Welcome to Bedford’s Green Gateway
Bedford’s Green Gateway is the collective name for a linear 2.5km long swathe of new community woodlands (currently Buttons Ramsey, the Kill, Ridgeway Wood, Wiles Wood and Van Diemen’s Land) between Wootton and Kempston. Together, these woods create a green wedge between these expanding communities and ‘green’ the southern approach to Bedford – hence the name. The Gateway woodlands were planted between 2001 and 2007, all on former farmland totalling more than 40 hectares. It’s due to expand further in coming years as more woodland is planted, providing even more natural space for the benefit of local people and wildlife.
More than 70,000 trees and shrubs have been planted so far, many by local people, with the main tree species including oak, ash and field maple, along with shrubs such as hazel, dogwood, and guelder rose. Some former arable areas were sown with native grasses and wildflowers, with birds-foot trefoil, ox-eye daisy and greater knapweed producing an impressive show of colour through the summer, and a rich source of pollen and nectar for insects such as common blue and skipper butterflies.
The community woodlands in the Gateway are accessible to pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists and users of mobility vehicles, at all times along a network of surfaced tracks and mown grass routes and along public footpaths which connect with local communities and the wider countryside. Information boards, picnic tables, benches and other features are also available to help users make the most of their visit. The Gateway also hosts a sign-posted ‘natural play trail’ of 20 features for younger visitors (and children of all ages) to explore and enjoy.
Access is available from Wootton Road, Wood End Lane and Potter’s Cross with limited road-side parking at Button’s Ramsey.
Bedford’s Green Gateway’s new woodlands also include small ponds and old hedges, resulting in a diverse environment in which wildlife is already thriving. Skylark, wheatear and brown hare take advantage of the open grassland habitat, as do abundant small mammals which are hunted by kestrel, and barn owl. Red kites have also been seen passing over the new woodlands.
When you are over in Kempston Rural, or visiting Buttons Ramsey, why not pop into The Cross Keys (2 Tithe Road, Wood End) - a family run gastro restaurant open for lunch everyday, from 11.30am. To book a table, or for more info, call 01234 853939.