Footpath Group


At the meeting on the 16th July there were reports on all the seventeen footpaths and bridleways which surround the village. These reports identified where cutting back and mowing was required and also identified where work was needed on the path furniture, from mending stiles, replacing broken waymark posts down to replacing faded waymark discs.

The next meeting is on the Saturday 10th September in the Village Hall at 10.00am.

If you are interested in these paths and would like to help keep an eye on them, so they remain easy to access, come along to the meeting on the 10th and see what it is all about. Maps and survey forms are provided.  All are welcome.


The July meeting survey reports showed that the main tasks facing the Group is clearing the surface of many of the paths, which have become a bit overgrown. Hopefully the Group can use its brush-cutter, strimmer and mower on these paths and ensure once again that the eleven miles of footpaths and bridleways in the Parish are easy to go along. The re-instatement of waymark posts and replacement of faded discs should also help people keep to the correct line of these Public Rights of Way.

Working Parties will be arranged to tackle these tasks. If you are interested in helping with this work get in touch through the number at the foot of this article and you will be added to the notification list of each Working Party. You can then come along if you are free.


The July walk was due to be in and around the countryside near Stagsden so hopefully a sudden wet end to the recent dry period didn't put a stop to this.

The next walk will be on Friday 26th August. Meet in Whitworth Way car park at 6.15pm. It will probably be a fairly local walk as the evenings will be getting shorter by then. Keep an eye on the Village noticeboards at the Village Hall and Crossroads for details of this walk.

Don't worry if you don't have transport as lifts will be available. If possible please let me know beforehand then I make sure that there are spare seats.

Walking shoes/boots are recommended as bits of paths can be uneven or even muddy! Especially after rain!

The remaining walks will be on Sunday 18th September afternoon, Sunday 30th October morning and Sunday 27th November morning.


If you would like a calendar listing the dates and times of the meetings and walks please contact the number below.

Footpath Leaflets

The Group has lots of copies of the leaflet showing where all the Public Rights of Way are, where they go to and how they join up with the roads. If you would like a free copy please contact the number below.

Nigel Jacobs


Would you like a small part-time job?

Wanted – one, or two people to share, the role of Assistant Caretaker at Wilstead Village Hall

To start as soon as possible, Wilstead Village Hall Management Committee is looking to fill the vacancy of an assistant caretaker by either one person or two people sharing the role.

This is for a minimum of 3 hours of work (as it depends on the amount of bookings) on one day of a weekend and for a minimum of 3 hours worked on a Monday.

There is the possibility of earning extra money to help cover the main Caretaker's holidays and sick days.

The pay is £10.00 per hour as worked.  

Duties would include good time keeping to unlock and lock the hall for hirers, and preparing the hall and cleaning after a hire. Other duties might include gardening, deep cleaning and general maintenance.  

Full support and training will be given.

If you are at all interested, even just for one of the days or require further information, please contact either of the names listed below.

Brian, our main caretaker is very willing to show you around the Hall.

Chairperson – Sandra Spinks 07853395939

Secretary - Angela Fosbrook

01234 294692

Wilstead Flower, Produce And Handicrafts Show

Saturday 27th August

2.00pm in the Village Hall

Pick up a show schedule from the Wilstead Post Office. The schedule includes an entry form and all instructions on how to put in an entry to the show.

The schedule is also available to download from the Village Website:

Admission in the afternoon is only £1 but exhibitors and children are free.


Parish Council Latest

For the second month the main agenda item for the Parish Council meeting held on 25th July was the Borough proposal for 2100 houses within Wilstead Parish.

Thanks to everyone who came along to the  drop-in session at the Village Hall on Sunday 10th July. A total of 125 residents came for more information and help with any response they would make.

The final date for responses was Friday 29th July so we hope that as many people from Wilstead as possible wrote in and registered their comments.

The Parish Council has written to express their objection to the Plan. Specifically it was felt that by following the Government formula for the calculation of additional housing Bedford Borough Council are obliged to plan for a growth rate far in excess of that which the Borough can sustainably accommodate.

The resulting huge number of new houses proposed for the area South of Bedford (2100 within Wilshamstead Parish alone and 1000 more nearby in Shortstown ) would result in the urbanisation of this area and the removal of the rural nature of this part of the Borough.

In addition the Parish Council objected strongly to the wording of the Plan which shows two large developments as extensions to Wixams and does not mention that these are within Wilshamstead Parish.

Other reasons for objection were:

·     The increase in traffic that will be caused, particularly on the A6 towards Bedford, into Wixams (for accessing shops and station) and along Cotton End Road to access the A600.

·     The lack of any detailed plan on how to provide sufficient infrastructure for such a large influx of people (e.g. schools, GPs, bus services, cycle routes into Bedford town centre, and shops).

·     The detrimental effect of such large developments on the existing close community and rural nature of the village, valued by so many residents and highlighted in the Neighbourhood Plan.

·     The loss of views and unspoilt countryside.

·     The danger of eventual coalescence between the communities of Wixams, Wilstead, Elstow and Shortstown – creating one 'urban sprawl'.

Average Speed Cameras Update

It is now expected that Average Speed Cameras will be installed in Cotton End Road in the Autumn of 2022.

Village Improvements

The Parish Council has been discussing various improvements that can be made in village amenities.

For example:

Some of the equipment in the Whitworth Way playground is in urgent need of replacement and, in addition, it is felt that there is insufficient equipment for the very young age group.

