The Great Ouse, Bedfordshire, Harold to Radwell.
Harold lies to the north and west of Bedford. This trip is best done outside the fishing season. It needs two cars, one at the start and one at the finish. Park one car at Radwell just before the bridge, on the left. Getting in at Harold is easy, there is an off road carpark by the bridge and next to the Country Park. Walk through the trees to the river. There is quite a swift current here. We paddled it at the start of June, just before the fishing season. We saw kingfishers, lots of swans, various reed warblers, fish and lots of dragonflies, though it was quite a hot day. The water is very clear if not in flood. It takes about an hour at an easy pace to reach Felmersham. No portages. Idyllic.
Have a rest at Felmersham. There is a good map of the river and a description of the area. The five arched bridge was built in 1818 and can be covered during flood times. After this the river meanders on. You go underneath the main Midlands railway bridge from St. Pancras. An impressive structure about 60ft above the river. Interestingly, near the end you go under the railway again, but at this point it is only 15ft above the river.
The only weir on this journey is shortly after the bridge, get out on the RIGHT and portage round the weir, which is a near vertical drop of about 5ft. The river now goes round in a great loop and your almost head back on yourself before turning south. You go underneath the railway again and the end is quickly upon you. Either get out before the bridge on the left, or use the 2nd left arch and immediately get out on the left. This bridge was built in 1766 and has seven arches with a raised footwalk to it on the flood plain side. About one hour at a nice pace.
|Harold||The Get in||Canadian Geese||Reed Beds|
|Reflections||Map at Felmersham||The Bridge||Down river|
|One of many footbridges||Midlands Railway Line||The Weir||Getting back in|
|Radwell||Get out||The Causeway & Lay-by|