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Opening hours + Info

Submitted by on February 13, 2013 – 12:47 pm14 Comments

Opening Hours


Weekdays – 9am to 5pm.
Weekends – 10am – 5pm
Gate Closure – 5pm
Last orders in the Lakeside Cafe are 15 minutes before closing.

Car park – the Forest Centre car park is free (we do request a £1 donation) and closes promptly at the above closing times. However, the Park is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year on foot, for horse riders and cyclists.

Please note: if your car is locked in the Centre’s car park after closing time, you are free to leave it overnight and collect it the following morning. To arrange release before the car park reopens, please call 07966 000326. A £25 release fee is payable to the member of staff upon their arrival.

Access for customers with mobility problems -  the half of the car park nearest to the Centre is surfaced with tarmac and the rest with rolled, loose stone. There are five wide, dedicated spaces for blue badge holders. A brick-paved surface with a maximum gradient of  1:15,  connects the car park to the Forest Centre entrance, where there is a pair of double doors. The Country Park has an extensive network of mainly level surfaced paths – more information

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities - Inside the Forest Centre there are both toilets, baby changing facilities and a disabled toilet. Our outside toilets are to the left of the Forest Centre, by the bike hire.



  • Mandy Holloway says:

    It is not clear whether there are any charges for access to the country park, though I note there is a £1 optional charge for parking. I want to bring a disabled gentleman to the Centre and perhaps take him around the lake if the paths are wheelchair friendly. There isn’t much information about access to the paths, only to the Centre itself which I assume is free.

    • The Forest says:

      Hello MAndy,
      Thanks for contacting us.
      The surfaced trail around the wetlands is a lovely walk of about 1 mile which gives access to tranquil woodland and meadows, a complex of lakes and wetlands as well as three bird hides, all of which are accessible to wheelchair users. Two hides overlook the Pillinge Lake (an old clay pit) and the third gives views onto the southern wetlands – shallower pools and reedbeds.
      There is a £2.50 charge for access to the Wetlands Trail (£1.75 for concessions). If you are coming purely as a carer, we will offer you free access. Please come into reception at the Forest Centre to buy your tickets.
      I hope that helps. If you would like more information about the Country Patrk and the Wetland Trail, our Head Ranger, Anna Charles, would be happy to hear from you – 01234 762614 anna.charles@marstonvale.org

  • Lee Elliott says:


    I was just wondering why you shut so early in the evening in the summer months? I would love to come over after work and make the most of local facilities but won’t be able to during the week as I don’t get in from work till 6. Would also consider becoming a member of the forest centre if I knew I was going to be able to use it more than just weekends. I know it would be used by a lot of people during the summer because of the amount of cars that park outside the gates in the evening.
    Many thanks

    • Sam Tree Hugger says:

      We have a winter (GMT) time of closing the security gate at 5pm and once the clocks change to BST that moves to 6pm. On warm summer evenings it can seem harsh to shut the car park and security gates, when there might be 3 hours or more of daylight. We need to publicise a time that is consistent so people aren’t unexpectedly locked in, and one that it is as applicable in April & October at either end of the ‘summer time’ as those in the peak July & August months. For us to remain open longer than we do would require a rota of staff and for at least two to be on duty for that period. As a charity we have a very tight financial budget and therefore we do have to operate and be open during peak trading hours for the Lakeside Café, to be viable to pay the staff for being onsite. We do have some events in the evenings during the summer, in which case the gates are left open much later and in reality much of the Forest Team work through later in the evenings, but we cannot publicise that as times do vary. Access by foot and for bicycles is available 24 hrs a day of course.

      The entrance to the Country Park (off Station Road) will be updated in the next 18 months or so, when the road into the new housing development Marston Park is built. This will create a new entrance to the Country Park and as part of that The Trust has negotiated that BDW the housing developers, that they will be installing a 6 bay off road parking area for out of hours visitors to the Park. I hope that will be some help to visitors in the future.

      Nick Webb
      Chief Executive, Marston Vale Trust

  • Maricha says:

    Such a shame your strolls are all on Sunday as I don’t drive and the bletchley to Bedford line does not run sundays

    • Sam Tree Hugger says:

      Hi Maricha,

      Thank you for showing an interest in our Sunday Strolls. It is a shame that the train line doesn’t run on Sunday’s. We’ll have a look at what we can do in future; if you ever have a group that you want to bring on a different day let us know and our volunteer walk leader can have a look at dates to accommodate you. We do have health walks on Wednesdays (meeting at 10am in the Forest Centre) and there’s generally a shorter and longer walk, with two groups setting off at different times.
      If you need anymore information, please give us a ring on 01234 767037

  • Karen says:

    Hi, I am wanting to visit with my daughter and grandchildren on Mon 28/07. I have noticed you can hire bikes. Do you have seats for toddlers and what is the charge please. Many thanks

    • Sam Tree Hugger says:

      Hi Karen,

      We have several buggies that attach to the back for small children and we have one adult bike with a seat on the back for a small child – if you want us to reserve it for you for a certain day/time give us a ring and we can do that for you!

  • Jill Napper says:

    Hello -

    Why no information on travelling to Marston Vale by public transport on the website? I can’t be the only one who wants to visit but is not a driver with a satnav. It seems particularly odd that your Green concerns don’t include encouraging use of public transport.
    If the information is on the website, it’s well-hidden!


    • Sam Tree Hugger says:

      Hi Jill

      Thank you for your comment, it’s always helpful to know how we can improve. I’ve gone through and added in a bit more information about getting public transport to the area. Because we are so rural, there isn’t a great amount available but we’re lucky enough to have the Marston Vale Rail line running by some of our sites (the Forest Centre included) which is linked to the bigger train lines at either end. There’s now links on our ‘Explore Your Forest’ page to the main timetables for the trains, and the local bus services.
      It may seem a bit strange that we’ve put woodlands in places that are relatively inaccessible to people outside of the local area, but as we were conceived as a Community Forest, the idea is that sites are primarily aimed at the directly local population (ie walking/cycling/horse riding).
      There’s a really good website with loads of information about walking/cycling/other routes in Bedfordshire here at: http://www.letsgo.org.uk/
      Hope this helps – if you have any more questions, please feel free to drop us an email: info@marstonvale.org

  • Becki says:

    Hi I’d like to come over and walk the dog but am not a fan of wind turbines; can I check where it is on site so I can avoid it please.

    • Sam Tree Hugger says:

      Hi Becki,

      That’s a shame, as it’s pretty big so it’s obviously visible everywhere. However, you can avoid walking directly underneath it by doing a linear walk ‘around’ Stewartby Lake and back, or the other section of the Park.

  • A Price says:

    How many children can fit in your trailer buggy? Many thanks

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