Cambs. Bridleway No. 3

Distance: c.2,800m Direction: ESE - WNW

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This bridleway follows the County Boundary between Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire and was one of the ancient routes between Gamlingay and Tempsford. It forms the northern part of the Skylark Ride, East Bedfordshire’s 36 km circular horse ride from Sutton, through Wrestlingworth, across Biggleswade Common, up through Sandy Warren to the Roman Road. So, if you don’t meet up with any horse riders, you will see plenty of evidence of horses’ hooves in the mud along the way.

It starts about 600 metres from the end of the Greensand Ridge Path, just in front of Tetworth Hall (TL 219529) and follows the access road from the Gamlingay Road to the Hall. Here it turns northwest just after the small red-bricked 18th century Dells Cottage. The first few hundred metres are a metalled track which takes you between Tetworth Hall to the southwest and some wood shingle clad estate cottages to the north.  Depending on the time of year you should notice several mature cherry trees beside the road. Once past the cottages the road turns into the back of the Hall.






You can see black corrugated iron barns, black Bedfordshire weatherboard stable blocks and a woodshed. Bridleway 3 continues along the now concreted track and descends a 1:17 slope down the ridge. Some tipping of bricks and sand is an attempt to raise the bank alongside the ditch. This drains into what is thought to be a medieval fishpond (TL 217534), in the woods at the bottom of the hill. This is part of a significant moated site of the half-timbered Valley Farm (TL 216535). It is fed by a number of springs emerging along the junction of the impermeable Oxford Clay. Dickie Dodds, the Essex bowler who lived there for years, told that there used to be a huge stone circle in prehistoric times. The house was built around 1650 on the site of a deserted medieval village in part of Canon's Manor, The nearby medieval cottages burnt down, whether during some conflict or accident is unknown. There were three groves of oak trees behind the house and the present oaks are their descendants. (Author’s conversation with Dickie Dodds, St. Neots) Drainage work for the construction of Tempsford Airfield during World War Two and in the years following have lowered the water table so the moat no longer is fed with spring water.  The woodlands behind the house are called the Long Spinney, protecting the house from the northerly winds.


Maybe you will see a herd of cattle grazing in the field of pasture opposite Valley Farm. Rather than following the farm track to the black, corrugated iron farm buildings in the trees, the bridleway continues across the field to the northwest and then does a right-angle turn, almost due south. You pass a small pine plantation and meet up with the track on the other side. It then turns northwest again and follows the northern side of the hedge along the Cambridgeshire – Bedfordshire county boundary for just over two kilometres, over Dean Ditch (TL 207537), past Gilrags Coppice (TL 203539) and over two footbridges to cross the Roman Road (TL 198542). There used to be another 19th century farm called The Elms at the northwest of this junction which was dismantled during the construction of the secret airfield to give the impression that the area was deserted.









The Roman Road south takes you along the Everton and Tempsford parish boundary past Woodbury Low Farm and across Tempsford Airfield towards Sandy. This forms the western part of the Skylark Ride. The route north takes you up Bridleway 1 past Highfield Spinney to meet Drewells Lane on the road to St Neots. Bridleway 3 continues for about 300 metres along the northern bank of one of the drainage ditches towards Cold Arbour Farm. At the end of the hedge it opens into a U-shaped meadow and you cross it join Bridleway 2 (Tempsford) at the southwest corner of the field (TL 185542).


This follows a hawthorn hedge on the northern side of a drainage ditch for about 800 metres until it meets the minor road (TL 177544).


Following this road west, Bridleway 2 ends at Station Farm, 300 metres northeast of Tempsford level crossing (TL173544).  


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