Cycle Lanes and Routes
Until you know an area, a cycle map is a good
way to start. For new cyclists, it’s worth planning out routes
before you set off. Even experienced cyclists can sometimes find
routes and cut-throughs they are not aware of. On this page we
list links to local maps.
Getting your map
Many maps can be downloaded from this site as
PDF files. Note that maps tend to be large files and may not be
suitable for downloading on dial up connections. We have noted
the size of the file.
Alternatively, in some cases, you can get
a paper copy by contacting Bedford Borough Council or
Sustrans (opens in a new
Urban maps are ideal for planning for local
journeys to schools, shops or work. Bedford Borough
Council is working year on year to expand the cycle network,
so maps do gradually go out of date. These maps can be downloaded
or paper versions of these maps are available free from the Borough
Bedford and Kempston (2010) (PDF document opens in new window):
This map shows the whole of the urban area. The map is especially
good for showing quieter links which might not be obvious. Side 2
of the paper version shows a detailed plan of the town centre
including cycle parking locations.
National Cycle Network Routes in
Sustrans (opens in a new window)
is a voluntary body which works with Bedford Borough
Council to build cycle routes as part of the National Cycle
Network (NCN). Where possible these are off-road or on quiet roads
so that as far as possible they are suitable for family cycling.
There are 3 NCN routes in
Bedfordshire (opens in a new window). Eventually these
will link up as a triangle around Bedfordshire, with the west
corner in Milton Keynes, the east corner in Sandy, and the south
corner in Welwyn Garden City. Note that some of these routes are
still in the process of being completed.
NCN 51 west section from Milton Keynes, via
Marston Moretaine, to Bedford: This is an Interim route, with
on-road sections and also currently a diversion because of
subsidence over one section. The final route will be built with the
NCN 51 east section from Bedford to
Sandy: This is a high quality off-road section following the
disused railway line. It is an ideal family and starter route.
NCN12 north section from St Neots,
via Sandy and Biggleswade, to Letchworth. Apart from
the section through Sandy, this route is still in the planning
stage. (No map available)
NCN 6 south section from Harpenden to Luton:
This section will follow the old railway line and is planned to
open in 2008/9. (No map available)
NCN 6 middle section from Luton, via
Dunstable, to Leighton Buzzard: This section is open and mostly off
road. “Marsh Farm” is the section through Luton and “Sewell
Greenway” is the section from Dunstable to Leighton. Download PDF
versions of Luton Area
Cycle Guide (PDF document opens in new window) for whole
NCN6 north section from Leighton Buzzard to
Milton Keynes: This section is open and follows the
Grand Union Canal. Download PDF version Grand Union Canal
- not currently available.
Other maps covering Bedfordshire are
available for sale (opens in a
new window) on the Sustrans website.
Routes north of Bedford:
North Beds Villages (opens in a new window): a
circular route via Thurleigh, Sharnbrook, Harrold, Rushden,
Swineshead and Riseley (33 miles).
The Ouse Valley (Opens in a new window): a looping route
going north from Bedford via Bromham, Oakley, Pavenham, Felmersham,
Odell, Chellington, Carlton, Stevington and back to Bromham
St Neots Riverside (Opens in a new window): a looping
route going north from Bedford to St Neots, via Wilden, Colmworth,
Bushmead and Upper Staploe (26 miles)
Routes south of Bedford:
Marston Vale (opens in a new window): a circular route
going south from Bedford through Kempston, Wootton, Marston
Moretaine, Ampthill, Maulden, and Cardington (27 miles).
Marston Vale cycle trail (opens in a new window): a short
circular ride (off-road) around Forest Valley Centre in Marston
Moretaine (5 miles).
Greenwood Trail (opens in a new window): a circular route
going north from Forest Valley Centre via Wootton, Wood End,
Stagsden, Astwood, Bourne End and Cranfield (23 miles).
Old Warden (opens in a new window): a circular route from
Cardington to Southill, Old Warden and Northill (16 miles)
The Thatcher’s Way (opens in a new window): a
circular route from Bedford via Willington, Blunham, Moggerhanger,
Northill, Southill, Old Warden and Cardington (24 miles).
CCNB (the Cycling Campaign for North
Bedfordshire) have a number of cycling maps and cycling leaflets
available for sale.
The National Byway is another
organisation creating cycle routes linked to historic monuments.
The National Byway runs through Bedfordshire. The routes are signed
by a brown sign with a cycle, but there are no detailed maps
Bridleways are designed for horses and
walkers. Cyclists can also use them, but the surfaces are only
likely to be usable by mountain bikers (and not always even for
those bikes). A number of historic long
distance and short bridleways (opens in a new window) pass
On-line route planning
TravelSmart allows you to follow cycle routes
on-line across Bedfordshire and surrounding counties. You can zoom
in and zoom out and click in any part of Bedfordshire.