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.
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.
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.