Greensand Ridge Gateway Feature comes to Leighton Linslade
A long-awaited Gateway feature is coming to Leighton Buzzard town centre, marking its special location as one of two start/end points of the Greensand Ridge, a popular walking, trail running and cycling route within Greensand Country. This sandstone ridge, which is rich in wildlife and cultural heritage, stretches from the Bedfordshire town across the county to Cambridgeshire, containing all of Bedfordshire’s remaining heathland, around half of its woodland and more historic parklands than any other place in England.
The feature has been designed by artist Steve Pardue of Differentia, incorporating the Greensand Country map, which was created by local illustrator Sheree of Cute Maps. The feature takes influences from locations, landmarks and wildlife across Greensand Country and along the route of the 42 mile Greensand Ridge Walk, Cycleway and Horse-Riding trails that branch off it. It will include a new water bottle filling station, providing free drinking water to thirsty explorers, and the wider public.
The Gateway has been created to mark the extension of the routes from their current start/end point by the Grand Union Canal in Leighton-Linslade to the town centre, helping link users of the route to local shops and cafes. It will provide a focal point and photographic opportunity for people either starting or completing the Greensand Ridge Walk or Cycleway, and anyone wishing to explore and promote Greensand Country.
The project has been funded by Leighton-Linslade Town Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership and a local charitable trust.
The feature will complement another at the eastern end of the routes, located at the Gamlingay Ecohub in Cambridgeshire. To see both gateways, intrepid walkers and cyclists will need to cover 42 miles between the two, spanning the entire length of the Greensand Ridge and taking in woodlands, parklands, stately homes and market towns. For those wanting to explore the area at a more leisurely pace, there are many shorter routes to discover within Greensand Country – to find out more about exploring this beautiful landscape, visit our interactive map covering a range of promoted routes.
Greensand Trust Director of Development Jon Balaam commented:
“We’re really pleased that this project has at last come to fruition and hope that it inspires people to get out and explore and enjoy the Greensand Country landscape. We’d like to thank all of the funders and those who have helped us over numerous hurdles to get to this point.”
With installation hopefully completing during April, an event to mark the completion of the feature is being planned for later in the spring, as part of the annual Greensand Country Festival which runs during May and early June.