Bridleway 6 (Tempsford)

Distance: c.1000m. Direction: E –W

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Bridleway 6, almost 1000 metres long, starts on the Roman Road by the farm buildings, stores and grain silos of Woodbury Low Farm (TL 196536). It takes you westward, past Woodbury Low Farmhouse, 22 metres above sea level. A row of apple, plum and pear trees has been planted on either side of the concrete track. Beyond the farm, an avenue of saplings runs for about 600 metres on both sides of the road, which will make an attractive avenue in years to come. Fields of rape, the yellow-flowered crop that produces vegetable oil, can often be seen. Once you pass through the gate at the beginning of a line of trees, you come to Woodbury Cottages, two agricultural labourers’ dwellings built in Victorian times (TL 188537). 




Woodbury Lodge Farm (TL 187537), a much larger property, was another Victorian dwelling for the farm manager. Ducks can be seen in the field opposite. The Bridleway ends at the next gate, beyond which is the entrance to Aerodrome farm. This was one of the main entrances to the airfield if you came from the A1 through the village of Tempsford and crossed the railway line. Important personnel were picked up by car from the railway station and brought onto the site. The skill, daring and enterprise of the base brought special visits from the top brass of the SOE and the Air Ministry. Sir Archibald Sinclair, the Leader of the Liberal Party, came and on 9th November 1943 there was a royal visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The Bedfordshire Times and Standard included an article on the occasion a few days later.


King and Queen Visit RAF Station

When a short train drew into a quiet little countryside station in Bedfordshire on Tuesday afternoon few people in the neighbourhood knew that two of the passengers were the King and Queen, who had arrived to pay an unofficial visit to an RAF station near by. The news of this Royal visit, however, had spread among some of the villagers, and a small group of onlookers, mostly women and children, had waited patiently at the level-crossing gates in order to catch a glimpse of Their Majesties. There was excited chatter among the spectators when they heard the approach of the Royal train, and heads were eagerly craned as it slowly came to a standstill alongside the platform.

While senior officers from the RAF and officials, including the Deputy Chief Constable of the County, stood smartly to attention, the RAF Station Commander was the first to greet Their Majesties as they stepped on to the platform. The King was wearing the uniform of Air Marshal, and the Queen was charmingly attired in an Air Force blue ensemble and fur.

Wing-Commander J.E. Pelly-Fry, D.S.O., the bomber ‘ace’ recently appointed temporary equerry to the King and Lady Delia Peel accompanied Their Majesties.

The station bridge obscured the view of the people at the level-crossing gate, but after a few moments the King and Queen came into sight, and children who were returning home from school stood spellbound upon recognizing the smiling visitors. Spontaneously the small crowd burst into cheer and waved. A mother picked up her little daughter, and the Queen had an especially sweet smile for the child.

At the end of the platform Their Majesties, who looked the picture of health and who were obviously in cheerful spirits, were introduced to the Station Commander’s wife and little child, and they chatted for a minute or two. Afterwards the Queen, with characteristic grace and charm, waved an acknowledgement to a group of women and children, and then Their Majesties walked over the railway crossing to a saloon car that was waiting to take them to their destination.


Once past Woodbury Lodge, there is a public road through a beech “tree tunnel” WNW towards Tempsford level crossing (180542). The upper branches have grown so far out that they merge to produce a shaded tunnel. Both sides of the road are lined with cow parsley, which, when in flower, their white blossom and the light green beech leaves produce an attractive walk to the railway line.


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