About the River Ivel
Course of the Ivel
The River Ivel rises just north of Baldock in Hertfordshire, but most of its course lies within Bedfordshire. It flows through Stotfold, Arlesey, Henlow, Langford, Biggleswade, Sandy and Blunham. It joins the Great Ouse near Tempsford. The total length is about 25 km(18 miles).
The Purwell and Oughton are chalk streams which join as a confluence at Ickleford in North Hertfordshire to form the River Hiz, this in turn joins the Ivel near the village of Henlow. Other tributaries are the Rivers Flit & Hit, which join in Shefford becoming the Ivel Navigation Chanel (Navigation now ceased) eventualy this joins the Ivel at Langford.
The Ivel was once an important part of the river and canal transport system. The 7 miles from its confluence with the Gt. Ouse at Tempsford to Biggleswade was made navigable in 1758 and a further extension to this was made in 1823 by making a five-mile extension from Biggleswade to Shefford known as the Ivel Navigation Canal. The old pound locks now in ruins can still be seen at various locations along the river. Navigation was officially closed in 1878 as by this time railways had mostly replaced the canal systems as the major source of transport.
Another important part of the river use was to supply energy to "Water Mills" . Although none are still working today the actual buildings of some can still be seen at Stotfold, Langford and Biggleswade. Most of the towns and villages along the river have a road called "Mill Lane".