|Area:||465 square miles|
|County flower:||Bee orchid |
The County of Bedford is a shire in the southern Midlands, lying between Huntingdonshire to the north-east, Northamptonshire to the north, Buckinghamshire to the west and Hertfordshire to the south-east.
The county is generally low-lying, though the southern end of the county is swept by the chalk ridge of the Chiltern Hills, where the county's highest elevation is found, at 800 feet, on the Dunstable Downs. The rest of the shire is part of the broad drainage basin of the River Great Ouse and its tributaries.
The traditional nickname for people from Bedfordshire is "Bedfordshire Bulldogs" or "Clangers", this latter deriving from a local dish comprising a suet crust dumpling filled with meat or jam or both.
Luton has long been an industrial town, which fuelled its growth into the county's largest town, maintained by its location by the M1 and the A5 and Luton Airport. Other towns on the A1, A5 and M1 corridors have likewise seen commercial development.
Bedford is not on the major north-south routes but has long been a commercial centre in its own right.
Bedfordshire is the location of a number of notable British and international companies which have either headquarters or major bases in the county.
|Accessible open space|
| ||Museum (free/not free)|
- Bedford Castle
- The Corn Exchange, Bedford
- Bedford Museum and Art Gallery
- Bedford Park
- Cardington (R101 airship hangar)
- Chiltern Hills
- De Grey Mausoleum
- Dunstable Downs
- Elstow Moot Hall
- Houghton House
- Leighton Buzzard Light Railway
- Luton Hoo
- Luton Museum and Art Gallery
- Marston Vale Community Forest
- Mossman Collection
- Priory Country Park
- RAF Henlow
- RSPB: The Lodge, Sandy
- Someries Castle
- The Shuttleworth Collection
- Stockwood Craft Museum
- Wardown Park
- Waulud's Bank
- Whipsnade Wildlife Park
- Whipsnade Tree Cathedral
- Willington Dovecote and Stables
- Woburn Abbey
- Woburn Safari Park
- Woodside Farm and Wildfowl Park
- Wrest Park Gardens
Although not a major transport destination itself, Bedfordshire lies on many of the main transport routes which link London to the Midlands and the North.
Two of England's six main trunk roads pass through Bedfordshire:
- The A1 London to Edinburgh road (The Great North Road) runs close by Biggleswade and Sandy
- The A5 London to Holyhead road (Watling Street), passes through Dunstable.
To these was added in 1959:
- The M1 motorway, the London to Leeds motorway. This has three junctions around Luton, one serving Bedford and another serving Milton Keynes.
Three main lines pass through Bedfordshire:
- The West Coast Main Line' has but a short section in the far west of the county. The one station at Leighton Buzzard is served by London Midland trains to London Euston and Northampton.
- The East Coast Main Line has stations at Arlesey, Biggleswade and Sandy, served by First Capital Connect services to London's King's Cross Station and Peterborough.
- The Midland Main Line serves Luton and Bedford with trains to many destinations operated by East Midlands Trains and First Capital Connect.
The River Great Ouse links Bedfordshire to the Fenland waterways. As of 2004 there are plans by the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Trust to construct a new canal linking the Great Ouse at Bedford to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes, 14 miles away.
Luton Airport (now London Luton Airport) has flights to many British, European, North American and North African destinations.
Towns in Bedfordshire
Two towns in the county have populations over 50,000:
Smaller towns are:
- Leighton Buzzard 37,000
- Dunstable 35,120
- Kempston 19,440
- Houghton Regis 16,670
- Biggleswade 16,420
- Leagrave 12,910
- Flitwick 13,370
- Sandy 11,620
- Ampthill 6,767
- Stotfold 6,209
- Arlesey 5,449
- Cranfield 5,443
- Shefford 5,400
- Barton-Le-Clay 5,000
- Bedfordshire Magazine (quarterly)
- Elstow Moot Hall leaflets on John Bunyan and 17th century subjects
- Guide to the Bedfordshire Record Office 1957 with supplements.
- Guide to the Russell Estate Collections Published in 1966.
- Conisbe, L. R. (1962) A Bedfordshire Bibliography (supplement, 1967)
- Dony, John (1953) A Bedfordshire Flora. Luton: Corporation of Luton Museum & Art Gallery
- Dony, John (1942) A History of the Straw Hat Industry. Luton: Gibbs, Bamforth & Co.
- Freeman, Charles (1958) Pillow Lace in the East Midlands. Luton: Luton Museum and Art Gallery
- Godber, Joyce (1969) History of Bedfordshire 1066-1888
- White, H. O. Bedfordshire Historical Record Society (published annually)
|Counties of the United Kingdom|
Aberdeen • Anglesey • Angus • Antrim • Argyll • Armagh • Ayr • Banff • Bedford • Berks • Berwick • Brecknock • Buckingham • Bute • Caernarfon • Caithness • Cambridge • Cardigan • Carmarthen • Chester • Clackmannan • Cornwall • Cromarty • Cumberland • Denbigh • Derby • Devon • Dorset • Down • Dumfries • Dunbarton • Durham • East Lothian • Essex • Fermanagh • Fife • Flint • Glamorgan • Gloucester • Hants • Hereford • Hertford • Huntingdon • Inverness • Kent • Kincardine • Kinross • Kirkcudbright • Lanark • Lancaster • Leicester • Lincoln • Londonderry • Merioneth • Middlesex • Midlothian • Monmouth • Montgomery • Moray • Nairn • Norfolk • Northampton • Northumberland • Nottingham • Orkney • Oxford • Peebles • Pembroke • Perth • Radnor • Renfrew • Ross • Roxburgh • Rutland • Selkirk • Shetland • Salop • Somerset • Stafford • Stirling • Suffolk • Surrey • Sussex • Sutherland • Tyrone • Warwick • West Lothian • Westmorland • Wigtown • Wilts • Worcester • York