Toddington, Bedfordshire

Last updated

Village green, Toddington.JPG
Toddington village green
Population4,590 (2011 Census) [1]
OS grid reference TL009289
Civil parish
  • Toddington
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LU5
Dialling code 01525
Police Bedfordshire
Fire Bedfordshire and Luton
Ambulance East of England
UK Parliament
List of places

Toddington is a large village and civil parish in the county of Bedfordshire, England. It is situated 5 miles north-north-west of Luton, 4 miles (6 km) north of Dunstable, 6 miles (10 km) south-west of Woburn, and 35 miles north-north-west of London on the B5120 and B579. It is 0.5 miles from Junction 12 of the M1 motorway and lends its name to the nearby motorway service station. The hamlet of Fancott also forms part of the Toddington civil parish.


Toddington is built around a large village green, around which sit the parish church and four of the village's six public houses. The Dunstable Northern Bypass taking heavy traffic bound for Dunstable from the M1 away from the village was delayed but a restart was announced in September 2011, now due to open in 2017. [2] A large-scale housebuilding programme has been proposed by the government for the environs of Luton, Dunstable and Milton Keynes, and proposals to build a 20,000 seat football stadium to replace Kenilworth Road were withdrawn in 2008. [ citation needed ]

Toddington has experienced a rise in house prices due to its reputation as a quiet English village and the easy commute into London.[ citation needed ]

For local government purposes it is in the Central Bedfordshire unitary authority, and is in the Mid-Bedfordshire parliamentary constituency, represented since 19 October 2023 by Labour MP Alistair Strathern.


Toddington has four churches: Church of England (St George), Methodist, Baptist, and a Christian Fellowship.

It used to be claimed that Toddington had the most pubs per head of population of any village in the United Kingdom,[ citation needed ] although recently one has closed indefinitely and another was converted into a restaurant. The remaining pubs are: the Oddfellows Arms, the Griffin, [3] the Bell, and the Fancott Arms (which lies about a mile outside the village centre). [4] The former pubs are the Nag's Head (which was demolished to make way for housing), the Sow and Pigs (closed in 2011 and converted into a dentist), the Red Lion (which turned into Ritzy Bar in 2011 but closed in 2014 and converted to housing in 2017), the Angel (which closed in 2019 and was converted into business offices) and the Bedford Arms (closed in February 2012 and converted to housing in 2019). The old town hall building was turned into a micropub, the Cuckoo, which opened in 2014 and closed in 2019.

St George's Church Toddington , Parish Church of St. George of England - - 579992.jpg
St George's Church

Toddington has one theatre - Tads Theatre, on Conger Lane. It is owned and run by the charity group Tads Theatre, formerly known as the Toddington Amateur Dramatics Society. The group mounts 4–6 in-house productions each year, including an annual family pantomime.

Toddington used to have a historical society, the Toddington Historical Society, who met at the Village Hall on Leighton Road.

Toddington has a brass band, the Toddington Town Band (TTB); it has existed in one form or another since 1856 and performs regularly at village events.

The nearest mainline railway station is Harlington, which is located in the nearby village of Harlington and is served by Thameslink. From Harlington there are trains north to Flitwick and Bedford, and south to Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans, St Pancras International, Gatwick Airport and Brighton. The Fancott Arms hosts the rideable miniature railway at Fancott.

Dropshort Marsh and Fancott Woods and Meadows, both close to the village, are managed as nature reserves by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, [5] [6] and each is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. [7] [8] [9]

There are several public rights of way within the parish and there are many walks [10] and rides around the village. The Icknield Way Path runs through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a multi-user route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists, passes through the village. [11]

The village has several halls for use by the community. The largest hall is on Leighton Road and managed by the Toddington Village Hall Association. [12] It was opened in July 1993 on behalf of the community.


The village is served by two schools, Toddington St George Church of England School (opened in 1967) [13] and Parkfields Middle School (opened in 1963), [14] which provide education for children aged between 4 and 13 years of age. After year 8, children transfer to Harlington Upper School located in nearby Harlington.


Toddington is situated on a hill formed of glacial sand and gravel above a layer of glacial till on top of the Cretaceous Gault Clay (see the 1:50,000 Sheet 220 Leighton Buzzard Solid and Drift Geology by the British Geological Survey). The hill has a maximum height of 154 m and the village is about 30 m above the other Mid-Bedfordshire villages and towns (e.g. Westoning, Harlington, Flitwick).

Historic Buildings

Toddington Castle was a timber motte-and-bailey castle built before the 13th century in Toddington. Today only earthworks remain of the castle, known as Conger Hill. Chalgrave Castle was built to the south of the village during the 11th century, however no visible remains of the structure exist today.

Toddington Manor

Toddington Manor is a Tudor Manor house located on the North edge of the village with an extremely long history going back to well before the Norman invasion in 1066. Elizabeth I came to Toddington Manor in 1563 and knighted the owner Henry Cheney. [15] In July 1608 King James and Anne of Denmark stayed at the manor, guests of Jane, Lady Cheney, the queen wore a gown of ash-coloured satin bias cut. [16] Arbella Stuart came in August 1609. [17]

Notable People

Henry Cheyne, 1st Baron Cheyne (1540-1587) is buried at St Georges Church.

William Blake is said to have drunk at the Angel.[ citation needed ]

Thomas Cleaver, breeder of Sampson, the tallest and heaviest horse ever recorded, lived at Toddington Mills.

The child actor Jack Wild is buried in the parish cemetery.[ citation needed ]

Kevin McCloud, presenter of TV show Grand Designs was born and raised in Toddington. [18]

Celebrity Emily Atack, of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! fame, attended Parkfields Middle School in the early 2000s.

Related Research Articles

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  1. "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  2. "Improvements and major road projects | A5 to M1 link (Dunstable northern bypass)". Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  3. The Griffin
  4. The Fancott
  5. "Dropshort Marsh". Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  6. "Fancott Woods and Meadows". Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  7. "Dropshort Marsh citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  8. "Map of Dropshort Marsh". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  9. "Fancott Woods and Meadows citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  10. "Toddington.Info". Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  11. "The Icknield Way Trail" . Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  12. "Toddington Village Hall" . Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  13. St George School
  14. Parkfields School
  15. Toddington Manor, Bedford Archives
  16. Jemma Field, 'The Wardrobe Goods of Anna of Denmark', Costume, vol. 51 no. 1 (March, 2017), on-line supplement, p. 28 no. 272, citing Cambridge University Library MS Dd.I.26.
  17. Emily Tennyson Bradley, Life of the Lady Arabella, vol. 2 (London, 1889), pp. 228-9
  18. Kevin McCloud: Critical Angle, Independent Digital News & Media Ltd, 18 September 2005

51°56′58.57″N0°31′56.28″W / 51.9496028°N 0.5323000°W / 51.9496028; -0.5323000