Monday, 3 June 2013

#1 Twinwood & Oakley Little Wood

10.51 Miles
176 Metres

Well back to the drawing board as far as the challenge!  So it was best I started someway as I meant to go on.  Exploring more of the paths around the North of Bedford seemed like a good plan.  There is plenty of good history up there, even if the landscape is quite flat and arable. 

Up a slightly hilly bit
Following my now usual route towards Clapham, I again headed up past the golf course towards the old RAF camp.  Instead of heading straight along as I have on numerous occasions I took a left towards Twinwood, an old RAF base, now used as a farm, museum and festival venue. 

Unfortunately the path only skirts the edge of the old airfield but plenty of the farm tracks are clearly parts of the old taxiways.  Twinwood was used as a training base and a satellite airfield of nearby Thurleigh.  It's main claim to fame was that it was the airfield Glenn Millar flew from on his ill fated last flight.

Well cleared bridleway
The path emerges onto Twinwoods road, which again shows it's heritage as it's a concrete road.  This road heads up to the old wind tunnel site, now used as a indoor skydiving venue (using an old vertical wind tunnel) and also home to Yarls Wood immigrant detention centre (notorious for being half burnt down, who would of guessed that it might not be a good idea to build it out of wood?).

Twinwood Road
Breaking off the road onto another bridleway, the path follows the perimeter track past a new anaerobic digestion plant and pig farm.  I'm sure you can guess what the main fuel is...

The whole area is very quiet though, so despite the industry, it's soon all left behind.  Following bridlepaths along the wide field margins, I soon came back to my usual route back towards Bedford and Manton Lane. 

Later looking on OS Get-a-map and its aerial views, I saw that it shows that the old airfield was bigger than I thought and I had crossed one of the old runways a few times on other walks.  It only shows up on photos when the field has been ploughed, but it shows up clearly.

The old runways.

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