River Great Ouse
River Great Ouse
The River, which runs through Bedford, must
certainly be described as the Jewel in the Crown. It supplied the
power to grind corn at Duckmill and Newnham. The river supplies
power once again in the 21st Century with the new
Hydro Power Plant on the site of the former Bedford Boat Slide
close to the Bedford Schools' Boathouse.
It also provided invaluable trade links as
barges could navigate from The Wash on the North Seas, right the
way through to Bedford’s Town Centre. This enabled coal and other
supplies to be transported by water; coal wharfs would have lined
the banks of the river in the town centre.
From Victorian times, the Embankment has been enjoyed as a place to
promenade and be seen, with its tree lined avenues and open
In the 1970’s the locks, which had fallen into disrepair, were
rebuilt and the river was once again open to the sea. These days
the river is invaded on a regular basis, but this time the invaders
are not the Danes but visitors who come to celebrate Bedford’s
River Festival. Held every two years, it is one of the largest free
outdoor events, second only to London’s Notting Hill Carnival. The
festival takes place in July on alternate years, the next one
is due in 2016.
Bedford River Valley Park
The River Valley Park (BRVP) is continuing to
take shape as areas of gravel extraction are completed and
restored. Added interest and value is provided by recent project
work such as the water controls at Fenlake Meadows and the Lottery
funded information boards and talking points about the history of
the area that can be found across the BRVP.
To help with the future development of the
BRVP the Council has worked with the Marston Vale Trust and a wide
range of people and organisations that have an interest in the Park
to produce a masterplan that pays special attention to the
Council’s land holdings.
The masterplan outlines a number of potential
recreation, conservation and access projects that would add value
and interest to the BRVP. All projects are subject to the
availability of funding and agreement of relevant stakeholders.
The masterplan can be downloaded below.