|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)|
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
Bedfordshire ( /,- / ; 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 and northeast, Northamptonshire to the north, Buckinghamshire to the west and Hertfordshire to the southeast and south. 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 (258,018), 243 metres (797 ft) on Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns.and the county town, Bedford (106,940). The highest elevation point is
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, Redbornestoke, 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.
This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: the temperature record was probably broken on 25/7/19 but any new figure must await a reliable citation.July 2019)(
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) and 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. Record temperatures by month for Woburn follow.
|Climate data for Woburn 1928-|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.0|
|Record low °C (°F)||−20.0|
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The Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner is Kathryn Holloway who is a member of the Conservative Party.
For local government purposes, Bedfordshire is divided into three unitary authorities: the boroughs of Bedford and Luton, and the District of Central Bedfordshire. Bedfordshire County Council was abolished on 1 April 2009, although the three districts continue to form a county for ceremonial functions such as lieutenancy and High Sheriff.Many services in the county, such as education and public libraries, continue to be provided jointly by Central Bedfordshire and Bedford as if they were a single local authority.
Policing, fire and rescue services continue to be provided on a county-wide basis, with Bedfordshire Police governed by the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service governed members of the three councils.
For elections to the House of Commons, Bedfordshire is divided into six constituencies, each returning a single member of parliament:
|Constituency||Member of Parliament|
|Luton North||Sarah Owen|
|Luton South||Rachel Hopkins|
|Mid Bedfordshire||Nadine Dorries|
|North East Bedfordshire||Richard Fuller|
|South West Bedfordshire||Andrew Selous|
The present constituencies date from 1997.The boundaries were slightly modified for the 2010 general election.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Bedfordshire at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
Bedfordshire is the location of a number of notable UK and international companies who have either headquarters or major bases in the county. Autoglass, Boxclever and Charles Wells Pubs are all based in Bedford, while the Kier Group and Kingspan Timber Solutions are based in Sandy, and Jordans Cereals are based in Biggleswade. EasyJet, Impellam, TUI Airways and Vauxhall Motors are all based in Luton, while Whitbread (including Costa Coffee) is based in nearby Houghton Regis. UltraVision is based in Leighton Buzzard, while Moto Hospitality is based at Toddington service station.
The "Bedfordshire clanger" is a local dish consisting of a suet crust pastry filled with meat in one end and a fruit preserve in the other. It was traditionally a farm labourers' meal, designed so as to produce no waste as well as two separate meals.
Chocolate Toothpaste is another local delicacy. A chocolate tart, Chocolate Toothpaste consists of a gritty chocolate filling (said to resemble the texture of toothpaste) within a pastry tart, commonly finished with a swirl of whipped cream on top.
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Although not a major transport destination, Bedfordshire lies on many of the main transport routes which link London to the Midlands and Northern England.
Two of England's six main trunk roads pass through Bedfordshire:
To these was added in 1959 the M1 motorway, the London to Leeds motorway. This has two junctions around Luton with another one serving Bedford and Milton Keynes. Between these lies another, Central Bedfordshire junction and Toddington services. Whilst a new junction 11A was built for the new A5-M1 link to 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:
There are London North Western rural services also running between Bedford and Bletchley along the Marston Vale Line.
Bedfordshire is served by a large number of taxi companies. Luton is reported to have the highest number of taxicabs per head of population[ citation needed ] in the United Kingdom with a number of firms competing for work in the town and from 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.
Luton Airport has flights to many UK, European, Middle Eastern and North African destinations, operated largely but not exclusively by low-cost airlines.
The state education system for all of Bedfordshire used to be organised by Bedfordshire County Council. Unlike most of the United Kingdom, Bedfordshire County Council operated a three-tier education system arranged into lower, middle and upper schools, as recommended in the Plowden Report of 1967, although Luton continued to operate a two-tier system. The three-tier arrangement continued in the rest of the county, though in 2006 a vote was held with a view to moving to the two-tier model, but this was rejected.
After the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, Bedfordshire County Council was abolished, and its responsibilities for education were passed to Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council.
Bedford Borough Council voted in November 2009 to change to the two-tier model in its area.The change was due to be introduced over a five-year period and be completed in 2015. However, with the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future programme in 2010, the borough changed its proposals, and the switch proceeded on school by school basis where council funds allowed. However as of 2020 all of Bedford Borough as a two-tier education structure apart from in the Marston Vale area (one upper school remains).
Most of the secondary schools in the area offer sixth form courses (such as A Levels), though Bedford College and The Bedford Sixth Form also offer a range of further education courses. Additionally, Stella Mann College is a private college which offers a range of further education courses relating to the performing arts.
There are a number of independent schools, many of which have links to the Harpur Trust. These include Bedford School, Bedford Modern School and Bedford Girls' School.
