Planted right in the Greensand Ridge Walk area that runs from Leighton Buzzard in Beds to Gamlingay in Cambs.
Chicksands Wood is a plantation of pedunculate oak and ash, which is in part owned by the Ministry of Defence. Parts of the perimeter of the wood overlook, with a very limited view, the MOD land.
There is limited parking at the wood entrance at Appley Corner so tuck any vehicle in tight to allow others to enjoy it too.
On entering the wood take the wide track that leads up the avenue of trees, known as Long Drive. After about 5-7 minutes walking up this well trodden avenue you will pass a now weathered monument to Lord Halifax.
A good 15 minutes walk further along the track forks. At the top
of the left fork at the end of Long Drive there is a monument to Henry John Osborne, ‘a good neighbour and true sportsman’. The Osbornes were the family who lived in Chicksands Priory and owned this wood.
However you should take the right fork, passing on your left the old railway workings, a relic of World War II when ammunition was stored in the wood. Follow the track almost to the farm gates. Turn right and follow the track down the hill. Go through the kissing gate,and follow the path round the electricity pole to the right. This is part of the Greensand Ridge Walk. You now follow this path, keeping the wood to your right until you come back to the road near Appley Corner.
The priory next to the wood has belonged to the MOD since World War II when it was used as a listening post supplying information to the decoding experts at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire.
During the 1950s to the 1980's the United States (USAF) also apparently used the Chicksands base in the cold war listening and intercepting the iron curtain transmissions using the "Elephant Cage" the large circular radio listening device once a distinct landmark on top of the hill next to Chicksands Wood. Now dismantled it only exists on photographs and in people's memories.
Take some time out to explore Chicksands Wood. It is a less trodden path and an extensive area of untouched woodland teaming with various wildlife and flora and fauna. If you reach certain points at the edge of the wood towards the Clophill end on a bright clear day the views across Bedfordshire can be quite impressive too. Just go and enjoy and experience it and stop in Shefford for some refreshment after.