Walk 35: Woburn Circular: Getting ‘wild’ with the locals

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 8 miles (12.9km)

Time to walk: Roughly 3.5 hours, but you may get distracted, plus there’s a fab pub to stop at en-route

Difficulty: A flat easy walk, pretty much all off road on grassy tracks. There are some sections through woodland which look like they could get muddy, although it was all dry when we did the walk in April 2015

Parking: Free car park in Park Street, Woburn. What3 words cornering.dance.racetrack

Public toilets: Cafes etc in Woburn or the great pub in Eversholt

Map of the route: 

This walk’s a little bit different than some we’ve done as you never know what you’re going to encounter on the way – you’ll see what we mean!

We start in the lovely Georgian village of Woburn, home to more than 200 listed buildings, a stately home & a Safari Park. It was also listed in a 2013 Sunday Times poll as one of the best places in Britain to live

It was also chosen by Center Parcs as the location for their fifth holiday village which opened in 2014

We’ll have a look at the attractions as we encounter them so…

Let’s Walk!

1. The free car park in Woburn is in Park Street opposite the church of St Mary


On the fence as you enter the car park is a leaflet holder which contains useful leaflets about ‘what’s on’ in the village

2. Turn left out of the car park & head towards the village centre…


…& then left along George Street…


Woburn has some nice eating places – across the road’s a Loch Fyne, & on this side’s Oliviers, which we’re passing now & has a nice menu…


IMG_96183. Continue along the street passing a very nice Monkey Puzzle Tree…


…& on the opposite side, the Royal Oak…



There’s always plenty going on in the village…


This is more our scene...

This is more our scene…

4. There’s our first view of Woburn Abbey on the left…

IMG_9627Upon reaching Ivy Lodge turn left through the side gate to enter the path which leads into the Deer Park…




5. This narrow path runs for about 300 yards before passing through another gate into the Park itself…




Woburn Abbey Deer Park covers 3,000 acres & is home to 9 species of deer making it one of the largest private conservation parks in Europe. These include Pére David’s Deer, which the 11th Duke helped to save from extinction

6. It’s obviously really important that we stick to the marked path, so turn right & follow the ‘Circular Path’ markers around Basin Pond…



Basin Pond’s over to the left…


…& on the right’s our first glimpse of some of the residents…



7. Keep following the markers until reaching the road by the bridge. The Abbey’s over to the left…


…but this is a no-go direction so our path follows the road up the hill to the right…



8. Eventually, as we gain height, there’s a good view back to the Abbey…


The family seat of the Duke of BedfordWoburn Abbey was founded as a Cistercian abbey in 1145. Henry VIII took it from them & gave it to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford when it became the seat of the Russell family & the Dukes of Bedford

When the 12th Duke died in 1953, his son was exposed to heavy death duties & the Abbey was a half-demolished, half-derelict house. Instead of handing the family estates over to the National Trust, he kept ownership & opened the it to the public for the first time in 1955

In 1970 he did something more radical by opening Woburn Safari Park in the grounds of the Abbey

9. It’s quite a trek walking up this road, but we are walking in some beautiful parkland & there’s groups of deer everywhere…



10. Eventually the road splits at a triangle…


…& our path lies straight ahead through the trees to the left of the fence of the tudor-style house…



11. The exit out of the Deer Park is through the gate in the wall on the right…


Walk through the small copse & turn left at the waymarker, following the edge of the field to the wood…




…& straight on through the gap…



12. The path markers are really easy to follow with the route changing from woodland to open field & back again…




13. The path follows the wall of the Deer Park so keep going straight, ignoring other paths to the left & right…



…until reaching a path that goes off left by some fallen trees – the path marker has fallen & is laying against the tree on the left…

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Eventually it emerges into a field &, at the next marker, head right towards some bushes that look very much like bamboo. If possible walk straight through it, however if it’s spread,…walk past the bamboo & veer to the right. You will see footpath signs. Down about 3 steps & go left & you are back on track.

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IMG_970314. On emerging you’ll be able to see a lake ahead through the trees…


…where our path joins another coming from Basin Pond


15. Another path heads off diagonally right here, but keep straight ahead following the Circular Walk direction…


…across the bridge in the middle of the field & out through the gate in the hedge. Eversholt church can be seen across to the left…




16. Be careful as this is a busy little road. Turn left & head into the lovely village of Eversholt…


They like their gardens round here…




17. Eversholt was mentioned in the Domesday Book and is over 1000 years old. Its name comes from Anglo-Saxon meaning “wood of the wild boar”…


Follow the road round to the left past the church of St John the Baptist…


Have to say we love Eversholt – they’ve even done a memorial around the telephone box to the village pump…



18. So….ready for some refreshment (& on a hot day like today we were!) head into the yard of a superb pub…The Green Man…



The Green Man really is a cracking pub with great ales & food although, because it was a hot day, we did get a few strange looks at our bedraggled state when walking in & asking for the coldest beer possible!!

