Take a look around Bedford’s ancient lime kiln

Tom Perrett (Bedford Borough Council), Cllr Fletcher, Cllr Reale and David Fowler at the Castle Quay Lime Kiln

Thanks to the efforts of local tour guide and historian, David Fowler, and with contributions from Castle Ward councillors David Fletcher and Luigi Reale, the ancient lime kiln underneath Castle Quay can now be accessed for guide walks.

Bedford Borough Council has carried out works to enable access to the ancient lime kiln in Bedford’s Cultural Quarter and the kiln will now be included in guided walks with the Bedford Association of Tour Guides.

The lime kiln was discovered in 1972 during excavations of the site of Bedford Castle. It is a round pit, about 5 metres across and 5 metres deep, which is lined with stone blocks.

It was built in the mid-13thcentury to make quicklime, which was used in a number of medieval industries. Every medieval stone building in Britain would have been made using lime mortar produced from kilns such as this one.

Lime was also used in agriculture to help break down heavy clay soil, and in the making of parchment.

The works carried out include installing a ventilation system in the space containing the lime kiln, and an upgrade to lighting. Together these improvements have made it possible for groups to visit the space on accompanied tours.

To find out more about guided walks around Bedford, visit www.bedfordtourguides.org.

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