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
Or visit the Forestry Commission website for more information
Wild about Bedfordshire
Our extended summer continues unabated with warm, sunny days, and very little rain and, as I sit here writing this, there are still bees visiting the fading flowers and butterflies flitting over the gardens like some sort of faded memory of a warm summer from an earlier time – remarkable seeing as we are now into October!
But, there are signs looming on the horizon that the seasons are turning (albeit late) and the evenings drawing in are one of the most obvious. The harvest is in; some of the fields are already ploughed and sown with next year’s crops already beginning to appear. The hedgerows are burgeoning with fruit – hips, haws and various berries and nuts, the countryside is a larder rich with food and it is a time of plenty for the birds and other animals so now is the time to for them to feed up and prepare for the long, cold days of winter. Our wildlife has three main options to get through the next few months:
1) Migrate to warmer countries where there is plenty of food, particularly insects, for the winter (mainly birds).
2) Hibernate and shut everything down to a minimum and wait until the weather improves (mainly mammals such as bats and dormice, most reptiles and many insects).
3) Stay put and survive the winter by either changing your diet (some birds switch from insects to seeds) or move to other, milder, parts of the country to avoid the worst of the winter weather (mainly birds).
Of course, some birds come into this country in the winter because we have an oceanic climate and therefore we are usually have a much milder climate than countries to the north and east of us such as Sweden or Russia. And this is happening right now and over the next couple of months – and you can experience it for yourselves…The recipe is simple:
1) Take one cold, still, preferably misty night or, equally as likely, a frosty night with the stars (if you can see them over the light pollution) sparking like diamonds.
2) Get your warmest clothing on.
3) Gather up your children and dress them likewise.
4) Go outside into your garden or somewhere nice and quiet and dark.
5) Stand quietly, look up, and listen.
6) Eventually you should start hearing thin, high-pitched, whispering ‘seep-seep’ calls dropping out of the night sky. On some nights there will be hundreds ‘seeping’ from the sky.
7) Stand and enjoy the moment and at being outside in the dark.
8) After experiencing such wonderment go back inside and enjoy a nice hot drink and a feeling of well-being with warm glowing skin.
What have you been listening to? You’ve been sharing the night with the migration of Redwings…Redwings are small members of the Thrush family which migrate into the UK from places such as Iceland and Scandinavia. A million or more pour into the UK every autumn to spend the winter with us roaming our fields, hedges and gardens eating berries, worms and fruit such as fallen apples and pears (it’s a good idea to leave some fallen fruit for them in the garden). They are beautiful birds with a noticeable creamy eye-stripe and a warm rufous red, almost as if they are blushing, on the flanks (hence the name). In the spring they all trickle back to their breeding grounds, a very few stay to breed in Scotland. It really is worth experiencing the Redwing-fest over the next couple of months – get out there and have a listen and feel the glow!
A recently published report (Living Planet Index, London Zoological Society) has indicated that global populations of animals have more than halved (almost entirely due to human activity) over the last 40 years – these are alarming results and shows that we are having a devastating effect on the planet. Without Nature there will be no humans, it’s as simple as that. And just think of the inestimable value that wildlife and green spaces provide to us by making us feel physically good and by improving our mental wellbeing too. The old saying ‘Think locally act globally’ still rings true today and all of us can play a part in helping to rebalance this loss, even locally. The forthcoming girls school playing fields project should be seen as an opportunity to increase biodiversity locally and that is great but we still need to do more. Even small acts such as planting trees and hedges, leaving areas of grass to grow into wildflower meadows (before an annual cut in late summer) or putting in a pond can all help. Please try to resist removing hedges or trees and help us all to make where we live a nice, green, rural place full of wildlife rather than a bare, concreted-over urban looking environment…By helping wildlife we help ourselves…