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Sports and Recreation Facilities

A Sporting Borough

Leisure and recreation are well catered for in the Borough; Bedford Borough Council invested more than £10 million in sports and leisure projects at the beginning of the 1990's. Bedford Athletic Stadium is the top athletics venue in the region, attracting national and international athletes.


The stadium and its top-quality indoor facilities give the Borough's sporting community access to a wide range of track and field sports. This is backed up by the Borough Council's Champion Coaching initiative, which gives keen children the chance to train properly with a qualified coach. They are then directed onto the club network so that they are constantly encouraged to keep up their interest.


Facilities like the Athletic Stadium and the new Hockey Centre at Biddenham on the outskirts of Bedford have significantly increased the availability of quality facilities to sportspeople of all abilities and ages in the Borough.


There are three swimming pools in the Borough, including the impressive Oasis Beach Pool with its giant water slides and wave generators, housed in a space age pyramid.


The town is also served by first-class private and council-run golf courses and squash clubs; several football teams; and a nationally recognised rugby union team which has produced some of the greatest players in the game, among them Budge Rogers, England's most capped player at one stage.


With a river as lovely and as accessible as the Great Ouse, it is not surprising that Bedford has a long and glorious rowing tradition. The Bedford Regatta has been held every year since 1850 - except during the war - and Bedford has produced many Olympic oarsmen.


River and  Rowing Activity

The river Great Ouse flows through the centre of Bedford, whose tree-lined embankments and green spaces provide a beautiful setting for the many River Festivals, Rowing Regattas and other river events held upon it. Its freedom from regular river traffic has allowed increasing numbers of people of all ages to take up the sport of rowing, with schoolchildren from state schools competing on equal terms with their private school rivals.


Rowing has a long and glorious tradition in Bedford and is a major part of the sports scene with the river Great Ouse being readily accessible running through the centre of the town. The river is the location for a number of large rowing events held throughout the year with the Bedford Regatta, which has been held every year since 1853, being the biggest river based regatta in the country.


Rowing Clubs

Two amateur rowing clubs offer facilities to the community and provide a competitive environment which encourages both to achieve the highest levels in rowing events. Both clubs compete at National Rowing Championships and top level regattas. Three private school rowing clubs also use the river and their crews compete at the top level of School Rowing in the UK, in addition to the National Championships.


Bedford Rowing Club

Bedford Rowing Club, which was founded in 1886 and originally sited at Batt’s Ford, is located centrally beside the Town Bridge. The club, which has achieved successes at local and national levels with crews ranging from Junior to Masters, can be described as one for all ages and abilities.  Our fleet of boats consists of a complete range of modern racing boats as well as more stable beginners and recreational boats.  Our rowers range from high performance right through to beginners and we regularly run taster sessions and ‘Learn to Row’ courses. We have a selection of training facilities including a weights gym and a Concept 2 rowing machine room. You can train at your own pace as an individual, or in a group under the eye of our coaches. Of course if you would like to take a more leisurely approach to rowing we also have a superb social side as well as a thriving recreational rowers group who just enjoy the chance to row on our great stretch of river.

Colours:  Oars: Maroon, White & Blue

The Boathouse
Duck Mill Lane
Bedford MK42 0AX

Tel: 01234 353 183
Fax: 07092 034 083
E-Mail: info@bedfordrowing.co.uk
Website: http://www.bedfordrowing.co.uk/


Star Club

Star Club was founded in 1960, on the demise of National Service, by demobilised National Servicemen from RAF Cardington Rowing Club, (1955 to 1959). After trialling for representation of England at the Empire Games of 1958 they opted to remain to find work and row in Bedford. In 1967 Silver Jubilee School brought state school rowing to Bedford through Star Club. These children went on to become National, International and Olympic Oarsmen who have won most of the top events at Henley Royal Regatta. Tim Foster, a product of Bedford Modern School, came to the Club and won a gold medal with Steve Redgrave at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Star Club is a Community Amateur Sports Club and caters for all levels of rowing ability and ages from 11 to 80+. A Community Coach is employed to introduce rowing to local schools. The Club built its own Boathouse at Batts Ford in 1988. It has a full range of boats, a Gymnasium, Ergometer Room, Clubrooms and a public Bar.


Bedford Star Rowing Club

Founded 1986 for Composite Crews with International aspirations.
Associate Club of Star Club

Bedford Ladies Rowing Club

Founded 1955 
Associate Club of Star Club

Colours for Star Club and Associate clubs:  Oars: White with Red Star.


Poynter’s Boathouse, Batts Ford, Commercial Road, Bedford,  MK40 IQS

Tel: 01234 212 070     Fax:

E-Mail: info@starclub-rowing.org  Website: http://starclubrowing.co.uk/


Rowing Schools

Bedford School Boat Club was founded in 1860 and is based at the Harpur Trust Boathouse.  It is for boys rowing only.

Bedford Modern School Boat Club was founded in 1878 and is based at the Harpur Trust Boathouse. Both boys and girls row at this school.

Both schools have produced a number of oarsmen who have competed in the University Boat Race.

Bedford Girls School Rowing Club was founded in 2011 from the merging of Dame Alice Harpur School Rowing Club (1995) and Bedford High School Rowing Club (1983). It is based at the Harpur Trust Boathouse and is for girls only.



Cricket also has a great tradition in the area. The legendary Jack Hobbs was once on the ground staff at Bedford School, and among the famous players to have played on Bedford Town's ground at Goldington Bury in recent years are Ian Botham, Viv Richards, Geoff Boycott and Graeme Hick.


If you enjoy horse riding, there are several facilities nearby. Tennis, putting and bowls are available in most public parks in the town.


Bedford really comes into its own with water sports like wind surfing, jet biking, water skiing and parakiting, all within easy distance.


Bedford's very own Priory Marina has 200 moorings, a sailing lake, chandlery and restaurant.

This is part of Priory Country Park, 200 acres of natural lakes, grass and woodland where you can enjoy water sports as well as peaceful walks in a carefully managed conservation environment.

The canoe slalom in the country park is the only one of its kind in the region.

Don't Miss

Kite Festival

Bedford Borough is a vibrant area to live in with an abundance of leisure opportunities for residents and visitors. We pride ourselves on offering a fantastic programme of cultural events throughout the year, and providing a wide range of affordable health opportunities, through our quality parks, award winning leisure centres and sports development work.


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