19. And that was most welcome, but now let’s crack on turning right out of the pub past a fabulous village cricket ground – we can really imagine a hot summers day sitting with a pint watching a game here…


20. Head up the road passing the facilities of Eversholt Hall…



On the right’s a very impressive property that’s having its chimney replaced…




21. Just after the house above turn left onto Woburn Road which was closed to traffic today…



22. The road climbs quite steeply to the small hamlet of Hills End…



…before descending to Froxfield…



23. At the junction turn left back into the Deer Park & then turn immediately right onto the grass path…



That's not good!

That’s not good!

There’s the path on the right…


24. It’s good be back off road again &, like when we first entered the Park, it’s a case of follow the marker posts up the hill & round to the right…



Another part of the herd

Another part of the herd

25. Now…the signs say keep to the grass track & although it’s tempting please do so, otherwise you’ll be trespassing & likely to get a telling off

Strewth that’s a Black Bear & a Wolf!!



We told you this walk was different & it’s shortly to get even better! This of course is Woburn Safari Park which we’ll look at closer in a bit, but for now lets keep going…

26. The grass path runs adjacent to the hard road towards Trusslers Lodge…


Keep looking across to the left to see what’s roaming around…


27. Pass over the cattle grid & out of the Deer Park again, looking for a signpost on the left leading into the woods…



28. The path descends through the wood towards an open large wooden gate – hang on…what’s that through the trees…




What a bonus!


29. To the left is the entrance to the Safari Park so walk towards it & then turn right down the road with the telephone box…




Woburn Safari Park first opened in 1970 as a means to help improve the financial position of the estate & restore the Abbey, which had fallen into disrepair. The 11th Duke of Bedford had been president of the Zoological Society of London & had introduced various species such as American Bison, Deer, Antelope, Lion & Tiger to the park

The park lets animals roam freely while visitors drive through their enclosures. The species include Rhinoceros, Elands, Scimitar Horned Oryx, Addax, Gemsbok, Giraffes, Ankoles, Zebras, African Wild Asses, Elephants, Camels, Bisons, Bongo, Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Black Bears, Patas monkeys & Barbary apes

The Park also has a leisure area featuring animal talks, petting zones, a gift shop, family restaurant & the Go Ape! ‘high wire forest adventure’ course, which we’ll pass later

Animals in the leisure park include lemurs, squirrel monkeys, wallabies, emus, penguins, goats, ponies, reptiles & some free ranging marmosets

30. Continue up the road looking for the new path on the left….

It’s very clearly marked so go through the gate

31. Follow the clearly marked track up the hill…

Look to your left where hopefully you’ll see some elephants (you need to zoom in to get a good photo)

32. Continue following the path towards the trees…

…where it ends & again, there’s a clearly defined waymarker showing the way

33. Carry on along the woodland path…

Follow the yellow markers & turn right, when instructed onto the tarmac track

34. Walk along the road…

…until you get to 2 yellow markers showing a track off to the right – follow this path

35. Soon you’ll arrive at the t junction in the picture below…

Turn left & go straight over the tarmac track back into the woodland as in the picture below

36. Now follow this track…

…until you get to the gatehouse, Crawley Lodge. Pass through the gate to arrive at the main road…

37. Cross the main road & turn right & then first left up Horsepool Lane…

…looking out for a path signpost immediately on the left…


38. Enter the field & head right towards the woods…




…across a bridge & to a wider track…



39. On reaching this track turn left & follow it for roughly 1 mile until reaching Birchmoor Farm…




There was originally a long avenue of horse chestnut trees along here that succumbed to ‘bleeding canker’. The ones we’re walking through now were part of the replanting programme started in 2013

40. If you’ve survived the snappy Jack Russell pass through the gate & head straight on…



…until reaching the hedge where we need to turn left to follow the path to Birchmoor Green



41. The track finally joins a road passing through the hamlet to reach a main road…


Nice hamlet

Nice hamlet


42. At the main road turn left & follow it back into Woburn…



There’s lots of nice buildings, shops & restaurants along the main street…






43. On the right’s Old St Mary’s Church & the Woburn Heritage Museum. Plus there’s reference to the Queen Eleanor Crosses as there was allegedly one here – we have one in Northampton by Delapre Park…



The Eleanor crosses were a series of twelve lavishly decorated stone monuments topped with tall crosses of which three survive nearly intact in a line down part of the east of England. King Edward I had the crosses erected between 1291 & 1294 in memory of his wife Eleanor of Castile, marking the nightly resting-places along the route taken when her body was transported to London

44. At the junction turn left back into Park Street & to the car park where we started

So that’s it – a fantastic 8 mile walk that has many hidden bonuses plus a great pub to stop for refreshments around halfway

It’s definitely a walk we’ll be doing again as we’re sure you’ll see something different every time

Go Walk!!