Quotations and professional advice are currently being obtained and various options are under consideration. If you would like an input into what would be best, you are welcome to contact Lizzie, the Parish Clerk, who will put you in touch with the Councillors concerned.

The bus shelters are faded and dirty and can do with sprucing up. This work is to be undertaken in the near future.

The grassed area at the Crossroads is to be landscaped and planted,

The bridge, benches, paving and greenery between the end of Pollards Close and Luton Road are to be tidied up, cleaned, coated or replaced.

Contacting The Parish Council

The best way to contact the Parish Council is to email Lizzie, the Parish Clerk at:

Alternatively you can call 01234 743152 or write to PO Box 1548, Bedford, MK44 5AX.

Please note the Parish Office is open Monday 9.00am to midday and that the next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Monday 12th September at 7pm in the small hall of the Village Hall.

Pre-School News

We have had a wonderful summer term ending with a delightful leavers party. It is always sad to say goodbye to our lovely children and we wish them lots of happiness in their new schools.

We also said goodbye to our lovely Josie who has been a valued member of staff for 12 years. Josie has worked with children for many years and she should feel very proud of the positive  impact she has made on so many families over the years. We wish Josie a happy and healthy retirement.

We also say thank you and goodbye to Louisa Sexton who has been a fantastic playworker and support over the past couple of years, we wish her all the very best for the future.

Pre-School continues to be very busy with a high demand for places. We are now full until September 2023.  If you would like to add your child to our waiting list please contact us for an admissions form.


All Saints Church

I write this after the funeral of Revd Stephen Toze. It was a wonderful service conducted by the Archdeacon of Bedford, the Venerable Dave Middlebrook.

The Church was filled to a comfortable capacity.  Many came to pay their last respects to Stephen who had been our Vicar for 19 years. Thanks to those who decorated the Church so beautifully with flowers.  May Stephen rest in peace.

Services continue to be held on  a regular basis.  The pattern for August is as follows:


7th August   11.00  am  Morning Praise

14th August  11.30 am  Holy Communion

21st August   11.00 am Holy Communion

28th August    11.00  am Holy Communion

4th September  11.00  am  Morning Praise

All are welcome to join us for worship

Robert Heley

Bowls Club News

Very well done to our ladies in the County Triples who have reached the finals at the end of the month.   They are Kim Douglas, Margaret Dunlop and Barbara Carter.

Roger Hopkins with the help of Rick and Trish Baxter organised a trip to Newmarket Ladies Day which was enjoyed by everyone who went, and Chris Purcell of South East Security donated  £100 to our club.

On Sunday 7th August it is President's Charity Day for Canine Partners.

Then on Sunday 21st August we are hosting a County game between Bedfordshire Vice Presidents versus Leicester County.

Club competitions are progressing well, and Club friendly games are being played every week for the men. ladies and the over 60's.

The bar at the club is open most evenings during the summer, and  every Friday evening plus Sunday lunchtime 12 noon until 2.00pm.

Jean Ward  -  Secretary

Wilstead Village Hall

At the recent Committee meeting, we placed an order for new curtains throughout, including new stage curtains. We hope that everyone will approve of the design we chose!

Unfortunately, we have been let down by two builders who promised to make a small repair to the roof and so if you know anyone who could help, please contact the numbers below.

The Committee continue to work towards an online booking system and make other improvements but recently it has been noted that the main hall floor is in need of some repair in places. This will have to take priority over other maintenance.

Due to being unable to attract anyone for the position of Assistant Caretaker, we have altered the hours to suit 2 people to job share if required and also have increased the pay to £10 per hour.

If you are at all interested, please see the separate advert and/or contact either of the names below.

Chairperson - Sandra Spinks 07853395939

Secretary – Angela Fosbrook 01234 294692

Yoga all Summer

For all abilities at Cotton End Village Hall.

6:15pm each Thursday. Only £5 a class.

For details and booking please email:

Summer and Hot Weather Gardening

Record breaking temperatures and the driest Spring have made gardening interesting this year. Our planned outing to Lake End House is currently on hold because of the forecast temperatures, an alternative date will be made.  Doubtless by the time you read this it will be cool and wet. We can dream.

The garden will survive with a bit of thought. Established trees and shrubs will have deep roots and may shed leaves but will survive. It is natural for fruit trees, such as apples, to shed excess fruit this time of year, so don't be alarmed. When your strawberries have finished fruiting, if you cut them back to new leaves, they will probably fruit again in Autumn.

Similarly dead heading both perennials and bedding flowers will encourage more blooms and cutting back plants that have gone 'leggy' will encourage sturdier, bushier growth that are less prone to wind damage later in the season. Perennials are more sturdy than annuals as established plants have bigger roots so more likely to be fine.

Plants in tubs, pots or raised beds are more at risk as is anything in a greenhouse. Generous watering every few days is better than little and often. Small amounts of water encourages roots to head for the surface of the soil and therefore quicker to dry out. This is especially true for lawns, don't waste water on established lawns, they do recover. Water for the garden can be 'saved' from washing in no or very dilute detergent, like preparing vegetables and don't forget the water you run waiting for the hot water in your taps, worth keeping a jug handy.

Some things love this weather so enjoy looking at the amazing geraniums, lavenders and roses and enjoy eating your courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce, plums, berries and everything you have nurtured.

Looking forward to seeing everyone either for the bat walk in August or back in the hall in September.

Maralyn, Viv, Mary, Lynda and Julie

Updated  7th August 2022