Description of the Woods

Last Updated: 26th August 2016

The woods are accessed from Stoke Road, Knaves Hill and Soulbury Road.  They are owned by Central Beds Council and managed by the Greensand Trust supported by several volunteer site wardens and the Friends of Linslade Woods Group. The site consists of two woodland areas - an old wood known as Bluebell Wood and newer plantations which surround the old wood on three sides.

BLUEBELL WOOD – This is a County Wildlfe Site and is a Semi-natural Ancient woodland. Records show that the woodland has been in existence since 1602, and has possible continuity with the original wildwood that developed at the end of the ice age around 10,000 years ago.  It consists of 13.5 acres (5.4ha) of broadleaf woodland on boulder clay and greensand. It contains mature standards of sycamore, beech, ash, oak, hazel, including examples of coppiced hazel and ash, and also present are horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, rowan, wild cherry, wych elm, elm, elder, field maple and holly with some examples of lime, Norway maple, larch and hornbeam.  There is also hawthorn, blackthorn and dogwood.

A number of dead trees (standing and lying) and dying trees present good fungi and deadwood features.  In spring bluebells are dominant all over the wood. Bramble and ivy are common, together with dogs mercury and some wood anemone, herb Robert, bugle, St John’s wort, cuckoo pint, buckler fern, enchanters nightshade, lesser burdock, and bracken amongst others. Relic hedgerows line some of the boundaries along with signs of ancient ditches.

Numerous birds frequent the woods with over 60 species recorded. The rookery comes and goes; some years there are only a few nests and on occasions there have been over 50. Sparrowhawks and Tawny Owls breed regularly and we are waiting for the first breeding Red Kites and Buzzards as both species are now commonly seen. Muntjac deer, badgers and foxes have all been seen in the wood.  Several species of bats including pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, noctule and natterer’s inhabit the wood.

NEWER WOODLAND – this consists of 68 acres (27.5ha) which was planted in stages during the early 90’s on previously farmed land as private woodland with permissive access. Bedfordshire County Council, now Central Beds Council, subsequently brought this in March 2009.  Planting included ash, birch, oak, beech, rowan, cherry, European larch hazel, field maple and dogwood.  The woodland is crossed by a public bridle way – Soulbury Road to Stoke Road and a public footpath – Knaves Hill to Stoke Road.

The woodland, being much younger than Bluebell wood is more open with wide rides in places.  Many flowering species are present including thistles, rosebay willow herb, brambles, and hawkweed which are common with occasional sightings of common spotted and bee orchids.  Common buzzard and occasional red kite overfly.   Common lizards have been seen basking on sunny days.  During the summer a number of butterfly species have been recorded including marbled white, comma and brown argos.

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