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Things to do in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire

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.

St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Philip Jeffrey - geograph.org.uk/p/3498713

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

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 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 popular village hall is the hub of village social life with a number of clubs and activities. There's also a sports pavilion and pitches which are used by Marston Moretaine football and cricket clubs.

Marston Moretaine church detached bell-tower
Marston Moretaine church detached bell-tower cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Dave Kelly - geograph.org.uk/p/5441417

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 used to connect 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.

Visitor Centre at Marston Moretaine
Visitor Centre at Marston Moretaine cc-by-sa/2.0 - © M J Richardson - geograph.org.uk/p/2713983

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.

The Forest of Marston Vale

The Forest of Marston Vale is a Community Forest being planted in an area of 61 square miles between Milton Keynes and Bedford. The Forest of Marston Vale charity is dedicated to creating woodlands by planting 5 million trees in the Marston Vale area. Their aim is to improve the quality of life for people and wildlife alike.

Footpath at Marston Moretaine
Footpath at Marston Moretaine cc-by-sa/2.0 - © M J Richardson - geograph.org.uk/p/2714347

There are 10 separate community woodlands being planted within the forest. On the website, you'll also find planned routes for walkers and cyclists to help you explore the forest.

There are also activities and ideas for families with kids including activity sheets to print out and take on your visit. Find out more here: https://www.marstonvale.org/

The Millbrook Golf Club

If you fancy a round of golf, The Millbrook Golf Club welcomes visitors to its beautiful course. Its location on Greensand Ridge means that visitors will enjoy its stunning views over rural Bedfordshire.

The course was laid out in 1977, and has since matured so that13 holes are now lined with indigenous trees.

A noteworthy feature of the course is the links-style "pot bunkers" made possible by the sandy soil in the area. The Millbrook Golf Club has hosted the Bedfordshire County Championship, so you can be sure of excellent facilities.

Woburn Safari Park

Always a great family day out with the children, Woburn Safari Park lets you drive through 300 acres of parkland, and spot tigers, zebras, lions, giraffe, elephants and rhinos from the comfort of your car!

Marston Moretaine Village Hall
Marston Moretaine Village Hall cc-by-sa/2.0 - © M J Richardson - geograph.org.uk/p/2714141

As well as the road safari, the park offers a foot safari as well, where you'll get the chance to admire red pandas, giant tortoises, meerkats, otters, Capybara and many more.

Don't miss the shows including a fantastic Birds of Prey display, Birds in Action, Feeding the Otters, Sea Lions, Wander with Wallabies and more.

Historic Marston Moretaine

The village has a large 14th Century parish church, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. The church built in 1340, has a rare feature - a detached square tower situated about 70 feet from the main church.

There's another devil-related local legend which states that the reason for the bell tower's unusual location was that the devil was trying to steal it, but it proved too heavy so he dropped it where it now stands!

St Mary's Church
St Mary's Church © Tom Cahill

This bell tower is certainly 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 Moreteyne 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 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 are now lakes which are popular for water sports.

Famous Resident - Captain Tom

99-year-old Captain Tom Moore inspired the whole nation during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020 by walking laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine to raise money for the NHS. His plan was to raise £1,000 before his hundredth birthday.

Old Bedford Road Methodist Chapel
Old Bedford Road Methodist Chapel cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Mr Biz - geograph.org.uk/p/2181758

The second world war veteran's efforts succeeded beyond his wildest dreams and he raised more than £32 million! On his hundredth birthday, he received more than 150,000 birthday cards.

Captain Tom was knighted by the Queen in a ceremony at Windsor Castle, becoming Captain Sir Thomas Moore. Sadly Captain Sir Tom died in February 2021 at the age of 100.

Places to Eat

The Bell

The Bell offers a range of pub food, including lasagne, pies and Sunday Roasts. Guests can choose to eat in the lovely garden during the summer. Vegan options are available on the extensive menu.

Moreteyne Manor

Chef Mark Hickman and his wife Jacqui have run Moreteyne Manor since 1996, creating a country house restaurant with a great atmosphere in this stunning historic building.

St. Marys, Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire
St. Mary's Church cc-by-sa/2.0 - © nick macneill - geograph.org.uk/p/2172721

The husband and wife team continue to offer fine dining in beautiful surroundings.

Places to Stay

The Travelodge Bedford Marston Moretaine

This local Travelodge provides budget accommodation with the quality and consistency you can rely on from Travelodge. All double rooms offer a king-size bed, duvet and 4 pillows.

Stewartby Lake
Stewartby Lake © Dave - In Lockdown via Flickr

There are more than 50 parking spaces for guests at the hotel on a first-come-first-served basis.

Upper Wood End Farm B&B

This period farmhouse offers two comfortable double rooms with en-suites. Both rooms have lovely rural views over the Bedfordshire countryside.

The B&B is dog-friendly and if you're looking for a holiday with your horse - they can come too as there is stabling available and miles of local bridleways to enjoy.

Upper Wood End Farm also has two self-contained holiday cottages and plenty of off-street parking on the farm.


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