The Ouse Valley Way

A footpath along the Great Ouse River valley in East Anglia, England.

Notes and information sources

1. Upstream of Bedford.

2. Bedford to Great Barford.

3. Great Barford to Roxton.

4. Roxton to Eaton Socon.

5. Eaton Socon to Earith.

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1. Upstream of Bedford (OS Map Explorer 208).

The Ouse Valley Way extends East from Bedford to Turvey and beyond. Footpath leaflets describing the path in 3 sections, Turvey to Sharnbrook (11.5 kms), Sharnbrook to Stevington (10 kms) and Stevington to Bedford (11.5 kms), are available from the Ivel and Ouse Countryside Project (Tel 01767 626326) . Alternatively from Bedford, just follow the public footpaths going upstream from Bedford Town Bridge on either bank of the river for about 2 miles, with connections across the river by footbridges at intervals. The footpath on the South bank goes to the pretty hamlet of Kempston Church End where it leaves the river and joins the road. The footpath on the Northern bank continues as the Ouse Valley Way. A circular walk leaflet giving 3 circular walks along the Ouse from Bedford is available from Bedford Tourist Office, St Pauls Square, Bedford. Walk 1 of Bedford's Riverside Walks gives a 5 mile walk upstream of Bedford.

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2. Bedford to Great Barford (OS Map Explorer 208).

Footpaths run downstream from the Town Bridge on both sides of the river. On the south side of the river the path follows the recently opened Ouse Valley Way Extension from Bedford to Eaton Socon crossing to the north side as it leaves Bedford. Leaflets are available on the route from the Ivel Valley Countryside Project, e-mail The walks leaflet Bedford Riverside Walks (available from Bedford Tourist Office, St Pauls Square, Bedford) describes the route along the embankment through Bedford and across Priory Park on the outskirts of Bedford to Cardington Lock. Beyond Cardington Lock the waymarked footpath follows the Ouse Valley Way to Great Barford arriving at Barford Bridge opposite the Anchor Pub.

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3. Great Barford to Roxton (OS Map Explorer 208).

Although a Public Right of Way follows the North bank of the Ouse downstream from Barford Bridge, it is not possible to continue towards Roxton this way. This footpath crosses the lock bridge some 200m downstream and proceeds away from the river towards Blunham. Unfortunately the Ouse Valley Way has to follow the road East passing the Anchor Pub and Church on your left, to find a waymarked footpath on your right by the Sewerage Works after about 1/2 km. Follow the left and right turns in this path to the river bank and then turn left to follow the bank all the way to a fingerpost pointing left (North) to Roxton Village. Note that on the way the right of way passes on the river side of a house by the river, crossing the lawns which run down to the river. To get to Roxton Lock, follow the sign at the finger post pointing straight on.

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4. Roxton to Eaton Socon (OS Map Explorer 208).

The connection between Roxton and Eaton Socon cannot be made along the banks of the River Ouse. Although public footpaths exist for part of the way along the Eastern Bank, both downstream from Roxton and upstream from Eaton Socon, they do not connect and require extensive road walking. Two problems exist on this section. Firstly the route has been altered to cross the new Gt. Barford bypass, and although the new paths exist, they need clearing and waymarking. Secondly the Ouse Valley Way between Chawston and Eaton Socon requires walking on a minor road through Wyboston village and then along the A1. There are public rights of way which would significantly reduce the road walking. Unfortunately these paths are blocked and although a Public Enquiry (Sept 2002) prevented Bedford County Council from extinguishing most of them, the County Council does not see fit to make them available for walkers in the near future. With two short quotes from the enquiry on these paths, that is "I therefore conclude that potentually this section would be used to a significant extent by the public..." and "It is the issue of relitive safety which concerns me most...", I leave you to judge for yourselves the dedication and competence of Bedfordshire County Council in maintaining of our public rights of way.

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5. Eaton Socon to Earith (OS Maps Explorer 208 & 225).

The Ouse Valley Way Footpath continues from Eaton Socon along the River Ouse to Earith. Walk leaflets are available from Tourist Information Centre, Huntingdon Library, Prices Street, Huntingdon, Cambridge (telephone (01480)-425831). The set of 7 leaflets describe the route in approximately 5 mile sections. North of St Neots the Ouse Valley Way passes through the Paxton Pits Nature Reserve. This area provides a number of circular walks.

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Last modified Oct 2007.