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Discover: Mowsbury Hillfort and Putnoe Wood

If you’re looking for a short walk full of wildlife and history on the edge of Bedford then Mowsbury Hillfort and Putnoe Woods might just fit the bill.

From views over Bedford to woodland birds, there’s something for everyone. You can combine the two sites into one figure of eight walk or visit them separately depending on how much time you have.

View from inside the hillfort

The walk

To get to Mowsbury Hillfort from the Wentworth Drive entrance to Mowsbury Park, head through the park towards the second car park and turn right on to the road (B660), follow the roadside pavement until you reach the golf club. You then walk through the golf club car park until you reach the gate. Follow the footpath round the wildflower meadow until you reach the entrance to the hillfort itself. At the top of the meadow you can pause and enjoy the view over Bedford. In early summer the meadow is full of wildflowers, butterflies and other pollinators. Inside the hillfort you’ll find medieval fishponds, orchards and earthworks. Look out for birds of prey overhead, including red kite.

Mowsbury meadow looking towards Bedford

Once you’ve explored the hillfort and meadow, retrace your steps to Mowsbury Park.

The central walk in Putnoe Wood

There are a number of entrances to Putnoe Wood from Mowsbury Park. Once inside you’ll find a main perimeter path and a wide central walk. Narrower paths crisscross the rest of the wood. A small brook flows alongside one edge, separating the wood from the golf course. In spring look out for bluebells followed by blowsy swathes of cow parsley. By summer, the canopy has filled out and it’s easy to feel as if you have escaped the bustle of everyday life. Listen out for woodpeckers and visit at dusk if you want a chance of spotting a bat.

A bridleway leads towards the village of Renhold

If you want a longer walk, you can exit the woods at the far side from the park and follow the bridleway up towards Renhold.

 

Factfile

Start point

Mowsbury Park is managed by Bedford Borough Council. You can download a map of the park (PDF).

The car parks are marked in red. You can see the bridleway as a dashed line towards the right of the map.

Timing

Wentworth Drive car park to hillfort – allow about 20 mins (just over a mile); from the car park to the wood entrance is around a 5 min walk. Once in the hillfort or wood you can spend as much time as you like exploring the sites.

Terrain and access information

Main footpaths in good condition in Putnoe Wood although may be muddy in winter, adjacent bridleway can be very muddy following wet weather. The route to the hillfort includes a stretch of roadside pavement, the hillfort itself has footpath access which can be boggy following wet weather. There is a climb to the hillfort but the wood is level. Entrance is via gates. Wide hard surface paths in Mowsbury Park.

Parking

Two car parks, one off Wentworth Drive (nearest to facilities), one off B660

Public transport

Stagecoach East bus #7 

Refreshments

There is a small café in Mowsbury Park. There are also lots of places for a picnic – use the bins provided to dispose of your rubbish or take it home with you.

Toilets

Near café

Other facilities

Children’s play area

Friends Group

Find out more about the history and wildlife of the sites via the website of the Friends of Putnoe Wood and Mowsbury Hillfort. You’ll also find a map of the wood and a map of the hillfort.

Explore the orchard at Mowsbury Hillfort

Downloads

The walk description and map are available as a PDF – Discover – Mowsbury Hillfort and Putnoe Wood

Interpretation board in Putnoe Wood
Quernmore landscape