32 Responses to Walk 35: Woburn Circular: Getting ‘wild’ with the locals

  1. Darren Pentelow says:

    Fantastic walk with detailed directions and pictures.

  2. Pingback: Woburn walk | Five Bean Soup

    • Hi & thank you for your feedback. We would point out that this walk is indeed on ‘Northamptonshire Walks’ blog, but is under the tab “Walks outside Northamptonshire” along with others we’ve done outside the county

      Hope that clarifies thanks

  3. duncan says:

    Anybody got a gpx file of the route please ?

  4. rob camplisson says:

    did the walk today , 8 th Sept and really disappointed to find The Green Man pub was closed all day !!!!!!!!!!! schoolboy error as one bottle of water was not enough for an 8 mile walk LOL , Other than that , walk was fantastic and seeing all the animals FOC too !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. michelle fallenmadonna says:

    Trying it today, v l8vely (only1 DC has laid down & cried, 10 years), sadly the days are getting shorter. We’ve stopped at the Green Man pub, but think we’ll run out of daylight b4 we get to the animals! Its a circular walk.. but we’re looking for a short cut (had to do.Music School for half a day first)

    • Bless – hope you manage to get there. Sadly there aren’t really any short cuts. When you come out of the estate after the animals you could just turn left & follow the road back to Woburn instead of continuing across the fields

  6. Janette Grose says:

    This was a lovely walk, very well sign posted, with a variety of scenery, woodland, fields, deer park etc. We also saw brown bears and elephants and wallabies in the safari park. A bit muddy in places, but it was October! My only comment would be that myself and my husband both tracked the walk and it was a fraction under 10 miles, certainly not the8 miles stated. Loved the commentary on the walk details, very clear. Thank you.

  7. Rob Pugh says:

    Thanks for this very pleasant and varied route. I walked it today (my first from northamptonshirewalks) and thoroughly enjoyed it!
    I thought I should make you aware of a Central Bedfordshire Council order which has been made to close the footpath which currently runs alongside the elephant enclosure (“Footpaths nos. 1 & 7, Husborne Crawley”) and replace it with a new “fenced corridor” further to the northwest. Dave, I have a couple of photos of the notice, which includes a map of the changes – let me know if you want me to share them. If anyone wishes to object, the closing date for that is 23rd October, i.e. this Friday.
    The change would still allow this walk to be completed with the short diversion but the new path would, sadly, be a considerable distance from the elephant enclosure, so no more free elephant encounters. The rationale given in the order is to improve the welfare of the elephants by allowing them continuous unhindered access to their paddock on the other side of the road.
    Needless to say, even if this goes ahead, it’s still a fantastic walk with great variety to recommend it.

  8. Jo says:

    Hello! Is this walk suitable for dogs?
    Thank you

  9. Peter Chambers says:

    Brilliant walk BUT you will be advised to wear a good pair of wellies as there are some very wet and muddy sections at the moment.

  10. Catherine says:

    This walk took us 11.5 miles followed to the letter. Great walk and such wonderful sites but was not expecting the extra millage. 😳

    • Hi Catherine – it’s a fab walk isn’t it.

      Your comments about the mileage are interested & not unexpected. Depending on what walking apps our people use, everyone measures differently ranging from 8 miles to 12 miles 😉

  11. Katie says:

    Nice! I have done this route myself and it was fantastic. The ostriches were intrigued by us – they started to run along side fence and get excited. (They’re parlour to the elephants). It was the highlight of our day, haha.
    Shame that now a request has been put through to close the path despite it being there for many many years. I’m gutted.

  12. Ray says:

    Great walk on a beautiful January day. There are new marker posts between the Paris House and Eversholt marking the ‘Woburn and Eversholt Circular’ which makes it easier and a good path through the bamboo. Path by the elephant enclosure was still open today.

  13. Betsy says:

    This really helped me and my husband today. Fantastic detailed instructions; the pictures really helped. We had a lovely lunch at the Green Man pub (thanks for the recommendation)
    It really is a great walk and we saw elephants, rhino’s and a giraffe!

  14. Mick fraser says:

    Thank you so much for taking the Time to do this for everyone we did this walk today and it was brilliant thanks to the detailed route and of course in this heat we had to end the walk in the bell for a nice cold one would have been rude not too

  15. Just we says:

    Would suggest curtailing the walk that is the last couple of miles over fields to Birchmoor for no reason when you can turn left and follow the abbey wall back to Woburn. That must cut a mile off and there is a pathway. Do this if tired an we’re expecting 8 miles not 10!

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