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. 

Priory Country Park 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 five 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

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 rod licence.

In other areas, you must also purchase a fishing permit from Bedford Borough Council.

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

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. 

Please read the fishing rules for Priory Country Park.

Fishing permit

Before you can purchase our fishing permit, you will need these documents/information to hand:

  • Your Environment Agency rod fishing licence number 
  • Debit or credit card (for online payment)
  • Vehicle registration (if you bring your car on site when you fish)

Fishing permits prices 2022-23

Permits are for the whole season only. There are no day tickets available.

  • Day fishing: adults £49.10, concessions/juniors (under 17), OAPs £20.40
  • Day and night fishing: adults £76.35, concessions/juniors (under 17), OAPs £31.90

If you fish without a permit you will be liable for a fine.

Fishing permits for the 2022-23 season will be available to buy from 30 May 2022. 

Apply for a fishing permit

You can apply for a fishing permit using the link below:

Apply for a fishing permit

Water sports in Priory Country Park


Swimming is not allowed anywhere in Priory Country Park.

Paddle sports

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.

Finger Lakes

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

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.

Priory main lake

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 further information on access and day tickets.

Country park trails


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. 


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.

What's on

Bird walks are not currently taking place.

Book an event in this park

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

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)