We've only lived in Bedfordshire for 3 years and are still discovering the best towns for shopping, where to eat out, and places of interest to take the kids. When I was young, I remember my parents would drive out most weekends to a nearby village to look round and get to know the area. So that seemed like a plan for today.
We fancied a bit of a walk, and my husband thought we could perhaps walk along a different section of the Kingfisher Way, part of which runs past our house. However, after experience last year of walking the section through Langford, which was very overgrown, I thought this might not be the best idea! After some research I found another route along an old railway line, between Sandy and Bedford (route info and map here). It seemed suitable for us because it was wide and flat, so OK for the pushchair and little legs.
We decided to park at Willington, because the path ran through the village and there were a few sights of interest there. I'd read about an unusual dovecote that belongs to the National Trust, so we started there. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my husband), it doesn't open until April, so I had to settle for taking a photo.
Driving back towards the village centre we saw a sign for The Danish Camp, which is where the path passed by, so we parked up. Adjacent to the path is 'The Moated Site', a wetland situated within a series of moats dating back to medieval times. The wetland is currently closed for the winter, but we could see lots of unusual birds through the fence.
The birds on the left are Mandarin ducks; I'm not sure what the others are.
These unusual birds are Golden Pheasants.
After a short walk, which involved my husband depositing chocolate decorations left over from Christmas in trees (from the local goblin population) for the kids to find, we jumped back in the car and headed home. Except "heading home" when I am navigating involves large detours to "see things".
First stop was Moggerhanger Park, which we had passed on the way. I'd spotted the sign advertising teas until 4 pm and got excited. We drove onto the estate, took a wrong turning, and ended up in front of the hall's grand entrance. "Keep going, keep going, I can see the way out!" We didn't get chased by an angry groundskeeper fortunately; we'll probably visit again in the Spring, looks like there are some nice walks in the grounds.
Next, we passed through a village called Cople, which has some pretty cottages and a beautiful Church with square battlements atop the nave. A short detour towards Bedford (we got slightly confused by the road signs!), we turned off the A603 and headed South again, through the village of Cardington. This village is dominated by the striking view of two enormous airship hangars. I never fail to be awe-struck by the sheer size of these buildings, and had to hop out of the car for a photo or two.
My iPhone camera does not do justice to the view unfortunately, but check out the links above for better photos.
Last stop on the way home was the pretty village of Old Warden, located within Old Warden Park (which contains the Shuttleworth Collection among other things). I like this place because it is full of quaint little cottages with tiny diamond-leaded windows and elaborate carved bargeboards.
The house aren't really bent by the way, that's my attempts at photography with an iPhone from a moving car!