Newnham, Bedford

Newnham, Bedford

Newnham is an electoral ward and area within the town of Bedford, Bedfordshire, England.

The boundaries of Newnham are (roughly) the A421 Goldington Road and Goldington to the north, the River Great Ouse to the south and east, with Newnham Avenue and De Parys to the west.

The Riverfield housing estate, and Bedford's Priory Country Park and Marina are within the boundaries of Newnham ward as well as a number of other key facilities for Bedford town. Newnham is the smallest ward (in terms of population) in Bedford.


A Neolithic henge was erected on the site of the current Tesco Supermarket on Riverfield Drive dating between 4000 and 2000 BC. Despite this there is very little evidence of any major settlement in Newnham in pre-historic times.

Risinghoe Castle was built in the area sometime after the Norman Invasion of 1066. Newnham derives its name from Newnham Priory which was established on the banks of the River Great Ouse by Simon de Beauchamp, Baron of Bedford in 1165. The de Beauchamp family were the owners of Bedford Castle as well as Risinghoe Castle, and were an important family in medieval Bedford and England. The priory was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1541.

The Newnham area remained as undeveloped farmland and a site for gravel extraction until the 20th Century. By then the expansion of Bedford required more housing. Bedford's old power station was built in the area in 1955 and demolished in 1987. The final stage of Newnham's development happened during the early 1990s. With the demolition of the old power station, the land was redeveloped into the Priory Marina and country park and the Riverfield housing estate.


Newnham is an unparished area, with all community services under the direct control of Bedford Borough Council. Newnham elects 2 councillors to Bedford Borough Council, currently 1 Conservative and 1 Liberal Democrat. Newnham also elects 1 councillor to Bedfordshire County Council, that councillor is also a Conservative.

Local Amenities

There are a number of facilities located on Newnham Avenue, including a Post Office, a Supermarket, a pub called The White Horse, and a 24-hour BP Petrol Station and a Marks & Spencer 'Simply Food' store.

The Aspects Leisure Park is situated in Newnham. This entertainment complex (located on Newnham Avenue and Barkers Lane) houses Bedford's Cineworld Cinema, a Bingo Hall, a Fitness First Gym, plus a Pizza Hut and a McDonald's restaurant. it is also the site of Bedford's main fire station.

Further along Barkers Lane is the Bedford International Athletics Stadium. This ground has played host to many important athletics meetings in the past and Paula Radcliffe has trained there. It is also home to Bedford Tigers RLFC. The stadium has been selected as an official training site for the London 2012 Olympics, with the venue expected to attract athletes training for the event.

Further along Barkers Lane is a small industrial estate and a provision of allotments. The Priory Country Park, Bedford's Marina and a restaurant are also located just off Barkers Lane. There are a number of businesses located on Riverfield Drive, including a large Tesco superstore, a Homebase DIY store, and a Harvester family pub and restaurant called The Orchard.


Unusually there are no state schools or Independent Schools in Newnham. Newnham Middle School is not even in Newnham, it is located in De Parys.

Most lower School age children in the area attend a school in Goldington or Castle. For older children the area is served by either Goldington Middle School or Newnham Middle School. Newnham's upper School students generally are in the catchment areas for John Bunyan Upper School and Biddenham Upper School.

Places of Worship

Priory Methodist Church is located on Newnham Avenue.


External links

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