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Historic Environment Record

Bedford Borough Historic Environment Record is the most complete source of information on archaeological sites and finds, historic landscapes, and historic buildings within the borough.

The record is growing all the time and currently contains nearly 10000 entries covering information relating to:


  • Standing monuments and earthworks, such as the remains of castles
  • Chance finds, such as scatters of flint or pottery as well as metal detecting find spots including information from the Portable Antiquities Scheme
  • Details of previous archaeological investigations, ranging from the 19th century excavations to modern surveys
  • Cropmarks identified from aerial photographs which can indicate the presence of buried archaeological remains
  • Documentary evidence, such as historic buildings shown on early maps
  • Scheduled monuments
  • Listed Buildings
  • Conservation Areas
  • Non-listed historic buildings
  • Registered Parks and Gardens


In addition to this the reference library contains both published and unpublished reports and photographs including:

  • Unpublished fieldwork reports
  • Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal
  • Parish Surveys
  • Aerial Photographs, both oblique and vertical taken from the 1940’s onwards


Access to the Historic Environment Record is by appointment only, office hours are 10.00 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 16.00 weekdays, we are based in Borough Hall. Consulting the Historic Environment Record is free of charge for research, educational, or general interest enquires. To book an appointment, discuss a remote enquiry or for further information and advice please contact one of the Council’s Historic Environment Team:


geoff.saunders@bedford.gov.uk, Tel: 01234 718561 (Archaeological Officer)

vanessa.clarke@bedford.gov.uk, Tel: 01234 718560 (Senior Archaeological Officer)

For commercially based enquires there is a charge for using the Historic Environment Record. The latest Archaeology Charging Schedule including fees for use of the HER can be found on the Do I need planning permission?' page


We strongly recommend that all chance discoveries of archaeological artefacts within Bedford Borough are reported through the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). Julian Watters is the PAS officer for our area and he can be contacted at:

julian.watters@stalbans.gov.uk, Tel: 01727 751826


Historic Environment Countryside Advice to Landowners and Farmers

The landscape of Bedford Borough is the product of thousands of years of human activity and is rich in sites of archaeological and historic interest. In many cases it is these sites themselves that contain the only surviving information about early human settlement and land use. Archaeological remains are often a vulnerable resource therefore careful management is essential to ensure that our heritage survives in a good condition for the benefit of future generations.


Landowners and Farmers can take positive steps to prevent damage to archaeological sites through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme. This scheme can offer payments for protecting cropmarks and other archaeological sites through reverting arable farmland to pasture or through the operation of minimum tillage of arable land. Payments are also offered for the management, conservation, and maintenance of other features of historic interest such as historic field systems and boundaries, earthworks, and traditional farm buildings.

We can help you identify sites of interest on your farm and provide advice on the management options which may be available to you through Environmental Stewardship.

We will also offer advice on English Woodland Grant Schemes so as to help avoid conflict between the historic environment and new woodland planting proposals.

Please contact one of the Council’s Historic Environment Team for further information on this topic:


geoff.saunders@bedford.gov.uk, Tel: 01234 718561 (Archaeological Officer)

vanessa.clarke@bedford.gov.uk, Tel: 01234 718560 (Senior Archaeological Officer)

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