Having previously done a walk which basically looped south from Ridgmont to Lidlington, Mum and I decided to do the other half of the circle: north via Cranfield. Again, we were travelling on the local rail line. This time, though, we managed to start at the same station.

Ridgmont to Cranfield

We started along a footpath which was apparently an old 'wagonway'. (I think that's basically a railway that was powered by horses. It looked like an old railway, being in a cutting about wide enough for some tracks.)

Mum had done the same route last time, but on climbing up to the blue bridge, this time we crossed it to the left instead of going right toward the Round House.

The blue bridge.
1/180 at f8, 60mm, ISO100

We then had to take our life into our hands in crossing a busy A road. A lorry driver kindly slowed to let us cross. This led into a park.

View from the park toward Stewartby brickworks. The two huge buildings to the right of the brickworks are the Cardington Airship Hangers, used to build the famous R101 airship.
1/180 at f8, 60mm, ISO100

A footpath beside fields and farmland, skirting woods at a few points, took us toward Cranfield. The official footpath routes were signposted everywhere except where there might be some doubt; we took the wrong turn, but were able to figure out our location and get back on track without too much difficulty.

1/350 at f8, 60mm, ISO100
'Track Marshall' farm machinery in barn.
1/90 at f8, 10mm, ISO100
Barn sides.
1/60 at f6.7, 22mm, ISO100
Leaving the barn behind.
1/350 at f11, 18mm, ISO100

We arrived in the outskirts of Cranfield, which had a few interesting buildings.

Outbuilding in farmyard.
1/125 at f8, 60mm, ISO100
Presumably this used to be a roof beam. Of something.
1/90 at f5.6, 60mm, ISO100

Before too long we reached Cranfield church, at which point it began to rain; after investigating the church, we ate our sandwiches in its convenient porch.

Window high up in church wall.
1/60 at f2.8, 60mm, ISO200
Angel in the roof.
1/15 at f2.8, 60mm, ISO1600
An old stone font. There was a complicated story about this (there's a newer font too) and for some reason this one is not officially cleared for use. Insofar as they are 'used' anyway.
1/10 at f2.8, 60mm, ISO400
Part of the board listing ministers at the church, which we noticed while eating lunch. I don't think plague spores last 650 years, so our meal was probably safe.
1/4 at f4, 14mm, ISO800
Patterned stone bench in the porch.
1/30 at f4.5, 22mm, ISO800

Cranfield to Lidlington

We walked through the centre of Cranfield, which confirmed my previous suspicion that the place is a bit of a hole. However, it did provide a newsagent which sold us chocolate. After that we were basically heading southeast toward Lidlington, past a preserved woodland area and toward a section mysteriously designated as 'workings' on the map.

Looking across fields toward the 'workings'.
1/60 at f5.6, 60mm, ISO200
More 'workings'.
1/90 at f6.7, 60mm, ISO200

So the 'workings' turned out to be a landfill site - fine and all, except that around that area, the footpaths on the ground didn't seem to match those on the map.

Evil-looking metal tower things.
1/250 at f8, 60mm, ISO200
Flocks of birds around tall chimneys at the site.
1/60 at f8, 60mm, ISO200

After getting somewhat lost (and muddy), we eventually managed to find a place where the map matched the ground. This took us back to the road and into Lidlington, except that we decided to take the scenic route along footpaths rather than the road - fine, except the footpaths turned out to be directly across ploughed fields of extremely sticky mud. Still, we managed to clean off some of the mud before getting back on the train at Lidlington...

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.