Bedford to Fenlake Meadows & Priory Park

Two Bedford Embankment to Fenlake Meadows and Priory Park

These are two 2 mile walks which take in some of Bedford's most attractive landscapes. They can be combined to form a longer walk.

How To Get There by Passenger Transport

BY BUS – Town centre buses operate from the Bus Station to the Embankment. Telephone Bedfordshire Bus Information Line : 01234 228337, 8.30am – 5pm open 5 days a week or Travel Line 0870 6082608.
BY TRAIN – Bedford station, on the Bedford to London Thameslink line, is approximately under a mile from the Embankment. For timetable information, please telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950
Click here for the National Rail Enquiries website

How to Get There by Car

BY CAR – Exit M1 at Junction 13 and follow all signs for A421 Bedford. There is on road parking along The Embankment.

Start/Finish Point

The suggested starting point is by the boating lake on Bedford Embankment. Grid Ref TL058495. Alternatively the Priory Park walk can be started from the car park in Priory Park.

Access and General Information

Distance: 2 miles (both walks)
Time: 1 hour
Access Information: Pending update
Refreshments: There is a small cafe by the boating lake and a public house/restaurant at Priory Park.
Public Toilets: There are toilets near the boating lake and by the Visitor Centre in Priory Park.
Picnic Tables: There are picnic tables in Priory Park.
Seats: There are many seat on the Embankment and in Priory Park.

Bedford Embankment to Fenlake Meadows walk

From the road side of the Embankment, cross the new footbridge and turn left along the edge of the boating lake. Before the next bridge (Newnham Bridge) turn right and go underneath the road bridge and over the footbridge towards the pyramidal building. Turn left before this building (A) and onto the grass beside the river. Follow the river around its bend until the wooden fence on the right turns at a right angle (B) away from the river. Turn right, following this fence and continue on this path to the car park. At the car park bear right across the grassy area, keeping near to the fence by the road and follow the path down the bank (C) and on the path parallel to the road. The path crosses a small ditch and out into a field, continue until a gap in the hedge (D) leads to a gate to the road. Turn right before this gap, keeping the hedge on your left and continue straight back to the river. At the riverside turn left and retrace the path back to the Embankment

Bedford Embankment to Priory Park walk

From the roadside of the Embankment, cross the new footbridge and turn left along the edge of the boating lake. Before the next bridge (Newnham Bridge) turn right and go underneath the road bridge and over the footbridge towards the pyramidal building. Before this building, turn left onto the hard surfaced path and across the old railway bridge (E).
Cross another old railway bridge and before the path forks left into a large car park, turn right down the bank and follow a narrow path across this grassy area (F). Continue over the Marina footbridge and along by the river's edge. Look out for a gap in the hedge on the left where a path goes past a pond (G) and follow this before turning right across the ditch bridge at the end of the pond and then immediately left along the edge of the trees with an open meadow area on your right hand side.
At the end of the meadow (H), turn left across the ditch bridge and bear towards the lake side path, keeping the lake on your left hand side. Follow this surfaced path all the way around the lake until you come to the Visitor Centre building (I).
Turn right past the building and through the car park towards the Park entrance. At the wooden height barrier turn left onto the old railway track path. Follow this back until it returns to the footbridge over the river where you retrace your route back to the Embankment.

Points of Interest
The grassy hollows at (E) were medieval fish ponds used by the monks of the nearby Augustinian Priory to farm fish for food.
The lakes form the focus for Priory Country Park that in all covers over 300 acres and was created after gravel extraction left behind large pits that were filled with water. Thousands of trees were also planted and the whole area is now important for wildlife.

Points of Interest

The Embankment Gardens are Victorian in design, including the old suspension bridge. The new bridge design won a competition and complements the old bridge whilst providing better access across the river.
The black, white and brown Canada Geese are a feature of the riverside here, along with the swans.
Fenlake Meadows Local Nature Reserve (B) are old flood meadows that are an important habitat for wildlife. In the winter they flood and attract birds such as snipe, that probe the soft mud for food. In summer dragonflies abound and there are some unusual plants such as marsh ragwort. Along the river pollarded willows are a feature. These are traditionally cut above head height and regrow a crown of branches; most of these are very old.