Led by Barry. With Eddie and Maureen and me. Dry, grey - good underfoot. 9 miles.
We walked from Yelden with its motte and bailey - considered to be the finest archaeological monument in Bedfordshire, according to the information board. They are yet to be explored and excavated, it says, and were used by the de Trailly family who were tenants, after the Norman invasion, first of the Bishop of Coutance, then of the Earls of Gloucester. The castle had fallen into disuse by 1360.
We walked from near the church, and turned right along the road. The castle remains were on our left, and we took the path just after them, zigzagging over fields following a way-marked path, eventually crossing the Knotting Road and into Melchbourne.
We had a look inside the church, which is fairly plain inside. It was rebuilt to a large extent in the 18th century. The foundations and tower are all that remains of the original 13th century building.
For some time after leaving Melchbourne we were within sight of the large Melchbourne House, in Melchbourne Park. The house was originally built for Lord St John of Bletsoe Castle in 1671. It was rebuilt in 1741, and is now divided into separate dwellings.
From here we walked past some M o D land with a sign declaring Danger - Poison Gas. Not inviting. This link gives a lot of info on the topic, including a clean-up operation in the 1980s. It sounds as though there may still be some contamination, more than 60 years later.
We followed the path round the edge of the wood, eventually picking up the Three Shires Way, and walking towards Newton Bromswold with its elegant church spire clearly visible for some distance.
Map and details