The idea for Bedford River Valley Park was first published by Bedford Borough Council in their Local Plan of 2002. This set out the authority’s aspiration to create the Park and put a boundary line on the map.
“When development opportunities arise, within the area defined on the Proposals Map, the Borough Council will seek the creation of the Bedford River Valley Park as an area where opportunities exist for landscape enhancement, nature conservation, recreation and increased public access whilst protecting sites of acknowledged archaeological importance”.
Although no details were included at that early stage, inclusion of such a farsighted project gave the Country Park a realistic foundation.
In mid-May 2006, the Marston Vale Trust bought the 300-acre Grange Estate which forms part of the gravel workings alongside the River that are visible from the A421 east of Bedford. This will form the core of the new park. Money to make the purchase possible was granted to the Trust from the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG). It gave the ‘green light’ for the Trust to produce a Framework for the Bedford River Valley Park and to create a vision for what will become Bedfordshire’s largest park.
The Park defined in the Bedford Borough Council local plan, published in 2002, is much larger than the Grange Estate; in fact it is over 2,000 acres (868 hectares) – that’s around 7 times the size of Priory Country Park!
April 3rd 2008 saw the official release of the Framework document that will create a vision for what the Bedford River Valley Park will become. Download the document (17.5Mb) by clicking here and the accompanying map (5.5Mb) by clicking here (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)