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Geographical and Geological Description of the County

Places > Bedfordshire > Geography and Geology

The county of Bedford is bounded on the North and North-East by Northamptonshire; on the East by Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire; and on the West by Buckinghamshire and part of Northamptonshire.

The author of the General View of the Agriculture of this county, published by the Board of Agriculture, calculates it to e 145 miles in circuit, inclosing an area of 307,200 acres: of these he computes 217,200 to be in open or common fields, common meadows, commons and wastes; 68,100 in inclosed meadows, pasture, and arable; and 21,900 of woodland. A great proportion of the woodland has been planted within a few years: the chief planters have been the Duke of Bedford, the Earl of Upper-Ossory, Lord Carteret, and Fr. Moore esq. There are some woods of considerable extent in the neighbourhood of Southill, Warden, Chicksand and Hawnes. Woburn Park is well wooded with oak and other timber trees. In Lord Ossorys park at Ampthill, some aged oaks, of remarkable size, are a great embellishment to the scenery; and, combined with the natural inequality of the ground, render it very picturesque: few situations in the county have claim to that description. There is some pleasing scenery about Aspley-Guise, Rimont, and Warden. The view from Ridgmont over Buckinghamshire is very extensive. The view from Millbrook church-yard over the vale of Bedford, that from Totenhoe castle over a great part of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and the ride along the downs from Stretley to Barton, looking over Wrest Park, claim particular notice.

The scenery of Bedfordshire is particularly enlivened by the steeples of churches, although not so much as in some other counties. Towards the borders of Northamptonshire are several handsome spires; of these Keysoe and Souldrop are most conspicuous in the scenery. In the southern parts of the county, the churches of Toddington and Shitlington are among the most remarkable, as distant objects. In this part of the county the Buckinghamshire churches of Bow-Brickhill, and Edlesborough are striking objects. The beautiful spire of Hanslape, lately destroyed by lightning was seen to much advantage from the neighbour hood of Ridgmont.

Fuller, speaking in general terms of the soil of the county, gives a pretty just description of it saying, that it is a deep clay, with a belt or girdle of land about, or rather athwart, the body of it, from Woburn to Potton. The author of the agricultural report says, that there is every soil, and every mixture of soil, in this county. He describes the prevailing soil of the North and West parts to be clay and strong loam; that of the South and East parts, light loam, sand, gravel and chalk. The chalk hills extend across the county from Hertfordshire to Buckinghamshire, including the whole range of Luton and Dunstable Downs.

Extract from: Lysons' Magna Britannia being a concise topographical account of several counties of Great Britain by the Rev. Daniel Lysons, A.M., F.R.S. F.A. and L.S. Rector of Rodmarton in Gloucestershire and Samuel Lysons, Esq., F.R.S. and F.A.S. Keeper of His Majesty's Records in the Tower of London, 1806

Page last updated: 23rd January 2014