Description and Walk
Cooper’s Hill is a part of the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It can be found directly across the Woburn Road from Ampthill Great Park; both places are worthy of strolling in.
The site was formerly known as Ampthill Warren. As with Sharpenhoe Clappers and Rowney Warren, rabbits were once introduced there to breed, with a view to supplying meat and pelts. This was most likely done by the Normans.
You might also be interested to know that the soil at Coopers Hill is freely draining, slightly sandy, and acid. Furthermore, the northwest corner sits above impermeable Ampthill clay (yes, Ampthill has a clay named after it), so the water table is very high and supports acidic mire and ponds. Just wanted to put that out there.
Actually, as a slight aside, I found a great tool for determining local soil types developed by Cranfield University here: http://www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes/ Hence the especially useless info above.
Walking around Coopers Hill does not take too long, but it depends on how much up-and-over the hills you build into your walk. We stretched it out to 2.3 Km. It seems just about the right length for walking the dog, judging by the number of quadrupeds we saw there. Be aware that this is not a major day out, though – it’s a short stroll in a pleasant place.
In additional to the pleasant surroundings there is a very nice, well maintained war memorial on the site, dedicated to those who served and fell in the two world wars. This deserves a look and perhaps a couple of minutes reading the names of the fallen.
By the way, I can’t discover whether it was one Cooper or several Coopers that the hill was named after, so I don’t know where the possessive apostrophe goes. Most websites I found don’t bother with one, but The Wildlife Trust thinks there must have been just one Cooper, according to their placing. The world urgently needs more pedants.
See our short video at the bottom of this page.