Introducing the Weneslawe Walk
Each month we will be promoting a walking route through Greensand Country. This month is the Weneslawe Walk around Sandy, Potton, and Biggleswade.
One of our wonderful volunteers walked the route recently and gave their highlights. What will yours be? Full details of the route can be found here: https://bit.ly/3IPoRSj
There is so much wildlife to experience on this walk, and you can explore the mosaic of habitats that make up Greensand Country.
The walk goes along Bedfordshire’s largest area of heathland, through the RSPB Lodge and onto Sandy Heath. Habitat restoration work at the RSPB, supported by the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, has created a habitat where Nightjars now breed. Take a walk here in August to experience the heather in full bloom.
Going through Biggleswade Common you might be lucky to spot a Kingfisher or Heron, near the River Ivel. This is the largest area of common land in the county and still being grazed as it has been for hundreds of years. It is this grazing that helps to keep the Common open and prevents it succeeding into woodland.
Soak up the history
Make sure you visit the Packhorse Bridge in Sutton. You may ask yourself why such an impressive bridge? Up until the 16th Century, Sutton was a key stopping point for cattle drovers coming into London from as far away as Lancashire, Leicestershire, and Derbyshire as well as packhorse routes to significant wool trading towns such as Dunstable and Bedford. The combination of cattle heading to London and local packhorse trade going north and South put huge pressure on the existing tracks and river crossings.
The ford at Sutton would likely have been made boggy by the hooves of cattle and packhorses that would both stop to drink en-route and cross the river. This would have made the ford almost impassable for normal traffic such as carts, those on foot and horseback. In cases like this, bridges were often built to allow traffic to bypass the cattle and packhorses using the ford.
The Sutton packhorse bridge dates back to the late 13th or early 14th centuries, and is constructed from coursed sandstone, a defining historic building material of Greensand Country.
Check out the Greensand Charter members en-route
There are plenty of places to stop along this walk, whether you fancy a drink or something to eat.
The family run Boundary Café in Potton offers homemade cakes and a menu based on locally sourced ingredients. Or you could try Lucy Jane’s bakery in Potton, serving breakfasts, lunches, and bread fresh from the oven.
You could also take a detour in Sutton to the John O’Gaunt, where you will find delicious, home cooked meals made from local ingredients, real ales and fine wines – all served in a friendly, comfortable, traditional country pub.