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Geologically, the county can be divided into distinct parts. In the north is a maze of rolling pastures and farms in the glinting valley of the majestic River Great Ouse, a wide waterway joined by numerous tributaries. Here are sublime water meadows lined with willow, alder and hordes of canny fishermen.|
The area was left virtually undisturbed by the Romans and their subsequent followers, though the Vikings navigated the Ouse and built a harbour and docks at Willington.
Deposits of yellow-brown clay create the perfect underbody for cow-munching grasslands. These farm-laden northern reaches are characterised by quietly-spoken villages with thatched houses, traditional village greens and ageing, stone-spired churches. Roxton boasts rush-roofed chapel while Bushmead has the remains of royal stables and an Augustinian priory. The clay proved to be ideal for brick-making, an industry which dominated the county for many years. Water-filled pits (from which the clay was dug) are abundant in some areas and provide havens for wildlife.
St. Paul's Bridge, Bedford: John N Dix
Woburn Abbey: Pam Fray