Lives and Landscapes – the Greensand Ridge north of Sandy

Jun 2022

Local Historian, Dorothy Jamieson, has released a book of her two years of research into the lives and landscapes of the Greensand Ridge, north of Sandy.

 The manuscript, which documents the Sandy to Gamlingay section of the Greensand Ridge Walk, archaeological details and maps, notable estates, churches, villages and parishes, provides a comprehensive insight into the unique qualities of this exciting part of Greensand Country.

On the very first page, Dororthy explains: “This lovely piece of countryside is remarkable because of the diversity of its soils, its trees, the variety of its brick buildings, the church and the palimpsest which is the Woodbury Estate. In the 19th century it was remarkable for its flora and fauna, and I hope that these are still remarkable today.”

 Asked about her background and relationship to the landscape and why she is particularly interested in the area of the Ridge north of Sandy, Dorothy told us: “I started my working life as a caterer, and after the birth of my two daughters returned to work at Bedford College as a lecturer. Some of my most enjoyable experiences were when I taught on the City and Guilds course for part-time teachers. They were such diverse groups from different backgrounds, everyone from wood-carvers and sociologists, to nurses and dietitians.

 “When I took early retirement, in 1992, one of the first things I did was join the National Trust volunteer team of garden guides at Stowe Landscape Gardens. I have been a National Trust volunteer and a perpetual student ever since. After some years their archaeologist, Gary Marshall suggested that I took an interest in the Tudor buildings at Willington, so that led me to the northern edge of the Greensand Ridge, which continues to fascinate me to this day.

 “With help from friends and Bedfordshire Records, I published my book ‘Willington and the Mowbrays’ as Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, volume 95, in 2019. I then took on a second degree. Without taking a first one! Leicester University accepted me on a Master of Arts Research Degree in English Local History which I successfully completed.

 “Perhaps my proudest moment was when Willington Local History was founded so that the National Trust’s Willington volunteers could receive a Heritage Lottery Grant of over £8,000. It produced a spectacular Timeline (in the Stables), a lovely interpretation board (by the National Trust Car Park), paid for a survey of the Stables by Nicholas Cooper, and produced a Heritage Trail of the village.

 “So, when I was asked to do some research into the Greensand Ridge, north of Sandy, I jumped at the chance and two very enjoyable years was the result. Lots of lovely people shared their specialisms, memories and knowledge with me and I hope that you will enjoy the result.”

 Download and read Dorothy’s book at

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Categories: Greensand Festival