Leighton Buzzard

Leighton Buzzard

Market Square
Leighton Buzzard
 Leighton Buzzard shown within Bedfordshire
Population 37,000 [1]
OS grid referenceSP921250
Civil parishLeighton-Linslade
Unitary authorityCentral Bedfordshire
Ceremonial countyBedfordshire
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode district LU7
Dialling code 01525
Police Bedfordshire
Fire Bedfordshire and Luton
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK ParliamentSouth West Bedfordshire
List of places

Coordinates: 51°54′59″N 0°39′42″W / 51.9165°N 0.6617°W / 51.9165; -0.6617

Leighton Buzzard (/ˈltən ˈbʌzəd/) is a town in Bedfordshire, England near the Chiltern Hills and lying between Luton and Milton Keynes. It adjoins Linslade and the name Leighton Linslade is sometimes used to refer to the combination of the two towns; parts of this article also apply to Linslade as well as Leedon.

For local government purposes, the town is part of the Central Bedfordshire district and is administered jointly with Linslade as the civil parish of Leighton-Linslade (where the 2011 Census population was included).[2]


There are a number of theories concerning the derivation of the town's name, but the most likely is that "Leighton" came from Old English Lēah-tūn, meaning 'farm in a clearing in the woods'. The "Buzzard" was added by the Dean of Lincoln, in whose diocese the town lay in the 12th century. Having two communities called "Leighton" and seeking some means of differentiating them, he added the name of his local Prebendary or representative to that of the town. At that time it was a Theobald de Busar and so over the years the town became known as Leighton Buzzard. The other Leighton became Leighton Bromswold.[3]

Leighton Buzzard is also famous as the Grand Union Canal was opened there. More recently, Leighton Buzzard station was the location for part of the film Robbery, which is based on the so-called "Great Train Robbery" (1963), whereas the actual robbery took place just outside the town, at Bridego bridge, Ledburn. In the Domesday Book, Leighton Buzzard and Linslade were both called Leestone.


Leighton Buzzard contains All Saints' Church, an Early English parish church dating from 1277. The church has a 190 ft spire and has been described as the 'cathedral of South Bedfordshire'. The church was damaged by fire in the 1980s, but has since undergone restoration.

The town is also known for the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway, a narrow gauge heritage railway.[4]

The town has a combined library and theatre (called the Library Theatre) where both live events and film screenings are regularly held.[5]

Stockgrove Country Park is in nearby Heath and Reach.

After the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 Leighton Buzzard became the centre of a poor law union that consisted of 15 surrounding parishes with the union workhouse (still standing) being sited in Grovebury Road.

A network of historic tunnels exists under the High Street; these are believed to date from medieval times. The tunnels have not been investigated, but one is easily accessible from the cellarage of Wilkinson Estate Agents at the top of Market Square. The cellar, probably an ice house, extends under the road by some 16 feet and is in very good condition. The tunnel is sealed for safety reasons. It goes in a southerly direction towards the former Market Tavern (now Bell) public house some 100 yards and legend has it that other tunnels from the church and other public houses link up under the street in network that covers some 500 yards.


Leighton Buzzard is represented by the sporting teams of Leighton Town F.C. who play football in the Southern League Division One Midlands. Also at the Bell Close Site are Leighton Buzzard Tennis Club who have been a part of the town since the 1930s. Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club established in 1901, play field hockey and run 4 Men's and 4 Ladies teams of all ability. The Men's teams play in the South Hockey League and the Ladies teams play in the 5 Counties Hockey League. Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club also have junior sides; starting age of 5. Leighton Buzzard R.F.C. play rugby union in South West 1 East and the Ladies rugby team[6] play in NC South East North 2. Leighton Buzzard Golf Club was established in 1905 and there is also an active running club, Leighton Buzzard Athletics Club. Established in 2011 Leighton Buzzard Road Cycling Club is a cycling club for riders of all abilities. Their race team LBRCC-Solgar compete in local, as well as national, cycling events.[7] Established in 2000, Leighton Linslade Croquet Club ( www.leightonlinsladecroquet.org.uk), a member of the Croquet Association, have three croquet lawns in Pages Park next to the pavilion. The club takes part in many national croquet competitions and is a member of the East Anglian Croquet Association (EACF).



