The main services we provide:
Providing advice to land managers and parish councils throughout Central Bedfordshire Council
Providing advice in regard to agri-environment schemes and woodland schemes within Central Bedfordshire Council
Liaising and co-coordinating with a range of environmental and other specialists interests bodies
Talks, walks and other events
Advice to Central Bedfordshire Council on the environmental management of its property to its planning and other services
A number of policy documents relating to public rights of way and the countryside have been developed and these are shown below.
Applications policy (PDF 3.9MB)
Relating to Public Path Orders, Definitive Map Modification Orders and Town and Country Planning Act Orders
Enforcement policy (PDF 1.7MB)
Obstructions (temporary and permanent), farming issues (ploughing and cropping) and minerals deposited on the highway
Ploughing and cropping policy (PDF 1.8MB)
Legislation and procedure for paths subject to farming operations
Least restrictive access policy (PDF 5.2MB)
Structures on the public path network that enable access to all
Tree and woodland policy (PDF 472KB)
Management of trees and woodland within Countryside Access Team's sites and public Rights of Way
Policies under development
Working practice and guidance
In addition to the above policies a number of documents providing working practice and guidance to council officers on rights of way matters have also been developed.
Wind Turbines near Public Rights of Way - working practice guidance note
(PDF 561KB)Wind Turbines near Public Rights of Way - technical appendix (PDF 911KB)
If you are a film company looking for locations why not explore the opportunities available with Central Bedfordshire Council.
Located not far from London, with easy access via the M1 and A1, Central Bedfordshire boasts both picturesque countryside and distinctive locations. Central Bedfordshire Council is a film friendly Council and welcomes enquiries from the producers of non-news film, television and stills photography wishing to locate their project at a countryside site.
Central Bedfordshire Council owns a range of sites that can fulfil most landscape needs including lakes, meadow, heathland, woodland and country parks. To film in one of our country parks or countryside sites you will need to contact us for a licence. For more information, to discuss your filming requirements and to get a copy of our filming guidelines call The Fundraising Officer on 0300 300 6821.
Please contact the Forestry Commission for more information and to report concerns about the Ash Dieback disease.
In England and Wales
Chalara helpline: 08459 33 55 77 (open 8am - 6pm every day)
Or visit the Forestry Commission website for more information http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara
Wild About Bedfordshire
It is mid winter and the festive lights of Christmas keep us warm and cheerful throughout the dark, cold and gloomy winter months. But, while we revel in celebrations, log fires and winter walks dressed in warm clothes, woolly hats and gloves how does the wildlife fare out there in the dark and the cold?
Actually, of course, the wildlife is well adapted and survives remarkably well – especially if the winter is mild (as ours has been, so far). The short days and lack of insects mean that many of our familiar summer birds; the swifts, swallows and warblers are all now spending their winter in the bright glare of central and southern Africa. Meanwhile our resident birds, the robins, blackbirds, wrens and skylarks are joined by immigrants from Europe and Scandinavia and these birds are roaming our hedgerows, gardens, woods and fields seeking berries and hidden insects amongst the leaf litter and in the trees and bushes. But it is a hard life and most birds have to feed pretty constantly from dawn to dusk in order to keep their high metabolism ticking over. Searching for hidden insects is time consuming and a bird such a blue tit may only find a hidden morsel or pupae once every minute or so – there is a fine line between finding enough food and surviving or not finding enough and losing the battle.
The biggest issue for many birds is surviving the long winter nights when the temperature plummets and the effects of wind chill rises; then it really can be a matter of life or death. A small bird needs to find somewhere really warm and out of the wind to survive the night – due to their high metabolism everything drops to an absolute minimum; heartbeat, breathing, movement, so they can eke out their energy supplies during the long nights – it may take a bird all day to find enough food to see them through the long, cold, night. Some birds tuck their head under their wing to keep warm, fluff up their feathers and keep their legs hidden; heat loss is highest from bare areas or where blood vessels run close to the skin’s surface. Others roost together to keep each other warm whilst some species tuck themselves deep into conifer hedges, roof spaces and even make use of nest boxes. Indeed, some birds such as wrens and long-tailed tits regularly use nest boxes for roosting in – the record is 61 wrens found roosting in one box! You can imagine the heat generated by all those warm, feathery bodies squeezed in together! In fact, the ball of individual birds tends to circulate during the night so everyone gets a chance of being the warmest in the middle and the coolest near the hole! Long-tailed tits often roost in lines of 15 or so individuals tightly huddled together and, again, they swap around during the night (depending on their position in the pecking order) with the innermost positions being the most highly favoured.
Most of our mammals remain active during the winter and many are nocturnal so are active all or most of the night. During daylight hours they will be asleep or resting in burrows, earths, setts or dreys (although squirrels are diurnal). And, while we’re on the subject of squirrels, a ‘black squirrel’ has been seen on a few occasions in Water End – this is actually our familiar grey squirrel but with a genetic mutation which means that they only produce black fur. The first UK record was at Woburn in 1912 and they are now relatively common in Beds, Herts, Bucks and Cambs – and spreading further afield. A national survey is currently being carried out and you can contribute your sightings here: http://www.blacksquirrelproject.org/
Now is the time to start thinking about putting up nestboxes in your garden as, after Christmas, birds will begin looking for nesting sites for the next breeding season. And please don’t forget to keep your birdtables and feeders well stocked (and scatter seed on the ground) for our hard-pressed birds during the winter months. Fat, suet, peanuts, nyjer seed and sunflower hearts all provide much-needed energy, protein and fat supplies during the colder months.
Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy and Peaceful New Year and thank you for reading my articles over the past year.
Lastly, just think of all those bulbs and flowers, poised, under the frozen soil and waiting for spring!