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
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
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
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
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
Colours: Oars: Maroon, White & Blue
Duck Mill Lane
Bedford MK42 0AX
Tel: 01234 353 183
Fax: 07092 034 083
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
Bedford Star Rowing Club
Founded 1986 for Composite Crews with International
Associate Club of Star Club
Bedford Ladies Rowing Club
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,
Tel: 01234 212 070 Fax:
Bedford School Boat Club was founded in 1860
and is based at the Harpur Trust Boathouse. It is for boys
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
Bedford really comes into its own with water sports like wind
surfing, jet biking, water skiing and parakiting, all within easy
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
The canoe slalom in the country park is the only one of its kind
in the region.