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T he Ouse valley is rich in natural beauty and historical interest. Ann Hagen takes us on a local walk highlighting points of interest along the way... This is a short walk on a metalled surface suitable for those in wheelchairs but walkers can extend it. Park in the main car park - disabled spaces are at the far side just on the right. Take the metalled path out of the car park to the right of the totem pole. The Centre with toilets and information is on the left. Turn right at the T junction of the paths and the path will take you past a duck feeding area on the left. Cross the path and go straight ahead. There is a notice board with details of the priory and a sketch of how it may have looked. Turn left alongside the wall. Apart from the occasional cyclist and wet dog this is a peaceful walk so theres time for some history. After the Conquest Augustinian canons following the example of monks began to live as a community round St. Pauls church. Dunstable and Caldwell priories were already established when Newnham was founded in 1166 by Simon de Beauchamp. Newn meant new particularly of buildings we are talking 1166 and ham a farmsteadhomesteadmanor complex. In 1164 Philip de Broy one of the canons of St Pauls Bedford killed a man. The de Broys were Simons tenants at Bletsoe the canons those of his nearest church. Simon and Archdeacon Nicholas must have felt it would be better if the Bedford canons also lived as a community under monastic rule and in the charge of a prior. Space in Bedford town was limited but the canons had property in Goldington and this probably influenced the site of the new priory. It was just as well as a few decades later St Pauls was destroyed by King John and it probably also suffered during the 1224 siege of Bedford castle though after the castle was pulled down that year some of the stone was given by the king to Newnham Priory. Christians were not supposed to charge interest on money they lent so active commercial centres often had a Jewry. In 1266 the king protected Bedford Jews against anti-Semitism but in 1290 they were expelled from the country and King Edward I gave Newnham two houses which had belonged to Jacob and Benedict sons of Peitivin a Jew who had been heavily fined a generation before. If the prior was an A short walk at Newnham Priory Park