Bedfordshire's Green Gateway

Bedfordshire's Green Gateway

Bedfordshire's Green Gateway is a major initiative by the Forest of Marston Vale to create a swathe of woodland and green space between the expanding communities of Wootton and Kempston. It consists of three areas of land purchased by the Forest of Marston Vale which is being planted with trees to create new areas of community woodland for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and relaxing. Linked by public footpaths are the three new woodlands of Buttons Ramsey, Ridgeway Wood and Van Diemen’s Land.

How To Get There By Public Transport

BY BUS: Telephone Bedfordshire Bus Information Line : 01234 228337, 8.30am – 5pm open 5 days a week or Travel Line 0870 6082608.
BY TRAIN: For timetable information, please telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950.
Click here for the National Rail Enquiries website

How To Get There By Car

The three woodlands lie to the west of Bedford and can be accessed from Kempston or Wootton. From the west end of Kempston High Street, take Ridge Road then Wood End Lane. From the village of Wootton, go north on Wootton Road and then turn left onto Wood End Lane.

Access and General Information

Pending Update

Buttons Ramsey

Formerly an arable field, Buttons Ramsey is an 8 hectare new community woodland, planted over the winter of 2004/2005 by the Forest of Marston Vale with the help of local people and school children. It is available for everyone to enjoy.

Over 14,400 native trees and shrubs have been planted here, grown from seed collected mainly by local children from ancient woodlands in the area, such as nearby Kempston Wood.

The unusual name Buttons Ramsey has an historic association with the site, dating back centuries to when Ramsey Abbey in Huntingdonshire had influence in the area. It was felt to be too good a name to remain hidden in the history books!

Ridgeway Wood

Formerly part of a farmed field, Ridgeway Wood is a 13.5 hectare new community woodland. It was planted over the winter of 2004/5 by the Forest of Marston Vale and designed with the help of local people. It is here for everyone to enjoy!

Nearly 19,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted here. Species planted include oak, ash, field maple and hazel. To the north of the site, are two small grazed fields which have not been planted due to their historic importance. They retain 'ridge and furrow' earthworks resulting from medieval ploughing.

The name Ridgeway, chosen by local people, has a long association with the site, pre-dating the Enclosure Act of 1804, when this land was part of a much larger 'open field system' with the name Ridgeway Field.

Van Diemen's Land

Formerly a farmed field, this area of community woodland was planted by the Forest of Marston Vale and local people over three years starting in the winter of 2001. It's here for everyone to enjoy!

Over 9,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted here, such as oak, ash, field maple and hazel. The farmland was made available for planting as a consequence of the development of warehouses on the site of the former Marsh Leys Farm, which can now be seen on the other side of the A421.

The origin of the name Van Diemen's Land is not certain but we know that it used to be fashionable to name newly acquired land after places, events or people that were in the news at the time. The field may have been given its unusual name around the time the British first occupied Tasmania in 1803. At that time Tasmania was known as Van Diemen's Land and was a penal colony.

Introduction

The Kill

Another 6 hectares land has recently been added to the Green Gateway. The area is known as 'The Kill' and lies to the south of Buttons Ramsey. 4.75 hectares will be planted with trees and the varied planting mix consists of Pendunculate Oak, Ash, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Crab Apple, Rowan and Aspen and White Willow, plus some woody shrubs. The rest of the area will be left as ridge and furrow pasture and a wide forest track will run through the site.

The area is called The Kill as that is the field name of part of the land that has been planted. It is not known how the name came into being.

Wiles Wood

South east of Ridgeway Wood lies the new woodland Wiles Wood, named after the family who farmed the land before it was acquired by the Marston Vale Trust. In total 11 hectares of new native woodland will be planted with an area of high ground left as open space.

Acknowledgements

Bedfordshire's Green Gateway is owned by the Marston Vale Trust, the independent charity delivering the Forest of Marson Vale and was created with the help of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Barclays, HSBC, The Carbon Neutral Company, DRS, Bedford Borough Council and the Forestry Commission. Our challenge is to use trees and woodlands to repair a landscape scarred by decades of clay extraction, brickmaking and landfill. We are working with local communities, government and businesses, to create new woods and other wild places for everyone to enjoy. For further information call the Forest Centre on 01234 767037.