Greensand Country


The Old School, Cardington, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK44 3SX

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Greensand Country is an area of distinct, beautiful and loved countryside, stretching from Gamlingay to Leighton Buzzard. Its 40 miles of scenic landscape follows the Greensand Ridge and reaches three neighbouring counties, from Cambridgeshire in the east, across Bedfordshire to Buckinghamshire in the west. With a history that spans millions of years of evolution, Greensand Country is rich in wildlife and cultural heritage and is the ideal location for a weekend walk, a rural run, an exhilarating cycle or a gentle trot on horseback. Its scenic historic parks and open spaces are perfect for family days out, from sculpture trails in Rushmere Country Park and bug hunts at Ampthill Great Park to the whimsical Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth, there’s so much variety to explore.
The high number of woodland habitats in Greensand Country support important fauna, such as badgers and a wide range of bat species. Maulden Wood is a dormouse re-introduction site, and in some of the ancient woods rare species of butterfly, including the purple emperor and white admiral, can be found.

Wetland sites, including the Flit Valley, contain locally rare plants such as marsh fern, marsh violet and star sedge. The rivers have many beautiful native black poplar trees and ancient pollard willows, and the number of otters is continuing to increase across the landscape. In the east of Greensand Country is RSPB The Lodge Nature Reserve & Gardens and the wet meadows of the river Riddy.

From a bygone era, there remain a number of notable manor houses within Greensand Country, including Woburn Abbey, The House at Shuttleworth, Flitwick Manor and the ruin of Houghton House in Ampthill. The estate villages, such as Woburn and Old Warden contain distinctive styles of architecture. For example, the Duke of Bedford Estate buildings are generally built of brick, with gables and lattice windows, a style which can also be seen on a number of railway stations on the Marston Vale Line, which runs through Greensand Country; while the cottages of the Southill Park and Old Warden estates are built in a more elaborate ‘English Garden’ style, with thatched roofs, dormer windows, painted render walls and timber porches.

With British food revelations, such as traditional afternoon tea and the Bedfordshire Clanger, originating in Greensand Country there’s no shortage of great produce. From gourmet butchery at Woburn Country Foods to fine wines produced by the award-winning community vineyard at Warden Abbey, there’s lots of local tasty treats on offer. A range of pubs, restaurants, bars, cafes and delicatessens span the Greensand Country, offering everything from fine dining to a quick drink and snack.

For those visiting from further afield, or anyone wanting to embark on the 40-mile Greensand Ridge walking challenge, there are many Hotels, B&Bs, Lodges and Camping and Caravan sites across Greensand Country.

Family fun, walking, running, horse-riding, train-rides and craft activities were just a few examples of the 70 events that took place across the landscape, during the May 2018 half term, as part of the first Greensand Country Festival. Teaming up with many local organisations, from well-established walking groups such as The Ramblers and Walk4Health to new businesses including Kelchner Brewery and Higher Adventure Landrover Hire, the festival catered for a variety of ages, abilities and interests. Following the success of the first Greensand Country Festival, a schedule of events, activities, talks and exhibitions will once again take place across the landscape throughout May 2019 and 2020.

Visit for further information or email if you would like to host an event as part of the Greensand County Festival.

The Greensand Country brand has been established by the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, a Heritage Lottery Funded Programme, which was established in January 2017 and will be working until June 2021 on more than 40 projects that will help raise awareness of the heritage value of the landscape and to reverse the gradual decline in the distinct landscape character of this beautiful and loved place. 

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership is led by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and The Greensand Trust.

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