When you grow up in an area, and live there for most of your life, it is so easy to become dismissive of its beauty spots or attractions. There are loads of fantastic, beautiful walks around Bedfordshire, and yet I have barely done any of them.
So, in a bid to do my bit for Bedfordshire tourism, I thought I would write a little bit about a great river walk called the Kingfisher Way.
I did this walk with my parents a couple of years ago, and it was my first long-distance trek. We also somehow managed to time it with one of the hottest days of the year, which brought with it certain trials along with the joys of sunshine and warmth.
The route begins in Tempsford and ends in Biggleswade. It’s about 21 miles in length (one way!), but you can easily break the route down into smaller sections. Another plus is that the route is designed to follow railway stations, so you can easily head back to your starting point if you need to. (See a map of the route here.)
For our walk, we decided to go from Tempsford to Sandy, and then back again. No trains for us! This made our walk roughly 20 miles, or a little bit over. Luckily, we were graced with the previously mentioned glorious sunshine and clear, blue skies.
The Kingfisher Way is littered with gorgeous scenery, including quaint villages, churches, and mills. The river itself also provides plenty to interest – large dragonflies zip around and wildfowl cruise across the water’s surface.
As you follow the river round, you can lose yourself in the vast emptiness of the countryside and admire England’s summer greenery. But you can also wind your way back to civilisation by stopping off in a village to sample the ale at the village pub.
The route is very flat and easy, although if you are intending to walk far I would definitely wear a good pair of socks and some sturdy walking shoes. It’s also a good idea to take plenty of water with you – especially if the weather is as good as it was for us.
With the sun beating down upon us, I couldn’t resist taking my shoes off during a break and submerging them into the river. The cool water felt so good. I also gave my feet an impromptu mud treatment by deciding to clamber up the muddiest section of the bank. Oh well.
Once we had tramped our merry way to Sandy, we stopped for an essential ice cream break (and suncream top-up). It was then that I remembered that we had to walk all the way back again…
The return trip was walked with a little less gusto than before, but we made it. Matters weren’t helped by the fact that we had to ration our water supply a bit. It wasn’t until we reached the car that my mum suddenly rediscovered an extra bottle of water that she had been carrying. Sigh. Better late than never I suppose.
So, if you are thinking of a trip to the shire, why not give this walk a go?