The Chilterns Gateway Centre is situated on the top of Dunstable Downs at Bedfordshire's highest point, 798 feet above sea-level. The visitor centre offers spectacular views over Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire. Dunstable Downs is owned and managed in partnership with the National Trust.
The visitor centre and cafe are open daily from 10am - 5pm, with the exception of Christmas Day. Further information can be found on the National Trust website.
Please see the links below for the JLAF annual reviews:
Annual review 2013-2014 (PDF 187KB)
Annual review 2011-2012 (PDF 379KB)
Annual review 2010-2011 (PDF 1MB)
Annual review 2009-2010 (PDF 6.8MB)
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.
Suspected symptoms of Chalara fraxinea was discovered at the Etonbury Wood site at Stotfold and the site has been monitored since. The suspected case has been reported to Forestry Reseach and tests taken on sample leaves, branch material and last year’s leaf litter. We are awaiting the results of those tests.
In the meantime, and by following Forestry Commission advice and that of our own tree experts, we will be doing the following:
- not closing any of our woodlands. Staff already follow biosecurity procedures and have stepped these up as set out by the Forestry Commission
- not felling any trees for direct disease control. Government guidance suggests an approach that includes monitoring the affected trees for aspects of tree safety and for signs of resistance to the disease, as well as the effect to the environment as trees are lost. Replacement of trees will be carefully considered using the current advice of the Forestry Commission and particular site management objectives
- putting up signs to let people know how they can take care on the site. This includes:
- arriving at sites in clean foot wear
- before leaving the site, make sure all mud, leaves and twigs are left on site from all foot wear, clothing, dogs, horses, the wheels and tyres of bicycles, baby buggies, carriages and other vehicles to avoid transfer of spores to other sites. This is particularly important when travelling from known infected areas to non infected areas
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)
Report to the Forestry Commission using the tree alert web form or app available at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/treealert
Or visit the Forestry Commission website for more information http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara
Wild about Bedfordshire
As I write this it is early August and the summer is continuing unabated with warm, sunny days and long evenings. But even now, not wanting to spoil things too much, there are a few signs that nature is already thinking of autumn…
The swifts have already left the village and, although there may be two or three young still in their nests, their parents are already off and the young swiftlets will be launching themselves out into the warm air any day now and finding their own way southwards, And, they won’t touch down for the next couple of years while they mature and become adults themselves. Just think about that for a minute – they will be constantly airborne for the next two years or so – absolutely amazing! By the end of August our swifts will already be in central Africa! And one individual took only 5 days to travel 5,000 km (3,106 miles) from West Africa to the UK – providing yet more evidence that these really are incredible birds.
Most of nature has had a good summer and the warm, early spring, and even warmer, sunny summer, with just the right amount of rain, has meant birds, butterflies, wild flowers and all sorts of insects have all done exceedingly well (as a famous baker once used to say). And the results can be seen all around with many birds already finished nesting for the year, the buddleia in full flower and with clouds of butterflies several weeks earlier than usual; it is almost as if summer has galloped full speed ahead and is now charging full pelt straight at autumn.
But, enjoy it while you can – the butterflies partying over the buddleia, the swallows and their young (no tail streamers) are hawking and chirruping in the blue skies overhead, grasshoppers playing their fiddles in the meadows and the bees are busy collecting nectar from the lavenders and marjorams.
One group of insects become very obvious this time of the year and they are the Grasshoppers and Crickets, otherwise known as the Orthoptera or which there are 27 species in the British Isles. They are, of course, well-known for their chirping or buzzing calls (technically known as stridulation). Grasshoppers make their calls by rubbing their long back legs against their wings using a system of pegs and a ‘rasp’ (rather like rubbing a comb against a piece of card) whereas crickets ‘sing’ by rubbing their wings together. Grasshoppers you are most likely to see (or hear) around the village include; Common Green, Field and Meadow. Crickets common around the village include; Oak Bush-cricket, Dark Bush-cricket and Roesel’s Bush-cricket. The Oak Bush-cricket is a pale green and often comes into houses at dusk in late summer; the Dark Bush-cricket is often heard on late summer dusks singing its brief ‘chirp’ song at irregular intervals until well into autumn and the first frosts.
How do you tell a cricket from a grasshopper? Crickets tend to have long antennae whereas grasshoppers have short antennae and crickets tend to be crepuscular (active at dusk) and grasshoppers are diurnal (active during the day).
A good website resource is: http://www.orthoptera.org.uk/ (you can listen to the calls here also). There are several good books available which help with identification and if you are interested in reading further: Grasshoppers and Crickets by Ted Benton (Collins New Naturalist); A Guide to British Grasshoppers and Allied Insects (Fold-out colour chart) by J Marshall (Field Studies Council).