In Central Bedfordshire, the school systems in Dunstable and Sandy have been re-organised into the two-tier model in response to parent and school demand, but elsewhere in the authority the three-tier model continues. Plans for the construction of new settlements in Marston Vale have included lower, middle and upper schools.
As well as sixth form departments in schools, the main further education providers in the district are Central Bedfordshire College and Shuttleworth College
Luton also operates a three-tier education system, though its organisation of infant, junior and high schools mirrors the traditional transfer age into secondary education of 11 years. However, most of Luton's high schools do not offer sixth-form education. Instead, this is handled by Luton Sixth Form College, though Barnfield College and Cardinal Newman Catholic School also offer a range of further education courses.
There are two universities based in the county – the University of Bedfordshire and Cranfield University. These institutions attract students from all over the UK and abroad, as well as from Bedfordshire.
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 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.
The Millbrook Proving Ground, near Junction 13 of the M1, has 70 kilometres (43 mi) of varied vehicle test tracks.
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 endpoint 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.
Leighton Buzzard is a market town in Bedfordshire, England, near the Chiltern Hills and lying between Aylesbury, Tring, Dunstable and Milton Keynes. Located 36 miles (58 km) northwest from Central London, the town is linked to the capital by the Grand Union Canal and the West Coast Main Line to London Euston. Situated on the River Ouzel, in the southwest of the county and close to the Buckinghamshire border, it adjoins Linslade.
Bedfordshire is an English shire county which lies between approximately 25 miles and 55 miles north of central London.
A civil parish is a country subdivision, forming the lowest unit of local government in England. There are 125 civil parishes in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, most of the county being parished: Luton is completely unparished; Central Bedfordshire is entirely parished. At the 2001 census, there were 312,301 people living in the 125 parishes, which accounted for 55.2 per cent of the county's population.
Biggleswade was a historic 'hundred' of English county of Bedfordshire. The hundred consisted of the town of Biggleswade and its surrounding area. The name Biggleswade comes from a concatenation of the Anglo Saxon words 'Biceil' and 'Waed'.
Mid Bedfordshire is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by Nadine Dorries, of the Conservative Party. Apart from four early years, the constituency has returned a Conservative since its creation in 1918.
Bedfordshire County Council was the county council of the non-metropolitan county of Bedfordshire in England. It was established on 24 January 1889 and was abolished on 1 April 2009. The county council was based in Bedford.
The South Midlands League was a football league covering Bedfordshire and some adjoining counties in England. It was founded in 1922 as the Bedfordshire County League and merged with the Spartan League in 1997 to form the Spartan South Midlands League.
Luton was a constituency including the town of Luton in Bedfordshire. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the UK Parliament, elected by the first past the post system 1885–1950 and for 24 years thereafter.
South Bedfordshire was a county constituency in Bedfordshire. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post system.
Dunstable is a market town and civil parish in Bedfordshire, East of England. It lies on the eastward tail spurs of the Chiltern Hills, 30 miles north of London. These geographical features form several steep chalk escarpments most noticeable when approaching Dunstable from the north. Dunstable is the largest settlement in Central Bedfordshire and the third largest in Bedfordshire behind Luton and Bedford. Along with Houghton Regis and the much larger town of Luton it forms the westernmost part of the Luton/Dunstable Urban Area.
Central Bedfordshire is a unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, England. It was created from the merger of Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire District Councils on 1 April 2009. With a budget of £500m the unitary council provides over a hundred services to a quarter of a million people, and is responsible for schools, social services, rubbish collection, roads, planning, leisure centres, libraries, care homes and more.
Mark Anthony Gaius Versallion is a British politician, businessman, and officer in the Royal Naval Reserve. He was the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Stretford and Urmston from 2007 to 2009 and from 2009 to 2011 was Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Forum of the Conservative Party. Since 2011 he has been a member of Central Bedfordshire unitary authority.
This is an outline of Sport in Bedfordshire, a county in England.
Oak Bank School is a coeducational special school with academy status located in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England. The school accepts pupils from all over the Central Bedfordshire area.
Elections to Central Bedfordshire Council were held on 7 May 2015, along with the 2015 United Kingdom general election and other local elections. The whole council was up for election, with each successful candidate serving a four-year term of office, expiring in 2019.
The Luton-Dunstable Busway is a guided busway system in Bedfordshire, England, which connects the towns of Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Luton with Luton Airport. It was built on the route of a disused railway track and opened in September 2013. The busway runs parallel to the A505 and A5065 for 13.4 kilometres (8.3 mi), of which 7.7 kilometres (4.8 mi) is guided track with a maximum speed of 50 mph. It is claimed to be the second longest busway in the world.