The geographical county of Bedfordshire lies in eastern England, and is represented by the local government areas of Luton, Beford and Central Bedfordshire. The county’s origins are in antiquity, the earliest recording of its name is from C12th. Bedfordshire is home to around 617,000 people, and covers an area of 477 miles (1235 sq km). The nickname for a native of Bedfordshire is a “clanger”; named after a pastry-and-suet snack, filled with meat and jam, peculiar to the area.
In terms of landscape, Bedfordshire can be divided into three. The southernmost flank of the country is bounded the chalk scarp of the Chilterns, running east-southeast to east-northeast. This gives the county’s highest point at Dunstable Downs, rising to 797ft (243m) above sea-level. The central portion of the county sits on lower-lying clay, with the northern tip of the county slightly more elevated on a ridge greensand rock.
Hippopotamus and rhinoceros at Whipsnade Zoo
Performing seals at Whipsnade Zoo
The steam train at Whipsnade Zoo– the Jumbo Express
The main tourist attraction of Bedfordshire is Whipsnade Zoo , which is both a safari park and a conservation park. The 600 acre (just over 2.6 sq km) site is home to almost 3,000 species of animals. Some of the animals are free to roam are the park, such as peafowl, maras and red-necked wallabies– though most of the species are in kept in large enclosures.
The zoo is known for its collection of large mammals, notably rhinos and hippos. It is also home to some entertaining seals, who perform a variety of choreographed tricks on a daily basis.
The site may be driven around– there is also a steam railway that runs around the park, known as the Jumbo Express.
Whipsnade Tree Cathedral
Whipsnade Tree Cathedral and layout map
Near to Whipsnade Zoo is Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. It is owned by the National Trust; it was constructed in 1930s by Edmond K Blyth, a serviceman who was inspired by his memories of World War One. The plantation takes the form of a cathedral; the nave and cloisters being formed from grass avenues, and trees forming the “walls”.