Bromham Lake Local Nature Reserve

Bromham Lake Local Nature Reserve

The reserve was created from 25 acres of former mineral workings. New woodland and wildflower meadow were planted in the 1980s – now the site is allowed to develop naturally. In 1991 the site was declared a Local Nature Reserve, a place which is of local importance to wildlife, that people can enjoy and have contact with. There is an abundance of wildlife to enjoy.

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 reserve is 4 miles north-east of Bedford. Follow the signs to Bromham from the A428. Then follow the signs to Oakley taking a right turn just after a very sharp left-hand bend in Bromham. This will take you into Lower Farm Road.
Parking is available at the site and nearby on the road.

Access and General Information

Beds County Council is working to make the reserve accessible for everyone. Please be aware that some of the paths can become muddy and rutted in winter.

Access Information:
Surface Types: You will walk across surface types ranging from hard and firm with no stones larger than 5mm, to hard and firm with no stones greater than 10mm, to grass or uncultivated earth paths with no ruts.
Linear Gradient: None recorded.
Cross Falls: None recorded.
Width Restriction: There are no restrictions less than 1000mm.
Steps: None recorded.
Barriers: There is one kissing gate with a restriction of less than 1000mm and one staggered barrier with a minimum restriction of greater than 950mm.
Refreshments: None recorded.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: There are three picnic tables at the site.
Seats: There are seats in the Bird Hide.

Points of Interest

The reserve was created from 25 acres (10 hectares) of former mineral workings. The site was restored in the 1980s and is owned and managed by Bedfordshire County Council.

Under the workings restoration scheme, the new woodland and wildflower meadow were planted. For approximately 10 years the areas were managed to help them establish. More recently the site has been allowed to develop naturally. In 1991 the site was declared a Local Nature Reserve, a place which is of local importance to wildlife, that people can enjoy and have contact with. You are welcome to visit all year round and entrance is free.

The Reserve's past has been shaped by the underlying geology and the soil. During quarrying the remains of an Iron Age house were found, and people would have settled here because the lighter soils of the river gravels were easier to cultivate. In medieval times the land was arable farmland - as the surrounding area is today. The lake was formed when the site was worked for sand, gravel and limestone between 1969 and 1975, and until 1979 half the pit was used as landfill for domestic waste. In 1977 a clay bund was constructed, running east to west across the pit and the southern end was allowed to fill with water.

The Reserve is set in a meander of the River Great Ouse, and is made up of a series of flooded gravel pits, marshes and meadows. The lake is important for birdlife, with common tern, coot and Canada goose using the nesting rafts. Cormorant, mallard, great-crested grebe, tufted duck and pochard also visit regularly or are year round residents. Occasionally kingfisher and heron will be seen. The lake contains a variety of fish and grass snakes are often seen.

The shallow lake edges suit plants such as water crowfoot, reedmace, purple loosestrife and willowherb. Various damselflies and dragonflies live here, including the hairy dragonfly, which was first recorded in Bedfordshire at this site. The new woodland and established trees provide good breeding sites for common whitethroat and willow warbler. The caterpillars of the orange tip butterfly feed on hedge garlic (also called 'Jack-by-the-hedge') at the base of hedgerows. The butterflies emerge in Spring and can be abundant in May.

The grassland is rich in wildflowers, insects and butterflies and supports grizzled skippers and marbled white butterflies, both not often seen in this area, and a colony of bee orchids, Bedfordshire's County flower! A colony of wasp spiders has established in the meadow, another first for Bedfordshire. The pond in the southern corner has been left to colonise as nature sees fit, and is used by frogs, toads and newts for breeding.

The grassland to the south of the reserve is managed as a meadow to encourage wildflowers and insects. There are spectacular displays of yellow rattle, knapweed, field scabious and many different vetches. The wildflowers in turn play host to butterflies including common blue, meadow brown, gatekeeper and also the burnet moth. Please keep to the mown path in the meadow to avoid damaging the flowers and other wildlife.

Willow and alder trees around the lake edge are managed by coppicing - cutting the tree at ground level and allowing to regrow.The regrowth can be used for making baskets, hurdles (woven fences), living willow structures and hedge laying binders. The new growth is also of importance to wildlife. Some areas have been fenced off for safety reasons so please do not climb over any fences.

Get Involved

We are keen to work with volunteers who enjoy the reserve, to make it an even better place for people and wildlife. We are pleased to hear from anyone who has time to spare who can help us with conservation work, voluntary wardening and events. Working with us is a great opportunity to learn new skills or keep old ones alive, as well as making friends. If you are interested in helping, please contact us.

Acknowlegements and Contacts

Supported by the Countryside Agency through the DEFRA Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.

You can contact us at:
Bedfordshire County Council, County Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford MK42 9AP

Tel: 01234 363222

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