Leighton Buzzard

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Leighton Buzzard
Leighton Buzzard Market Square
Grid reference: SP921250
Location: 51°54’59"N, 0°39’42"W
Population: 37,000  (2009 estimate)
Post town: Leighton Buzzard
Postcode: LU7
Dialling code: 01525
Local Government
Council: Central Bedfordshire
South West Bedfordshire

Leighton Buzzard is a busy town in south-western Bedfordshire. It stands on the River Ouzel at the edge of the Chiltern Hills, between Luton and Milton Keynes.

Leighton Buzzard is a traditional market town which although in the midst of development has managed to retain a unique charm and character. The town centre has attractive streets running off a market square where a market is held twice weekly market, and a farmers’ market each month. The major shopping town however is Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.

The parish church is All Saints Church, in Church Square, dating from 1277 with later alterations. . The church has a 190 foot 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.

An interesting workhouse built in the early nineteenth century stands in Grovebury Road.

The Grand Union Canal passes through Leighton Buzzard, its towpaths providing popular walks out into the countryside.

The town is also known for the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway, a narrow gauge heritage railway.[1]

The neighbouring village of Linslade, across the river in Buckinghamshire, may be encompassed within the name of Leighton Buzzard, the two sharing the civil parish of Leighton-Linslade.[2] Leighton Buzzard itself stands on the east side of the River Ousel and Linslade to the west.

Parish church

The parish church is All Saints. It is a late 13th century town church. Within is a mediæval wooden eagle lectern. It has windows by Kempe.


The town has an unusual combined library and theatre (called the Library Theatre) where both live events and film screenings are regularly held.[3]

Stockgrove Country Park is nearby, at Heath and Reach.


There are a number of theories concerning the derivation of the town's name. "Leighton" is from Old English indicating a clearing in the woods. The "Buzzard", it is said 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, Theobald de Busar, to that of the town, while the other Leighton (in Huntingdonshire) became Leighton Bromswold. (In the Domesday Book, Leighton Buzzard and Linslade were both called Leestone.)

The Grand Union Canal was opened at Leighton Buzzard.

The Great Train Robbery took place in 1963 just outside of the town, at Bridego Bridge, Ledburn. Leighton Buzzard was used as a location in a film about the robbery.


  1. Train site retrieved 7 August 2007
  2. Council Website retrieved 7 August 2007
  3. Theatre Site retrieved 7 August 2007

Outside links