Bedfordshire facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsBedfordshire
Bedfordshire in England
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Lord Lieutenant||Helen Nellis|
|High Sheriff||Charles Whitbread|
|Area||1,235 km2 (477 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||41st of 48|
|Population (2005 est.)||582,600|
|• Ranked||36th of 48|
|Density||472/km2 (1,220/sq mi)|
Districts of Bedfordshire
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
Bedfordshire (// or /ˈbɛdfədʃɪə/; abbreviated Beds.) is a county in the East of England. It is a ceremonial county and a historic county, covered by three unitary authorities: Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, and Luton.
Bedfordshire is bordered by Cambridgeshire to the east/northeast, Northamptonshire to the north, Buckinghamshire to the west and Hertfordshire to the east/southeast. It is the fourteenth most densely populated county of England, with over half the population of the county living in the two largest built-up areas: Luton (236,000) and the county town, Bedford (102,000). The highest elevation point is 243 metres (797 ft) on Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns.
The traditional nickname for people from Bedfordshire is "Clangers", deriving from a local dish comprising a suet crust pastry filled with meat in one end and jam in the other.
The first recorded use of the name in 1011 was "Bedanfordscir," meaning the shire or county of Bedford, which itself means "Beda's ford" (river crossing).
Bedfordshire was historically divided into nine hundreds: Barford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Flitt, Manshead, Redbournestoke, Stodden, Willey, Wixamtree, along with the liberty and borough of Bedford. There have been several changes to the county boundary; for example, in 1897 Kensworth and part of Caddington were transferred from Hertfordshire to Bedfordshire.
The southern end of the county is on the chalk ridge known as the Chiltern Hills. The remainder is part of the broad drainage basin of the River Great Ouse and its tributaries. Most of Bedfordshire's rocks are clays and sandstones from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, with some limestone. Local clay has been used for brick-making of Fletton style bricks in the Marston Vale. Glacial erosion of chalk has left the hard flint nodules deposited as gravel—this has been commercially extracted in the past at pits which are now lakes, at Priory Country Park, Wyboston and Felmersham. The Greensand Ridge is an escarpment across the county from near Leighton Buzzard to near Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire.
Bedfordshire is relatively dry, being situated in the east of England. Average annual rainfall is 597.6 millimetres (23.53 in) at Bedford. October is the wettest month with 62.5 millimetres (2.46 in), February the driest with 36.7 millimetres (1.44 in). While there is little difference from month to month there are more wet days in autumn and winter but often heavier individual falls in spring and summer, of note were the 1998 Easter floods.
Average temperatures in Bedford range from a low of 0.8 °C (33.4 °F) overnight in February to a high of 22.1 °C (71.8 °F) during the day in July. In the last 20 years the highest temperature recorded was 35.9 °C (96.6 °F). The lowest temperature on record in Bedfordshire is −20.6 °C (−5.1 °F) at Woburn on 25 February 1947.
|Owned by the National Trust|
|Owned by English Heritage|
|Owned by the Forestry Commission|
|A Country Park|
|An Accessible open space|
|Museum (charges entry fee)|
- Bedford Castle
- Bedford Corn Exchange
- Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum
- Bedford Park
- Cardington (R101 hangar)
- Chicksands Priory
- Chiltern Hills
- De Grey Mausoleum
- Dunstable Downs
- Elstow Moot Hall
- Harrold-Odell Country Park
- Houghton House
- Leighton Buzzard Light Railway
- Luton Hoo
- Luton Museum & 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 & Stables
- Woburn Abbey
- Woburn Safari Park
- Woodside Farm and Wildfowl Park
- Wrest Park Gardens
- See also: List of future transport developments in the East of England
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
Former trunk roads, now local roads managed by the local highway authority, include A428 running east–west through Bedford Borough, and A6 from Rushden to Luton.
Three of England's 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 Great Northern services to King's Cross and Peterborough
- The Midland Main Line serves Luton and Bedford with trains to many destinations operated by East Midlands Trains and Thameslink.
Bedfordshire is served by a large number of taxi companies. Luton is reported to have the highest number of taxicabs per head of population in the United Kingdom with a number of firms competing for work in the town and from London Luton Airport.
The River Great Ouse links Bedfordshire to the Fenland waterways. As of 2004 there are plans by the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust to construct a canal linking the Great Ouse at Bedford to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes, 14 miles (23 km) distant.
Settlements in Bedfordshire
Cardington airship sheds
The enormous Cardington airship sheds are situated to the south of Bedford, near the villages of Cardington and Shortstown. They were originally built for the construction of large airships during WW1. Since falling out of their intended use, one has been used for many purposes including housing film sets for 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'Batman Begins' and as a rehearsal space for Take That, with the other having been extensively refurbished and now accommodating Hybrid Air Vehicles, a British modern airship design and manufacturing company.
St Paul's Church Bedford
St Paul's Church, Bedford is a Church of England parish church and the Civic Church of the Borough of Bedford and the County of Bedfordshire. Located on St Paul's Square, the large medieval and later church of cathedral proportions and iconic spire dominates the town and area, exercises a ministry of welcome to thousands of visitors and pilgrims from far and wide each year, and is a focus for special commemorations and celebrations in the borough, county, region and wider community, as well as being a central venue for concerts, recitals and exhibitions. Historically, St Paul’s played a key part in the life of the British nation during the Second World War as the church of the BBC.
Millbrook Proving Ground
The Millbrook Proving Ground, near Junction 13 of the M1, has 70 kilometres (43 mi) of varied vehicle test tracks.
Sports and Leisure
Bedfordshire is home to Luton Town F.C. and Bedford Blues rugby team amongst other various sporting teams.
Bedfordshire boasts a 40-mile (64 km) walk traversing the county from Leighton Buzzard at the southern end point and Sandy, Bedfordshire/Gamlingay in southern Cambridgeshire to the east. This is called the Greensand Ridge Walk. For cyclists, a parallel route following minor country roads is also available, Greensand Cycle Way.
Bedfordshire Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.