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Bedfordshire's Location within England
Bedfordshire's Location within England
Bedfordshire's Coat of Arms
Bedfordshire's Coat of Arms
Bedfordshire's Districts
Bedfordshire's Districts
1. Bedford
2. Mid Bedfordshire
3. South Bedfordshire
4. Luton (Unitary)

Bedfordshire is a county in England. Its county town is Bedford. It borders Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire (with the Borough of Milton Keynes), and Hertfordshire. Luton was part of Bedfordshire until 1997, when it was made a unitary authority. However, it remains part of the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, with a single Lord Lieutenant representing the sovereign throughout this entire area. Except where otherwise indicated, this article relates to the whole Ceremonial County of Bedfordshire, including Luton.

The county motto is "Constant Be."

The first recorded use of the name was in 1011 as "Bedanfordscir," meaning "Beda's ford" (river crossing).

The highest elevation point is 243 metres/797 feet, on the Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns.

Bedfordshire was historically divided into the nine hundreds: Barford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Flitt, Manshead, Redbournestoke, Stodden, Willey, Wixamtree, along with the liberty and borough of Bedford.

Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region East of England
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 41st
1,235 kmē
Ranked 34th
1,192 kmē
Admin HQ Bedford
ISO 3166-2 GB-BDF
ONS code 09
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop
Ranked 36th
464 / kmē
Ranked 32nd
Ethnicity 86.3% White
8.3% S.Asian
2.9% Afro-Carib.
Bedfordshire County Council  
Executive Conservative Party
Members of Parliament Alistair Burt, Nadine Dorries, Patrick Hall, Kelvin Hopkins, Margaret Moran, Andrew Selous

Geography & Geology

The southern end of the county is part of 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 at Fletton. 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.

Transport Links

Although not a major transport destination, Bedfordshire lies on many of the main transport routes which link London to the Midlands and Northern England.


Three 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
  • The A6 St Albans to Carlisle, through Luton and Bedford

To these were added in 1959 the M1 motorway London to Yorkshire motorway. This has three junctions around Luton, and one serving Bedford and Milton Keynes.


Again, 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 Silverlink trains to Euston and Northampton.
  • The East Coast Main Line has stations at Arlesey, Biggleswade and Sandy, served by WAGN services to King's Cross and Peterborough
  • The Midland Main Line serves Luton and Bedford with trains to many destinations operated by Midland Mainline and Thameslink.


The River Great Ouse links Bedfordshire to the Fenland waterways. As of 2004 there are plans to construct a canal linking the Great Ouse at Bedford to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes, 23 km distant.


London Luton Airport has flights to many UK, European and North African destinations, operated by low-cost airlines.

The above article in gray is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia Article titled:


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