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St.Mary Magdelen, Whipsnade - geograph.org.uk - 222462.jpg
Church of St Mary Magdelen
Whipsnade is located in Bedfordshire
Location within Bedfordshire
Population457 (2001 census)
420 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceTL010179
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLU6
Dialling code01582
FireBedfordshire and Luton
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°51′03″N 0°32′06″W / 51.8509°N 0.5349°W / 51.8509; -0.5349Coordinates: 51°51′03″N 0°32′06″W / 51.8509°N 0.5349°W / 51.8509; -0.5349

Whipsnade is a small village and civil parish in the county of Bedfordshire. It lies on the eastward tail spurs of the Chiltern Hills, about 2.6 miles south-south-west of Dunstable on the top of the Dunstable Downs which drop away steeply to the south of the village.[2]


Whipsnade is a compound of the Anglo-Saxon personal name, Wibba, with the word "snæd" an area of woodland, so the name means "Wibba’s wood".[2]


The village is first mentioned in a coroners roll of 1274 when Whipsnade Wood was described as being within the parish of Houghton Regis.[2] The Old Hunters Lodge at the Crossroads in the village is a Grade II Listed Building and was built in the early 17th Century. It is now a hotel and is the only licensed premises in the village outside of the ZSL grounds.[3]

Edward John Eyre, explorer of Australia, was born in Whipsnade in 1815.[4]

In the census of 2011 the population of Whipsnade was 420, a decline from 458 in 2001.[2]


Whipsnade is home to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. A chalk image of a lion can be found on Bison Hill and is owned by the zoo. During the Second World War, the lion was covered with a black sheet in order not to attract attention from the German bomber planes.[5] Whipsnade Park Golf Club is also in the vicinity, though it is actually in neighbouring Dagnall.[6]

The local Wildlife Trust manages a small nature reserve north of the village called Sallowsprings (51°51′21″N 0°32′21″W / 51.8559°N 0.5391°W / 51.8559; -0.5391 (Sallowsprings)).[7]


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Parish of Whipsnade in General". Bedford Borough Council. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Old Hunters Lodge Hotel: The Cross Roads, Whipsnade". Bedford Borough Council. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Eyre, Edward John (1815–1901)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Iconic chalk lion restored at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo". Zoological Society of London. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Whipsande Park Golf Club". Whipsnade Park Golf Club. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Sallowsprings". Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 17 March 2020.

External links[edit]

Media related to Whipsnade at Wikimedia Commons