Short Walks in Bedfordshire

Cooper's Hill

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.

Parking

Parking is Free.

Parking addresses: Woburn Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2GQ, or  Station Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2QR.

You can park in laybys on Woburn Road, or else in one of Ampthill Great Park's car parks. The park is directly opposite Cooper's Hill on the opposite side of the road.

Alternatively, you can park for free in Station Road on the other side of Cooper's Hill, which is a residential area (so less acceptable to locals). However, it does seem that as you progress along Station Road to where the entrance to Cooper's Hill is there are less parked cars there anyway. So it's probably not a problem.

Google Map (opens in a new tab)

Park opposite AMpthill Great Park

Parking on laybys either side of the road.

Entrance to Coopers Hill

The Woburn Road entrance is adjacent to the rugby field.

Place/s to Eat

 

Ampthill Great Park (across the road) has a cafe, The Ampthill Park Hub, which serves hot food and offers indoor and outdoor seating. If you don’t want to eat in the cafe you could try the Chequers pub at: Ampthill Rd, Houghton Conquest, Bedford MK45 3JP (currently closed - as at 24/9/2020). The pub has a nice big outdoor seating area which is popular in summer, but generally you can find a seat. It also has a children’s outdoor play area.

The cafe in Ampthill Great Park

The cafe in Ampthill Great Park

Short Video of Coopers Hill

Note: The video is best viewed by clicking on the 'full screen' symbol that appears at the bottom-right of the video box once the video is playing. To exit full-screen hit your escape key or click on the symbol at the bottom-right again.

Further Information

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The Wildlife Trust here

Cooper's Hill here.

PDF with details

The pdf, below, contains address and parking location details similar to the ones on this page. Print out the pdf file if you want something to carry with you. Pdf opens in a new tab.