A long-awaited Gateway feature marking Leighton Buzzard town centre as the start/finish for the Greensand Ridge Walk and Greensand Cycleway, a popular walking, trail running and cycling route within Greensand Country, was officially opened recently by Councillor Kevin Pughe, Mayor of Leighton-Linslade.

Both the Greensand Ridge Walk and Greensand Cycleway have been extended through a Greensand Country Landscape Partnership project – both are now 42 miles in length and stretch from the Bedfordshire town across the county to the EcoHub in Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire, where a second Gateway feature is also located.

The Greensand Country area is a sandstone ridge rich in wildlife and cultural heritage, containing all of Bedfordshire’s remaining heathland, around half of its woodland and more historic parklands than any other place in England.

Fill up your water bottle!

The Gateway feature has been designed by artist Steve Pardue of Differentia, who engaged with local people to help identify the wildlife and heritage features captured within the artwork which takes influences from locations, landmarks and wildlife across Greensand Country and along the route of the 42 mile Greensand Ridge Walk and Cycleway. It includes a new water bottle filling station, providing free drinking water to thirsty explorers and the wider public while reducing the use of single-use plastic bottles. It also incorporates the Greensand Country map illustrating both routes through Greensand Country created by local illustrator Sheree Murray of CuteMaps.

The Gateway has been created to mark the extension of the routes to the town centre, helping link users of the route to local shops and cafes. It also provides a focal point and photographic opportunity for people either starting or completing the Greensand Ridge Walk or Cycleway, and anyone wishing to explore and promote Greensand Country. 

The project has been funded by Leighton-Linslade Town Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership and a local charitable trust.

Find out more about Greensand Country

To see both gateways, intrepid walkers and cyclists will need to cover 42 miles between the two, spanning the entire length of the Greensand Ridge and taking in woodlands, parklands, stately homes and market towns. For those wanting to explore the area at a more leisurely pace, there are many shorter routes to discover within Greensand Country – to find out more about exploring this beautiful landscape, please visit www.greensandcountry.com which includes an interactive map covering a range of promoted routes.

At the opening Councillor Kevin Pughe, Mayor of Leighton-Linslade commented:

We’re delighted to see this project finally come to fruition and hope that it inspires people to get out and explore and enjoy the wonderful Greensand Country landscape. We believe it will bring benefits to Leighton Buzzard town centre and local businesses. We’d like to thank all the funders and those who have helped us make this Gateway feature possible.