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Local History Activities

To celebrate the relaunch or our online community archives site as Community Histories we would like to encourage you to explore your local area, either by getting out and about, or virtually from home. This list of some local history activities in Bedfordshire is intended to give you a starting point. And of course, although they do not currently have any maps attached, you can always use our Community Histories to help you explore your local area.  

We would love to see what you have been up to, so please share with us on social media using the hashtag #communityhistory and tagging us on Twitter or Instagram as @BedsArchives. You can also find us on Facebook as Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service.  

Out and About in Bedford Borough 

  • North Bedfordshire Heritage Trail published by the Ivel Valley Walkers. The full trail is 70 miles long, but don’t worry! - it is divided into 11 manageable sections.   

  • Bedford ‘Did You Know?’ Trail: This self-guided walk around Bedford town centre takes about 90 minutes to complete.  

  • Bedford’s Talking Statues: Scan a QR code on a plaque near each of the seven featured statues, and get a call from the statue telling you a story. 

  • Biddenham Heritage Trail: This short local trail also has an accompanying Junior Heritage Trail.

  • Harrold, Odell and Sharnbrook: Follow our two “Paths to Crime” trails around Harrold and from Odell to Sharnbrook, created using records from the 19th century Quarter Sessions courts. You can find further information about the crimes featured in the walks elsewhere on our website: (1) Harrold; (2) Odell and Sharnbrook.

Out and About in Central Bedfordshire 

  • Harlington Plaque Trail: Find Harlington’s six blue plaques and discover the stories behind them.  

  • Leighton Buzzard Living History Trail: Download the Buzzard Trails app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play to follow the trail and meet some former residents of the town. Alternatively you can download a printable version of the trail. 

  • Shefford: This historical walk around the town is available on the Shefford Town Council website

Out and About in Luton 

  • Luton Hat Trails: Celebrate the history of Luton’s hat making industry by following onr or both of these two trails.   

  • Luton Bomb Site Discovery Trail: This trail from our partners Luton Culture was designed for school use, but you don’t need to be school age to find this glimpse into the effect of the Second World War on Luton fascinating.    

 Virtual Activities 

  • Bedfordshire at War 1939-1945: An interactive map compiled by Bedfordshire Archives to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.