Bedford to Kempston Mill Circular Walk

Bedford To Kempston Mill Circular Walk

This circular walk starts from the County Bridge in Bedford and follows the River Ouse upstream to Kempston Mill. The return section follows the river on the opposite bank through wood and meadowland. This is a particularly attractive walk in the autumn.

How To Get There By Passenger Transport

Click here for bus and train timetable information

How To Get There By Car

Bedford is easily accessible from the M1 via the A421 from Junction 13 or from the A1 via the A603.
Parking is available in short and long stay car parks situated in the town centre.

Start/Finish Point

This walk starts from the County Bridge, Prebend Street, in Bedford.

Access and General Information

Length: 5-6 miles (8-9.6kms)    Time: 2½-3 hours
Access Information:
Surface Types: You will walk across surface types ranging from hard and firm with no stones larger than 5mm, to hard and firm with some loose stones, none greater than 10mm, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with and without mud and ruts.
Linear Gradient: There are linear gradients of between 1:6-1:9 at Queen's Bridge at the start of the walk. There are also linear gradients of between 1:10-1:13.
Cross Falls: There are cross falls of 1:9 or steeper at Queen's Bridge.
Width Restriction: There are no restrictions less than 1000mm.
Steps: There are 5 steps with a maximun step height of 156mm leading down from Prebend Street to the river on the north side. At the first bridge, there are 13 steps with a height of 190mm
Barriers: There is one kissing gate with a restriction of less than 1000mm and one 1-step style. There is also a height restriction of 1450mm (4ft 9ins) at the first railway bridge. There is an alternative route over the footbridge.
Refreshments: There is a good selection of pubs, shops and cafes in Bedford and Kempston.
Public Toilets: Located in Bedford.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Seats: There are numerous seats on the north side of the river, and 2 on the south side.

Route Description

1 Join the path at the north side of the river at Prebend Street Bridge. Walk upstream with the river on your left. The path takes you along the riverbank and under the Bedford/Bletchley railway bridge.

2 Go under the railway bridge, turn left and cross the river by the footbridge.

3 The path widens out and to your right lies the brewery buildings of Charles Wells. Ahead is Queens Bridge, a footbridge linking Kempston to Bedford. On your right is the attractive open parkland of Queens Park.

4 Tall Ashes and mature Willows mark the whole of this stretch of the river making ideal picnic sites.

5 To the right the residential area of Queens Park overlooks the grassy mounds of the riverside and the sweep of the river as it winds towards Kempston.

6 The path climbs to a stile beyond which the tarmac path becomes a track.

7 After a gap in the hedge the pathway splits. Follow the left path towards Kempston Mill. On your right you can see the square tower of All Saints Church at Kempston. The path swings away from the river before rejoining the waterside at two footbridges.

8 From here the site of Kempston Mill can be seen. The Mill was destroyed by fire in 1969 and marks the site of a Roman mill. Cross the second bridge and head towards the farm. There are toilet and parking facilities here.

9 To make the return trip, turn immediately left over the second bridge. At this point it is possible to leave the riverbank and walk to Kempston Church End. This can be reached by turning right into Greenview Road and heading for Church Walk and an avenue of trees known locally as 'Lady's Walk'. Retrace your steps to return to the riverside walk.

10 To continue the circular walk, follow the river through the trees, NOT THE STILE. With the river on your left, walk through the attractive woodland. Continue along the river, which takes you through trees and shrubs to more open parkland.

11 The path bears to the right into a tree-lined meadowland.

12 The path leads you towards Queen's Bridge.

13 In this area many items of archeological interest were found during gravel workings. Take the bridge over the river and retrace your steps back to Prebend Street bridge at point 1.


Produced by the Economic Development Unit of Bedford Borough Council.