Flitwick Wood

Flitwick Wood

Flitwick Wood covers an area of 25ha (60 acres) on the western edge of Flitwick. It is an extremely prominent and important feature in the landscape. In 1970 13.4ha (33 acres) of the wood was purchased by Bedfordshire County Council to prevent felling of the mature trees. This part of the wood is open to the public and you are welcome to come and walk round at any time.

How To Get There By Public Transport

BY BUS – Flitwick is on many bus routes between Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes. Telephone Bedfordshire Bus Information Line : 01234 228337, 8.30am – 5pm open 5 days a week or Travel Line 0870 6082608.
BY TRAIN – Flitwick station, on the Milton Keynes to London Thameslink line, is in the Town Centre. For timetable information, please telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950.
Click here for the National Rail Enquiries website

How To Get There By Car

Flitwick is a fast-growing town in Bedfordshire nr M1 Jctn 12. Equidistant from Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes, with its immediate neighbour Ampthill it has a population of some 20,000 and a wide range of businesses. Flitwick Wood is located to the west of the Town with off street parking.

Access and General Information

Surface Types: You will walk across surface types ranging from hard and firm with no stones larger than 5mm to grass or uncultivated earth paths without ruts.
Linear Gradient: The steepest linear gradient is steeper than 1:6 for a short distance and also between 1:6-1:9, again for a short distance.
Cross Falls: None recorded.
Width Restriction: There is no width restriction of less than 1000mm.
Steps: None recorded.
Barriers: There is one kissing gate with a restriction of less than 1000mm and 6 kissing gates with a restriction of between 1000-1500mm.
Refreshments: None recorded.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Seats: None recorded.

History

Flitwick Wood is an ancient semi-natural woodland, which is to say an area that has had continuous tree cover since the Middle Ages. It is a remnant of a much larger area of forest. Clearance probably began in mid-Saxon times and much of the wood was removed in the 12th and 13th centuries to make way for cultivation. By late medieval times the shape and size was similar to that of the modern wood. Flitwick Wood has had many owners, and has Royal connections as it was once in Crown hands. The wood is divided by a ditch and bank running northwest to southeast. This is all that remains of the boundary of Steppingley Park, a medieval deer park which once existed to the south of the wood. The ownership of the woodland was also divided along this ditch line. The land to the south was sold to the Duke of Bedford in 1736 whose family still own the area today.

The Brooks Family

The Brooks Family purchased the northern area in the 18th century and developed it as an extension of the Flitwick Manor pleasure grounds. They created walks through the wood and built shelters for sitting in quiet areas.
The past 10-15 years has seen an extensive building development programme around the wood, which has increased the use of the wood by local people. The section of the wood once owned by the Brooks family changed hands several times after the Second World War and is now the property of Bedfordshire County Council, whose aim is to keep Flitwick Wood for the enjoyment of future generations.

Wildlife

The wood has a diversity of plants, such as wood anemone, wood spurge, primrose and bluebell. Many species of grasses can be found along the rides. Native shrubs including hazel and spindle can be seen growing beneath the many large mature oak and ash trees.
Most of the animals that live in the wood, such as moles, voles and mice are rarely seen. The largest animal is the muntjac deer. These are shy solitary creatures but can sometimes be seen grazing near the paths in the wood. Numerous birds can be seen and, if you are lucky, you may catch sight of a wren amongst the undergrowth or a treecreeper looking for insects in bark crevices. In spring woodpeckers can be heard 'drumming' on dead branches and nuthatches seen searching for food. This woodland with its old trees is very suitable for these birds as they need holes and cracks to nest in.

Management

The wood must be managed to maintain its variety. The aim is to preserve the woodland character but at the same time encourage the use and enjoyment by local people. From time to time trees will have to be removed for the safety of visitors and to allow younger saplings to grow up and take their place. Some areas of the wood will be managed to create and maintain open glades and other areas will be planted with native trees such as oak.

Access to Flitwick Wood

You are very welcome to visit on foot; the paths will provide quiet circular walks. These are marked and easy to follow. Please respect the wood and do not cause any disturbance or damage to this rich and varied woodland.

Volunteers

A group of volunteers has been established to help care for the wood. The Friends of Flitwick Wood are caring local residents of all ages who help by clearing paths, planting trees and cutting back unwanted undergrowth, according to the management plan. Anyone is welcome to come along and spend time helping in the wood; please contact Flitwick Town Council on 01525 631900 for more information.