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1969. Tiddenfoot quarry taken over by nature.  By kind permission T. Wilkins1969. Tiddenfoot quarry taken over by nature. By kind permission T. Wilkins

Tiddenfoot Waterside Park at Leighton- Linslade

During the Jurassic period, Tiddenfoot lay under a warm, shallow sea, full of ammonites, oysters, fish, ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

In the Cretaceous period sea creatures thrived and dinosaurs roamed dry land. Rivers washed sand into the seas. Tiddenfoot was was a beach of mud and sand, which became the Lower Greensand. As time passed, sediments (Gault clay, followed by chalk) were deposited over it.

About 20 million years ago, Africa collided with Europe and the Greensand Ridge was formed. Tiddenfoot was near the southern end of the ridge.

The climate changed about 2.6 million years ago, Earth entered the Ice Age. The country was covered with a sheet of ice, which, scraped away at the land, stripping the chalk and softer clay deposits, revealing the sands of the Greensand Ridge. During interglacial periods, grass, trees and shrubs grew. Tiddenfoot may have become the hunting ground for early man, chasing after elephants, great deer, and mammoths.

In prehistoric times, on a route known as Theodweg was where travellers crossed the River Ouzel. 2000 years ago the Romans established Theedway as a salt route from the midlands to the south.

A thousand years later the Saxons were at war with the Danes. The Saxons had improved the Ouzel River and called it Yttingaford, and it was here in 906AD that Edward the Elder, made peace with the Danes. Eventually the old salt route fell into disuse. Only the name Tiddenfoot remains.

1800 saw the construction of the Grand Union Canal with a wharf at Tiddenfoot. From 1920 to 1960, Tiddenfoot Pit was quarried by The London Brick Company, the sand carried by Canal Boats across the country. When the pit closed nature took over; plants and wildlife established themselves. The pit became a lake. The site was owned and managed from 1976 by Bedfordshire County Council, from 2009 is owned and managed by Central Bedfordshire.

The Greensand Trust now manages Tiddenfoot Waterside Park. Volunteers help maintain the grassy areas, woodland, lake and ponds. People enjoy walking and cycling, and Leighton Buzzard Angling Club members fish in Tiddenfoot Lake. A Waterside Festival is held annually with something for everyone: music, narrow boats, arts and crafts and stalls of all kinds.

The eight-acre lake at the centre of the park is home to many animals such as fish, frogs, toads, dragonflies, damselflies and other aquatic insects. Residents and migratory birds abounding too, such as Great Crested Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens and Kingfishers. Sandmartins race along the lake feeding on insects. Trees and shrubs provide food, shelter and nesting places for many birds.

 

 
 
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