My family have always been walkers, whether it is local jaunts or hiking up great hills to see the spectacular waterfalls in Wales. I say hiked, on my part it was more like being dragged uphill when I was younger (I was not a fan of walking back then!). But these are the memories I really cherish from when I was growing up. Now I like nothing more than to spend time out in the countryside with my family navigating ourselves through somewhere new. Our latest venture took us to Aspley Woods, which is a beautiful place to visit as autumn approaches.
Length of route:
4.24miles (6.83 km)
Bow Brickhill Road, MK17 8QD
Cycling and Horse Riding only on permissive routes and they require a permit. Please call 01525 237 760.
OS Explorer Map 1:25,000 – 192 Buckingham and Milton Keynes
Map of the permissive paths in Aspley Woods:
Download our OS MapFinder app and record the route
Use OS getamap to plot the route yourself
Aspley Woods also known as Brickhill woods is a large stretch of woodland found between Woburn and Woburn Sands in Bedfordshire. Due to its miles of bridleways suitable for walking, cycling and horse riding and its close proximity to London it has become a very popular outdoor activity destination. For cyclists in particular it is a real haven. You are not limited to the public bridleways, (although these alone are a challenge!) if you obtain a permit you can explore different tracks including a downhill skills and jumps area.
For those of you who prefer to go by foot you will not be disappointed by the selection of plants and wildlife that you will view. Muntjac and Fallow Deer are regularly spotted along with many rabbits quietly grazing as you pass by. Also if you’re a keen ornithologist grab your binoculars and look to the skies!
There are three carparks around the woods situated off Longslade Lane, Bow Brickhill road and Bow Brickhill next to Woburn Golf Course. There are also others in the surrounding villages. Some but not all are pay and display, so take some change just in case. The route is circular and can be started at any point; feel free to deviate as there is a lot of woodland to practice finding new routes with your Ordnance Survey Map or App.
From the Bow Brickhill Road car park head straight forward and straight up Bow Brickhill. This is the steepest part of the route and I always find it best to complete it at the start! In wet conditions my recommendation would be to don your sturdiest walking shoe as it can get extremely slippery. If you want to make it up the 12% Bow Brickhill hill in one piece you will want all the traction you can get!
At the top you will instantly notice a difference underfoot, the extremely sandy soils make it almost beach like. The contrast between the woodland and the sand make for a beautiful backdrop to the walk. As you proceed to your right you will see the well-manicured Woburn Golf and Country Club home to the Dunlop Masters.
Keep going until you reach a fork in the path and take the left hand side moving downhill away from the golf course. When you reach Sandy Lane By-way, cross the road and continue along the path.
This path descends between old and new Wavendon Heath. As there are a lack of land marks keep following the path straight down past seven other main tracks and then bare left, passing Fuller’s Edge Lodge embankment. After this you will reach the A5130, cross here and continue the route the other side up through Shepherds Cottage. After you will descend downhill until you reach an intersection, go straight across it. (However before crossing it is worth turning left first and taking five minutes to visit Mermaids Pond, don’t forget to retrace your steps after!).
The woods offer no facilities, so ensure you pack a bag with some supplies. You could also venture off-route and stop in one of the nearby villages. Woburn Sands is a convenient place to pop in to as it is next to Aspley woods and just a few metres off of this route. It also offers the nearest public conveniences and has many places where you can stop off for some refreshments. The Swan has a great menu and prides itself on utilising the best local ingredients. Plus it has an outside area to sit in if you are particularly muddy! It is really easy to find as it is up on the left of the A5130 before you cross on to The Leys.
The trail now continues undulating through the woods for approximately 1000m until a split occurs and you can decide to go on through the woods, or up to the Milton Keynes Boundary line. Head the few feet up to the boundary line turn left and walk along it. It takes you up past some housing back to the A5130. Once here cross the road and head left on to The Leys. This is where you will find The Swan and the road into Woburn Sands if you want to take a break. Keep to the pavement and as the road curves to the right look out for the road on the left that heads down to Edgewick Farm. Follow this until you can turn right and follow the edge of Wavendon Wood back down to the car park where you started.
Good luck tackling the infamous Bow Brick Hill!