Short Walks in Bedfordshire

Willington Dovecote Circular Walk

Description and Walk

This circular walk begins at the large Dovecote built by John Gostwick at Willington in the 16th century.

Dovecotes are used to house pigeons, either for sporting reasons, or else in preparation for the table. In John Gostwick’s case: a merchant, a judge, and a member of Parliament, the purpose of the dovecote would have been the latter.

Willington's large Dovecote

The route shown in our video, below, circumnavigates a part of the Grange estate, an area previously dominated by poplar trees, which were used by Bryant and May for matchstick production. The trees were felled in the 1980s to make way for sand and gravel extraction.

The Grange estate is now at the heart of the Bedford River Valley Park, an area now set aside for wildlife habitation, walking, bicycle riding and waterborne recreation.

On our walk, we more or less just followed the circular route mapped out on the signs that have been put up for visitors.

If you feel that you want to go exactly the same way you could download the MapMyWalk app (by Under Armour) to your smartphone and track your progress along the route that we took. You would find this walk by searching for the name we gave it, '4.88Km Walk From Willington Dovecote.'

See our short video at the bottom of this page.

Parking

Parking is Free.

Parking address: Church End, Willington, Bedford MK44 3PX.

There is a small car park right next to the Dovecote. In the unlikely event that it is full, you can park on the grass either side of the quiet road beside the car park.

Google Map (opens in a new tab)

Willington Dovecote car park

The small car park is rarely full

Church End leading to the Grange Estate

Turn right as you leave the car park and walk along this short lane.

Place/s to Eat

There are three obvious places to eat here: the cafe at the nearby Danish Camp, Frost's Garden Centre, or our personal favourite The Blossom Cafe, which is within the Willington Garden Centre.

Address: 109 Bedford Road, Willington, Bedford MK44 3PR.

Website: Blossom Cafe on Facebook

Opens in new tab.

The Blossom Cafe at Willington Garden Centre

Short Video of a circular walk from the Willington Dovecote by the River Great Ouse

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

All links open in a new browser tab.

National Trust Dovecote page here

Willington Dovecote map 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.