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
Are your Horse Chestnut trees looking brown and crinkly? Leaves past their best? Don’t know what is happening to these lovely trees? Well, read on and find out more…
Firstly, things are not as bad as they might seem…Horse Chestnuts, like many trees, suffer from a range of pests and diseases, some harmful, some even fatal to the tree but this condition, thankfully, may look terrible for the tree but all is not lost.
The symptoms become most obvious at this time of the year (late summer) when the leaves on the trees look as if they are dying and can turn almost totally brown, dried and crinkled looking. So what is causing this and can we do anything about it?
Let’s go back to the beginning and look more closely…
The damage (not a disease) is caused by the larvae of a moth, a tiny 5mm-long moth called, rather appropriately, the Horse Chestnut leaf-miner (Cameraria ohridella); a rather attractively patterned moth with brown and silver-striped forewings. The moth lays its eggs on the leaves of the Horse Chestnut, these hatch into small larvae which bury (mine) between the upper and lower layers of a leaf. The larvae then proceed to eat their way through the leaf (while remaining within the leaf) by creating cavities of several square centimetres. There may be up to 700 larvae (and leaf mines) on each leaf and, in hot summers, there can be three generations of the moth per year so the number of mines on the leaves gradually build up. The final generation pupates in the autumn, still within the leaves, and drops to the ground with the fallen leaves. The following spring the moth emerges from the fallen leaves, flies back up into the tree and lays its eggs on the newly emerging leaves to start the whole process off over all over again.
The moth was first discovered in the UK in Wimbledon in July 2002 and has since spread throughout England and most horse chestnut trees are now affected by the moth.
But, despite appearances, the trees return to full leaf the following spring and do not seem to be unduly affected by the moth larvae. There is no indication that the trees are weakened in any way neither do they become more susceptible to potentially more serious diseases such as Bleeding Canker. There is no reason to fell Horse Chestnuts just because of the leaf miner as the tree is only affected cosmetically.
However, control of the problem is difficult; some of the larvae are taken by natural predators such as birds and bush crickets, but this accounts for only a very small percentage of the total number of larvae (i.e.; 2-3 %). No parasites have been recorded. The only possible recommendation is to collect up the fallen leaves in the autumn and burn them thus destroying the problem and reducing numbers of the moth locally, at least for a while – this may be worthwhile if the tree is a fine specimen or in a particularly outstanding location or viewpoint, otherwise, it is something we will just have to live with…
Late summer is slowly rolling into autumn and the dewy and misty mornings are a sure sign of that. Things to look out for around the village are; wheatears on the freshly ploughed open fields around the back of the school. These small, upright-looking birds with a dapper plumage of buff, black and cream and with a ‘wee-chack’ call are now on their southward migration after breeding in the hills and mountains of north and west Britain. They fly south to Africa and like large, open areas and can often be seen flying from one clod to the next across the ploughed fields. On warm, still evenings, listen out for both Tawny and Little Owls as they call to each other from small woods and trees in the hedgerows. The Tawny has the familiar ‘kee-wick’ call and the Little Owl has a range of sharp yelps, cries and other, often quite dog-like, noises. Often one calling will set off several others in the vicinity. On still nights it is lovely to go outside just after dusk when various waders, from the local sandpits, can be heard overhead dropping their lovely, mournful cries, piping sounds and whistles from the velvety skies.