Woodlands and sites within the Forest of Marston Vale not owned by Marston Vale Trust.
As part of our work in creating the Forest of Marston Vale, the Marston Vale Trust has created several hundred hectares of new woodlands and greenspaces in the Forest. These are all great places to explore, and you’ll find more information about all of the Trust’s sites elsewhere on this website, but there are also other places in the Marston Vale that are looked after by other organisations and are well worth a visit. Some brief details are given below:
A 16 hectare ancient semi-natural woodland in Kempston Rural parish that is owned by the Woodland Trust and can be reached via the public footpath network. This ancient woodland has much wildlife and historical interest. A 4 mile self- guided walk passes Kempston Wood starting at Green End
A 60 hectare ancient semi-natural woodland on the borders of Cranfield and Marston Moretaine parishes. Owned by Central Bedfordshire Council, its proximity to National Cycleway Network Route 51 and the Marston Vale Trust’s Rectory Wood, make this lovely woodland easy and worthwhile to visit. The woodland has much wildlife interest – much of it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Jubilee Trail leads walkers from the Forest Centre in Marston Moretaine to Marston Thrift. There is a small car park at Wood End, accessed via the old A421, just west of Marston Moretaine.
A beautiful ancient semi-natural woodland that lies on the slopes of greensand and clay between Ampthill and Houghton Conquest. Kings Wood and Glebe Meadows (a grassland site to the north of the wood) are together a Local Nature Reserve both owned and managed by Central Bedfordshire Council, and offer varied wildlife interest. There are great views from its southern tip and from nearby Houghton House, a Jacobean ruin owned by English Heritage. A circular walk passes around the east and south sides of the wood and links to the Greensand Ridge Walk at the southern tip of the wood.
Holcot and Reynolds Woods
Holcot Wood is an ancient semi-natural woodland that lies on a clay ridge between Cranfield and Brogborough. Holcot and Reynolds Wood (to the south and west, planted in the early 1990s) are owned by the Woodland Trust and together are nearly 100 hectares of new and ancient woodland and meadows, all open to the public. The area offers great views, with access via the rights of way network from Cranfield or near Brogborough.
On the southern edge of the Forest, Ampthill Park is a wonderful, landscaped park that lies on a greensand hill overlooking the Marston Vale, to the north-west of Ampthill. Landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, it has good parking, toilets, cricket and rugby pitches as well as a children’s play area. There are great views and easy access from Ampthill where there are plentiful pubs, shops and restaurants. There are also several walks around Ampthill. Ampthill Park also lies on the Greensand Ridge Walk.
More information about Ampthill Park
A 115 hectare mix of plantation, open grassland, ponds and paths, owned by Bedford Borough Council that lies between Wootton and Marston Moretaine. Berry Wood was planted between 1991 and 1994. The site is flat and there is a car park with an entrance off Cranfield Road – click here for a location map.
An ancient woodland site, lying to the south of Wilstead and partly owned by the Forestry Commission, which is now a mix of semi-natural broadleaf woodland and conifer plantations. Pedestrian access is limited to the main ride network. A circular walk starts in Wilstead and passes along the eastern edge of the wood.
Bedford River Valley Park
Bedford River Valley Park (BRVP) is an area of 868ha (3.5 square miles) to the east of Bedford on the River Great Ouse floodplain, destined to become a major new area of green space.
The Marston Vale Trust as one of the major landowners within BRVP is working with Bedford Borough Council (another major landowner), the Environment Agency and many other partners to create Bedford River Valley Park. Work started in 2008 and new projects and improvements on the ground are being made year on year.
BRVP includes and extends out from the existing Priory Country Park all the way east to just beyond Willington – a huge area and one that has been disturbed by gravel extraction in the past then re-landscaped which in turn has provided the opportunity to create a new, rich landscape for the benefit of people and wildlife.
BRVP will transform Bedford. It will cost millions of pounds, take decades to complete and will bring together a range of people, businesses, and organisations working in partnership to create a regional scale ‘green lung’ to the east of Bedford.
An area of c.240ha is proposed for conversion to ‘floodplain forest’ (a mosaic of woodlands, wetlands and grasslands) to provide an ecological heartland to BRVP of potentially national biodiversity value. A proposed 2.4km Water Sports Lake is identified as a major potential asset to BRVP whilst the existing and well used National Cycle Network Route 51 forms the recreational spine through BRVP from which additional access routes will flow.
For further information regarding the Bedford River Valley Park and areas that you can already go and explore please visit www.bedfordrivervalleypark.org
Other related websites include:
Priory Country Park,