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Things to do in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire

St Mary's Church Marston Moretaine © Tom Cahill

The village of Marston Moretaine, also spelt Marston Moreteyne, with its 3, 700 residents is in a scenic part of Bedfordshire, between the major conurbations of Milton Keynes and Bedford.

The village is surrounded by fields and farmland. It is relatively flat countryside with a small tributary of the River Ouse nearby.

The village has a large church, built in 1340 and dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. It has a rare feature - a detached square tower which is situated about 70 feet from the main church. This bell tower is massive and solidly built with diagonal buttresses and a stairway in the thick walls. It dates back to the mid-14th century and holds a peal of five bells. All the buildings have a crenellated roofline and are Grade I listed.

Marston Moretaine Manor was once owned by Sir Thomas Snagge, Speaker of the House of Commons in the 16th century. He was buried in St Mary's Church, which now has an alabaster tomb of him and his wife.

The manor is still a lovely half-timber and brick building, now used as a restaurant and wedding venue.

Historically, Marston Moretaine was known for its brick-making and the surrounding area has many exhausted clay pits. Some were used for landfill and others are now lakes which are popular for water sports.

Present Day Marston Moretaine

The delightful village centre has several local shops, a pub, an Indian restaurant and a doctor's surgery. The village is served by two schools, Church End School and Shelton Lower School.

Near the pub, which has the strange name of "The Jumps", is a stone set in a field on the east side of the Woburn road. Local legend claims that the owner of the field was playing "jumps", probably leapfrog, on the Sabbath. The devil took an almighty leap from the church tower, landed on the stone and carried the miscreant off into eternity!

The local village hall is the hub of village social life with a number of clubs and activities. The village also has a sports pavilion and pitches which are used by Marston Moretaine football and cricket clubs.

As well as St Mary's Church, the village has a Methodist Chapel. The church rectory is to the north of the church and in its wooded grounds are a granary and a square pigeon house, complete with tiled roof.

Marston Moretaine is on the Marston Vale Railway Line and is served by the Millbrook station, about a mile down the road. The railway runs between Bletchley and Bedford and is one of only two remaining passenger sections of the "Varsity Line" which connects Cambridge and Oxford.

Things to do in Marston Moretaine

The nearby Forest of Marston Vale is a popular attraction in Marston Moretaine along with the Forest Centre and Millennium Country Park. This nature conservation area is a great place to see birds and local wildlife including the rare black hairstreak butterfly. Guided walks are available from time to time, organised by the Forest Centre.

A 6-mile circular walk also starts from the village hall in Marston Moretaine and is well signposted through Hunger Hill and the Thrift woodland.

Water sports recreation can be enjoyed on the nearby lakes which have been landscaped from the former clay pits.

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