Parish Paths Partnership
|Route 1: The Miletree/Hockliffe Circuit
Start on Miletree Road. It's best to come out by train to Stonehenge Station as parking spaces are few and far between.
From the station, walk along the road for 200 metres towards Leighton Buzzard. Leave the road by the bridleway (signed) beside the water trough. This is Heath and Reach Bridleway No9. It is at least 200 years old and, because it marks the Eggington/H&R parish boundaries, it could well go back to Saxon times. Follow the waymarks, walk through two copses and across a ditch by a new culvert bridge (look at the old 'Gated Bridge' to the right which is to be restored) and you arrive at a bridleway junction.
You are now joining Heath and Reach Bridleway No3, another historic Right of Way, and you follow the waymarks away from Miletree Road through a third copse. These new copses have been planted as sightscreens for a planned sandpit, and if you study the line of the copses you can see where the pit will appear to your left! Just after you fork left to walk beside the brook (The Winterborne) look into the trees on your right and you will see the shimmering leaves of two Black Poplar trees. The larger is at the junction of two old field boundaries and was probably planted as a marker tree, while the smaller one is probably an offshoot of the first.
Cross the Winterborne at the footbridge on your right and look ahead to see the waymark posts. The first appears to be in the middle of the field, and the second is by the farm buildings. The 'kink' in the footpath (Hockliffe Footpath No14) is caused by an old tithe field boundary which had existed since medieval times and which was rooted out in the 1960s. The farm buildings, now Lanes End Farm, were the site until about the same time of a grand farmhouse called Lower Grounds Farm.
Keep the farm buildings on your right, and you will come to a finger post at the end of a lane (Pippin's Lane). Walk along the lane to the next bend, and in the field on your left you will see a finger post with two directional signs. Take the direction of the one on the right (Hockliffe Footpath No11) and walk up the hill to a stile.
Stop here to just enjoy the views!
Cross the stile, and the next, and walk through the manicured grounds of Hockliffe Grange (a Listed Building), past the pond, to a third stile.
From here head across the field (look for the evidence of 'ridge and furrow' agriculture), passing an older pond and keeping close to the tree line on your left. You will come to another waymark post and a stile on your left. You are now above 'The Lodge', another Listed Building. Stop here again for a look at the views (if you are in the right place there is an ideal sitting fallen tree!).
You cross the stile, look at the 'half-left' arrow on the waymark post, and set off across a ploughed field towards the sound of the A5 and a new yellow-topped waymark post. When you reach the boundary with the road, look for a ramp with signs of steps and with a dilapidated stile.
Turn left and follow the A5 northwards past the water station on your right until you get to Battlesden Lodge (also on the right). Battlesden House and park, just off the A5, are gems which are worth another walk. Opposite Battlesden Lodge fork left down a ramp (signed) and follow the field edge to a waymark post. Stop here, and look ahead to Fourne Hill Farm. This was the old Fourne Hill Manor, and there is speculation that the ramp you have just descended was the original drive to the Manor from Watling Street in the 1700s.
Turn left at the waymark post and follow the permissive bridleway. You are on the line of Hockliffe Bridleway No15, which was created by public inquiry in 1956. From then little happened until 2002, so enjoy being one of the first to walk the legal route!
Follow the waymarks along the edge of the field to a bridleway bridge over the Winterborne. When you get across the bridge look to your left for the next waymark post in a gap in the field boundary. The gap marks a culvert bridge, and the bridleway goes straight across the field from bridge to bridge.
Now follow the waymarks around the ox-bow (the line of the ancient Winterborne before it was straightened by prisoners-of-war in the 1940s) and back to the footpath bridge you left a couple of hours ago. Keep going, back through the copse to the waymark post at the bridleway junction, and now to complete the circuit go straight across the field (it is a bridleway!) to Stonehenge Station which you can see through the gap in the distant hedge.
We hope that you enjoyed the circuit. If you have any feedback, phone LB 237746.
This guide supplied by Dick Denton, February 2003