Sandy, Bedfordshire

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Sandy market square.jpg
Market Square, Sandy
Sandy is located in Bedfordshire
 Sandy shown within Bedfordshire
Population 10,887 (2001)
OS grid reference TL1649
Civil parish Sandy
Unitary authority Central Bedfordshire
Ceremonial county Bedfordshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SANDY
Postcode district SG19
Dialling code 01767
Police Bedfordshire
Fire Bedfordshire and Luton
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament North East Bedfordshire
List of places

Coordinates: 52°07′52″N 0°17′49″W / 52.131°N 0.297°W / 52.131; -0.297

Sandy is a small market town and civil parish in Bedfordshire, England; frequently referred to as "the high mark of bedfordshire" It lies between Cambridge and Bedford, on the A1 road from London to Edinburgh. The area is dominated by a range of hills known as the Sand Hills while the River Ivel runs through the town. The dedication of the Anglican church is to St Swithun.

Sandy is probably best known today as the headquarters of the RSPB.[1] The Society moved to The Lodge, on the outskirts of the town in 1961. The Shuttleworth Collection is also nearby, around 2 miles (3.2 km) south west of Sandy. The Riddy is a flood meadow on the Ivel and Local Nature Reserve


An archaeological dig in May 2006 revealed that the town's ancestors may date back further than 250 BC.[2]

Sandy was originally a Roman settlement and was probably an important trading centre and staging post in the Roman era. An ancient hill fort, now heavily wooded and known as "Caesar's Camp" although more commonly called "the sand hills" or "the lookout", still overlooks the town.

Sandy is referred to in the Domesday Book, as Sandeia, a derivation from the Old English Sandieg, meaning a sand-island. In 1086 Sandy was listed in the Domesday Book as being held by Eudo Fitzhubert, who is likely to have been the tenant. He was probably also known as Eudo the Dapifer, who was a High Steward for William the Conqueror, and based in Colchester Castle.[3]

In addition there were also two mills listed, and both of these would have been water-powered. There are still references to one of them in the road name "Mill Lane" which runs along the river Ivel however the mill has since been replaced by housing. Further down the river from the site where the mill once stood is Sandye Place Academy where it is believed there was a Danish camp which was built to protect Danelaw in 886.[3] Evidence at The Riddy, a Local Nature Reserve just south of Sandy, shows that mill-building has taken place on this site since at least the time of the Norman era, though the last mill was built here in 1857.[4]


Schools in Sandy are 3 tier (lower, middle and upper) as are the rest of the schools in Central Bedfordshire.

Schools in Sandy[edit]

Lower schools

  • Maple Tree Lower School
  • Robert Peel Lower School
  • Laburnum Lower School
  • St Swithin's VC Lower School

Middle schools

  • Sandye Place Academy (Formerly Sandye Place Middle School)

Upper schools


Sandy is governed by two tiers of local government: the town council, and the Unitary Authority of Central Bedfordshire. It is within the Parliamentary constituency of North East Bedfordshire.


Roads layout in Sandy (partial)

Sandy is situated on the A1 which hugs the western edge of the town. The A603 leads west towards Bedford; the B1042 leads east towards Potton and Cambridge. There are a number of bus routes, principally the 73 from Biggleswade to Bedford. Sandy has a railway station which is on the East Coast Main Line. Services north to Peterborough and south to London King's Cross are provided by Thameslink and Great Northern.

The Varsity Line, which connected Oxford to Cambridge, also ran through Sandy. From Bedford to Sandy, the line is now part of the NCR 51 cycle route.

Twinned towns[edit]

Sandy has been twinned with the town of Malaunay in France since 1982,[5] as a result of which the Sandy Twinning Association was also established.[6] The Association has also recently developed links with the town of Skarszewy in Poland.[7]


Frederick Thomas Bidlake is commemorated by a garden and monument, at Girtford Bridge. It was unveiled on 23 September 1934 as more than 4,000 watched W. P. Cook, president of the Anfield Bicycle Club and the Road Records Association, perform the unveiling ceremony. The rector of Sandy blessed the memorial. The garden is triangular with a wall of local stone on one side. In its centre, a stone reads: “This garden is dedicated to Frederick Thomas Bidlake, a great cyclist, a man of singular charm and character, an untiring worker for cyclists 1867-1933”. A sundial in the centre of the garden is marked “He measured time”. A facsimile milestone is engraved “F. T. B. Few have known this road as he. London 48 - York 148”.[8]

The Girtford Bridge itself was built in 1780-82 to the designs of the Rutland architect John Wing (1728-1794) assisted by his son John Wing (1756-1826)[9]

There is a statue of William Peel VC in the south transept of Saint Swithun's Church.[10] Opposite the church across the High Street stands the Sir William Peel pub.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Dig unearths clues to town origins. Comet 24. 1 June 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2009
  3. ^ a b [1]. Sandy town website, History page.
  4. ^ "The Riddy". Sandy Town Council. Archived from the original on 18 January 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  6. ^ [2]. Sandy Twinning Association.
  7. ^ [3]. Sandy Twinning Association.
  8. ^
  9. ^ John Brushe, 'Girtford Bridge and John Wing 2', Bedfordshire Magazine Vol. 15 (1975), p. 59 ff. See Bedfordshire County Council, Girtford Bridge.
  10. ^ A Brief History of St Swithun's Church

External links[edit]