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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 

  • Ampthill and Maulden: This Ampthill and Maulden circular walk includes a visit to Houghton House, thought to be John Bunyan’s ‘House Beautiful’ in Pilgrim’s Progress. You can find further information about Houghton House on our community history page.  

  • Biggleswade: Take a stroll around the streets of old Biggleswade in the (virtual) company of the Biggleswade History Society.  

  • Chalgrave Heritage Trail: You will need both a map and a leaflet for this walk around and Chalgrave and Tebworth. Check our community history pages for more information about both Chalgrave and Tebworth, including the extraordinary wall paintings in Chalgrave Church.        

  • Clophill Heritage Trail: developed by the Clophill Heritage Trust, Clophill Parish Council, BBC Hands on History and Clophill Parish Action.

  • Dunstable Heritage Trails: Maps and information sheets are available from the Priory House Heritage Centre & Tourist Information Centre

  • Dunstable Downs: For some truly ancient history try this walk from the National Trust

  • Flitwick and Flitton: The Two Moors Heritage Trail is a gentle 5 mile circular walk which starts at Flitwick Mill.  

  • 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. 

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.