Leighton Buzzard experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.

Climate data for Leighton Buzzard
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6
Average low °C (°F) 3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69.3
Source: [8]


Lower schools

Middle schools

Upper schools

Other schools

Further education

Central Bedfordshire College has a campus near the town centre of Leighton Buzzard called the Learning Warehouse. The college provides a range of full-time and part-time courses for the local community. The college also operates a Learning Shop in the town, which offers basic IT courses.


The NatWest Bank at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England in the style of an Italian palazzo is an example of Neo-Renaissance architecture.
High Street, Leighton Buzzard. The former "Bassett's Bank" (now Barclays Bank) designed by the eminent Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse.

Leighton Buzzard is close to the M1 motorway and A5 road, and is served by London Midland and Southern services on the West Coast Main Line railway at Leighton Buzzard railway station (in Linslade). The Grand Union Canal runs through the town, alongside the River Ouzel.


The town is, or has at one time been, the home to various industries including B/E Aerospace (Aircraft Interiors), Polyformes, Lipton Tea which has now closed down, Gossard clothing, Lancer Boss (forklifts, etc.).

The town has a sizeable sand quarrying industry, with good enough quality building sand to export to Egypt. The first and only TXE1 telephone exchange was developed by the General Post Office and went into service in 1968. To meet the growing demand it was added to by two TXE2 exchanges and a TXE6 exchange on the night of 18 August 1971. A third TXE2 was added later but everything was replaced by a TXE4 exchange around 1977. Some of the TXE2 equipment was used to provide a new TXE2 at West Mersea Island in Essex. The large building, built on the site of the former Lake House, that housed all these TXE exchanges and the current digital exchange can be found in Lake Street.

Countrywide and Connells/Sequence, the UK's two largest estate agents' chains, both have their head offices in the town, as does the UK branch of Tupperware. FTSE 250 company Rightmove had their first ever office in the town, which at the time consisted of just 25 employees.


In the west, Linslade has merged with Southcott. Leighton Buzzard is expanding eastwards: 2,500-4,500 homes including 35% affordable housing are planned for east Leighton Buzzard for the Luton/Dunstable/Houghton Regis growth area and 900 homes including 35% affordable housing are being considered west of Linslade. Leighton Buzzard now encompasses RAF Stanbridge and the former hamlet of Leedon.

The population of Leighton-Linslade was originally recorded in the 2001 census as 32,417.[10] Part of Billington parish was transferred in 2003 to Leighton-Linslade, and the revised census result including this area was 32,753.[11] The population is estimated to have reached 37,000 in 2009 and is forecast to rise to 39,900 by 2012.[12]

The town is expanding southwards, with the development of sites in Southern Leighton Buzzard through the Southern Leighton Buzzard Development Brief.

Twin towns

Leighton Buzzard was twinned with Coulommiers in 1958. The twinning was renewed in 1982. It was also twinned with Titisee-Neustadt in 1991.

Notable people

In popular culture

One of the local quarries was used in the Hamunaptra scene in The Mummy Returns and more recently a scene for The Da Vinci Code.

In addition, the town and surrounding area is referenced in Mary Norton's popular series, The Borrowers. It is mentioned in Saki's short story "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope".

A 'Leighton Beau-desart in Bedfordshire' is mentioned in Chapter 4 of The Storm by Daniel Defoe.

See also


  1. 2009 estimate for Leighton-Linslade. See the Expansion section above for further information.
  2. Council Website: Council tax retrieved 7 August 2007
  3. "Our Building - All Saints Leighton Buzzard". allsaintslb.org.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  4. Train site retrieved 7 August 2007
  5. Theatre Site retrieved 7 August 2007
  6. "LBRCC". Members.lbrcc.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  7. "Averages for Leighton Buzzard".
  8. "Ofsted - Leighton Middle School". ofsted.gov.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  9. Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census Parish Headcounts for Leighton-Linslade.
  10. Bedfordshire County Council, Urban Area Profile for Leighton Linslade.
  11. Central Bedfordshire Council, Population of Central Bedfordshire.
  12. "Frank Bruno - The official website". Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  13. Dunn, Matthew. "Charlotte Dujardin's lost days at school". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 11 August 2012.


External links

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