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
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
We are lucky in our village – the sound of singing and calling swallows can be heard commonly and especially on one of those fine, warm, spring mornings when you suddenly hear a happy, excited and rambling chattering and twittering from a clear blue sky overhead. It’s a sound that makes you look up, and when you do, you see a familiar sight – one, or two, glossy blue-black birds with a splash of deep-red around the throat and two graceful streamers extending beyond the tail, changing shape continuously. There’s no mistaking the swallow!
Due to the numbers of barns, farms and outbuildings around the village swallows are very much village familiars and their presence and calls are a constant charm during the spring and summer months.
But, behind the grace and the folklore, nature, as always, has some surprises. . .
Probably the most obvious physical feature of swallows are the long, paired, tail streamers which form a graceful forked tail which can be altered in shape to help enable the bird twist and turn when it is chasing it’s insect prey of flies, wasps, beetles, midges and greenfly etc. The swallow can store the caught insects in the form of a ball in its throat; this saves the bird having to fly backwards and forwards with single insects when feeding young – the average number of insects held in the ball is usually about 12. The tail streamers are also used as a signal to indicate how ‘fit’ (in evolutionary terms) the male is. Both sexes have streamers but they are longer in the male, in general terms, the fitter and more healthy the male is the longer he can grow his tail streamers so they become a physical sign to the females that he has good genes and will make a good father for their young – so the females tend to choose the males with the longest streamers so encouraging an evolutionary ‘arms race’! However, due to aerodynamics, the tail streamers can only get so long before they start interfering with the birds’ manoeuvrability so that puts a brake on the length of the streamers.
However. . . the longer tailed males tend to be more flirtatious and, after mating with a chosen female, may go off and attempt to mate with other, available, females and so spread his genes as widely as possible. Both sexes help to build the nest (with the long-tailed male sneaking off every now and again!) using a mix of mud and saliva and usually situated in barns/sheds/outbuildings etc; swallows once commonly nested in house chimneys. Once complete the female lays an average of five white with reddish-brown spotted eggs and carries out all the incubation herself (usually for about fifteen days; and this is when the male does most of his sneaking off). Once hatched the young are fed by both parents for 20 days or so when they then leave the nest and start to learn how to survive. On average, a family of swallows will have caught and eaten some 150,000 insects by the time they fledge.
In the 18th and 19th centuries it was believed that when swallows disappeared for the winter they hibernated in the mud at the bottom of ponds! Now, of course, we all know they do something even more amazing – they fly to Southern Africa covering up to 200 miles in a day at speeds of 18-22 mph!
And look out now for the swallow’s dark cousin; the fabulous, dark, screaming devil-bird – the swift!
Around the white blossoms of hawthorn look out for swarms of the fairly large and slightly evil-looking St Mark’s fly. These black hairy flies characteristically fly with their long legs hanging down, the males dancing slowly up and down in front of the females who tend to spend more time in the vegetation. The females lay their eggs into soil and under grass where the larvae spend the winter feeding to emerge the following spring. Both sexes are completely harmless and feed on flower pollen – they are, in fact, important pollinators of fruit trees and other flowers. Think of some sort of evil, black drone ship belonging to the Galactic Empire in Star Wars and you get the idea of a St Mark’s fly!
Until next time……………………………..