the drainage ditch. Just before the hedge along the eastern boundary of the field, a new wooden bridge has been built across the field drain. It is not signposted but, crossing it, it becomes Bridleway 10 which takes you south across Tempsford Airfield, The wooden signpost is a little further east. Bridleway 1 (Cambridgeshire) takes you north up the Roman Road up Crane Hill towards Highfield Spinney and Abbotsley Golf Club. Bridleway 3 continues straight ahead to follow the county boundary east-southeast for about 3,000 metres past Tetworth Hall towards Gamlingay.  

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