Bedfordshire is bounded on the N. by Northamptonshire, on the E. by the counties of Huntingdon, Cambridge, and Hertford, and on the W. by those of Buckingham and Northampton, and has an area of 461 square miles, being one of the smallest counties in England. The surface is mostly flat, but the Chiltern range of chalk hills rises to 500 ft. towards the S. The alluvial soil of the central district yields heavy crops of wheat. It is watered by the Ouse, Ivel, Lea, and Ouzel. Bedford, Dunstable, Luton, and Leighton Buzzard are the chief towns. Many fine seats are found in the county, notably that of the Duke of Bedford, Woburn Abbey.
The name of Bedford has been given to three counties in the United States, in Pennsylvania, in Virginia, and in Tennessee.