- County: Bedfordshire
- Nearest Town(s): Bletchley
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time: 45 minutes
- Height: 171 m
- Map: OS Explorer Map (192) Buckingham and Milton Keynes*
Some people spend their birthdays with lots of friends, eating cake and making merry. I spent my birthday this year dragging Nick to local trig pillars and outdoors shops.
To be fair, we had celebrated not once, but twice the previous day, starting off with a one year old’s birthday party (plenty of Pimm’s consumed as the sun showed it’s face) and a 30 year old’s birthday party (at a brewery, no less – a win all round).
I was fully anticipating Sunday morning to be a strong cup of coffee and an aspirin kind of morning but surprised myself by waking up fresh and ready to tackle the day. Starting my birthday off with a round of pancakes and presents, (many of which contained fun new outdoor and climbing gear, including these great insulated bottles and an unexpected Petzl GriGri) I decided a trip to Cotswolds Outdoor was in order, to spend my birthday voucher in there.
With nothing much planned for the day, we found a trig pillar in the right direction, fired up the OS Maps app and set out to find it.
Where To Park
There are a couple of options for parking for the walk in to this trig, but both are in the same direction. As you head up Church Road out of Bow Brickhill Village, there are two laybys on the left-hand side, next to the entrance of Bow Brickhill Park.
If the laybys are full, carry on up the road, following signposts for the church car park. There’s quite a few spaces here and we managed to park despite it being a Sunday with the church running its service.
The Walk In
The walk into the trig is pleasant, passing through Bow Brickhill Park. It’s very popular with mountain bikers, with some fantastic looking downhill routes, but be warned that some paths restrict access to bicycles and horse riders, or require them to have a permit, which you can purchase online beforehand.
Depending on where you park, you want to head for the afore mentioned laybys to reach the entrance of the woods. We parked in the church car park, but opted not to walk down the road, instead taking the track past the church and back up church road. In retrospect this was a bit of a detour, but it was nice to wander through the church grounds.
Entering the woods, take the right-hand path – it’s the less well pronounced of the two and we actually took the left-hand path initially, before realising and cutting back over.
The path winds through forest and then into more open space, where saplings are being nurtured. As the path leads back into more established woodland, the path forks. Take the right-hand path, with yellow arrows signalling the direction, that includes notices about the restrictions on cyclists.
At this point the OS map is a little outdated, not showing the path you’re now following. Regardless, the path is clear, if a little muddy, so you should be able to follow it no problem.
You’ll find yourself walking alongside the Woburn Golf Course, so remember to duck if you see a small white ball heading in your direction!
Keep going through the pretty rhododendron bushes and keep a close eye out for the trig pillar. It’s within a small clearing a metre or so from the golf course boundary and you’ll need to look behind you to spot it, otherwise it would be very easy to walk past.
The View From The Pillar
Since this pillar in a wooded area and surrounded by tall rhododendrons, there isn’t a view, so to speak. However, the area was pretty when we visited, with the purple flower in full bloom.
The Walk Out
The walk out encompasses the wider park and an Iron Age fort.
Carry on in the direction that you came until your path crosses with well maintained gravel paths. On your OS Map, these are not marked as paths, but are clearly intended for that use. We carried straight on ahead, the path eventually bringing us to the boundary at The Knoll.
Turn right and follow the path along the boundary, taking second path on the right (again, not marked as such on the map, but definitely intended for this use.) This path brings you round by the iron age fort, identifiable by the steep defensive mounds.
Turn right again to take the path running along the fort itself (you should have a steep incline to your left and a decline to your right. Follow this path, keeping an eye out for mountain bikes crossing the path on their way down, and some excellent tree for climbing.
Eventually you’ll pick up the path you started on – follow this back to the laybys and up the road to the church car park, if you’re parked there.
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