Flitwick Nature Park

A new community space for people and nature

Forest of Marston Vale

Trees for Climate, Year 4

After historic plans for the site had been put on hold, the land, owned by Flitwick Town Council had been left fallow for a number of years. Thanks to the support from the Forest of Marston Vale and funding from the Trees for Climate programme, it has been transformed into four zones to support public access, bird habitat, wood pasture, and an area of hazel coppice. The new space will be renamed as Flitwick Nature Park.


The original concept for the 27.5 hectare site, owned by Flitwick Town Council, was to create a ‘nature park’ that would deliver on ecological, leisure, and community involvement aspirations, along with a green burial site and orchard. When the green burial plan was put
on hold, the land was left for several years resulting in a rough grass sward through which dog walkers and joggers had established multiple desire lines. The field was already dotted with self-set oak saplings and provided habitat for ground-nesting birds such as

After consultation regarding services, ecological interest, heritage assets, and public access, a design was presented to the owners which addressed their key objectives and reflected the site’s location within the Greensand Ridge, and with views towards Flitwick and Ampthill.

The scheme was planted in four zones with a mix of public and corporate volunteers supporting professional contractors to plant 38,738 trees and shrubs.

The woodland Compartments featured species such as pedunculate oak, red oak, scots pine, hornbeam, field maple, small-leaved lime, silver birch, and hazel. Shrubs including hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, guelder rose, dogwood, spindle, and crab apple, along with hedgerow trees that included oak, field maple, wild cherry, and hornbeam were used to create over 1500m of new hedge.

Three compartments were planted with hazel whips that, once established, will create a working hazel coupe. Working with Wassledine, a local hazel and willow producer, the landowner will manage the compartments with the assistance of volunteers to produce materials for gardening, basket making, hedge laying and similar projects. The hazel compartments will be managed on an eight-year rotation, with all profits from the sale of products being used to help manage the site. Silver birch and oak standards were planted amongst the hazel to boost biodiversity.

The remainder of the site is a mix of wood pasture with around 7 hectares left unplanted as grassland and fenced to protect ground nesting birds.


Contribution to Net Zero:

The newly planted trees will contribute to Central Bedfordshire’s target to become carbon neutral by 2030, reflecting their commitment to prioritise climate action.

The site is part of Flitwick Town Council’s commitment to “Improve the quality of the public realm, responding to climate change issues and protecting the local environment”.

Nature and Biodiversity:

The mix of planting and varied habitats will encourage biodiversity, offering new opportunities for nesting birds and small mammals.

Public access and community engagement:

Flitwick Town Council invited local residents to take part in a public planting event on 24th February 2024.

4.5km of public access has been created in the form of 10m grass rides.

Volunteers will help manage the hazel compartments, generating a revenue to help support the management of the site.

Health and Wellbeing:

The improved access to nature will deliver health and wellbeing benefits to the local community.