Priory Country Park

Lake at Priory Country Park

Priory Country Park is a 360 acre green space made up of lakes, meadows and woodland which is in part enclosed within a bend in the River Great Ouse. There are habitats from meadows to reed beds, quiet walks for all, fishing, boating, play areas and bird hides. 

It is also a County Wildlife Site and certain areas of the park are left undisturbed for the benefit of the wildlife that makes the park its home. 

Green Flag Award

Priory Country Park is one of four Bedford Borough Council managed parks that has been awarded a Green Flag. The Green Flag Award scheme recognises quality parks and open spaces in the UK and around the world.

More information on the Green Flag Award.



  • Bird watching
  • Café
  • Car park on site
  • Fishing (permit only)
  • Play areas
  • Toilets
  • Water sports 
  • Walking trails

Book an event in this park

Go to our parks events booking page to create an event.


The Cloverdale Retreat has excellent views across Priory Country Park Lake and includes a large area of elevated decking outside. The menu includes fine homemade cuisine and a range of teas, coffees, and cold drinks.

Visit the Cloverdale Retreat website. 

Fishing in Priory Country Park

Fishing at Priory Country Park is restricted. In some waters, fishing is not permitted at all. Where fishing is permitted you will need a current Environment Agency and a fishing permit from Bedford Borough Council.

All information on where you can and cannot fish is posted outside the park's Visitors' Centre and on fishing map boards located around the Priory Country Park. 

Fishing permits are valid for one season only. The fishing season runs from 16 June to 14 March each year.

See our rivers, waterways and fishing page for more information about fishing permits.

Water sports in Priory Country Park

  • Priory Sailing Club has been based at Priory Country Park since the park opened in the 1980s and is open to members only, throughout the week. Guests can purchase day tickets at weekends for dinghy sailing, windsurfing and paddle sports from Priory Sailing Club. Please visit Priory Sailing Club for information on access and day tickets.
  • Paddle sports (canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding) are permitted on the River Great Ouse in areas that are open to navigation. There are portage points giving access to the river upstream and downstream of Cardington lock. From the portage points, you can paddle upstream to Bedford town centre and downstream to Willington and beyond. Please only use the navigable waters where boats are allowed.
  • Swimming is not allowed anywhere in Priory Country Park.

There is no access to the Finger Lakes for any water sport.

Country Park trails

Car parking

Barkers Lane Car Park – The main car park for visitors to the Country Park, located off Barkers Lane, Bedford, MK41 9DJ.

Cardington Mill Car Park - Parking is available at Cardington mill car park and provides easy access to the water. Cardington Mill is located off Stannard Way, Bedford, MK44 3RZ.


Join the Park Warden to undertake practical conservation, habitat and maintenance tasks around the park. The volunteers meet every Monday and Thursday.

For further information please contact Jon on 01234 718012 (answerphone) or email  

All sessions start at 9.30am from the Visitors' Centre and finish at 3pm.

Funeral ash scattering 

Information about ash scattering in Priory Country Park. (PDF)

Park byelaws 

Download the most recent version of Priory Country Park's byelaws. 

Contact information

Warden's office: 01234 718012 (answerphone)