Lancot Meadow - Nature Reserve

Lancot Meadow Nature Reserve

Lancot Meadow provides a haven for local wildlife. This site has a nationally rare plant, the great pignut, growing amongst other plants with wonderful names like lady’s bedstraw and yellow rattle. The trees and plants support many insects and birds as well as butterflies and small mammals. The meadow is used by badgers from a local sett. Please note that sometimes horses may be grazing here.

How To Get There By Passenger Transport

Bus: Bedfordshire Bus Info line: 01234 228337, Mon - Fri 8.30am - 5pm
Travel Line: 0870 6082608, 7 days a week, 7am -10pm
Train: National Rail Enquiries: 08457 484950 24 hour service
Click here for the National Rail Enquiries website

How To Get There By Car

Lancot Meadow is situated to the west of Dunstable Town Centre along the B489 towards Tring. Take the Totternhoe Road out of Dunstable and the Badgergate housing development will be found on your right.
Parking is not available at the reserve: access is on foot only through the Badgergate development.

Start/Finish Point

The reserve is accessed from the Badgergate housing estate off the Totternhoe Road.

Access and General Information

Surface Types: You will walk across surfaces of grass or uncultivated earth paths with no ruts.
Linear Gradient: There are linear gradients of between 1:10-1:13 for a short distance, and of 1:18 or less.
Cross Falls: There are cross falls of between 1:10-1:15, of between 1:16-1:20 and of between 1:21-1:25.
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.
Refreshments: None recorded.
Public Toilets: None recorded.
Picnic Tables: None recorded.
Seats: None recorded.

Points of Interest

This ‘L’-shaped grassland provides a haven for local wildlife, supporting a variety of species of plants, insects, birds and mammals. Old grassland is becoming rare in the countryside. Lancot Meadow is an old meadow once grazed by horses and displays a flora characteristic of grassland on chalky and neutral soils.

Traditionally maintained by grazing or hay making, old meadows are wonderful places for wildlife and are now rare in Bedfordshire. They contain a variety of plants and insects which in turn provide food and shelter for birds and mammals. As farming has become more intensive many of our old meadows have been lost through ploughing, reseeding or the use of pesticides and herbicides. The conservation of our remaining meadows such as Lancot Meadow is important.

Lancot Meadow (2.05ha) is a well-drained field of neutral to calcareous grassland on chalk. Its flower-rich grassland has been identified as a County Wildlife Site (CWS), a non-statutory identification given to sites that are of County significance for their wildlife value.


Without management of the site by grazing or cutting, the grassland would be replaced by scrub and eventually woodland. The marbled white butterfly and large number of grassland plants depend on the maintenance of open conditions. The meadow used to be grazed by horses but has been abandoned for several years. By re-establishing a management regime of cutting and grazing, the wildlife value of the grassland can be enhanced. The scrub, hedgerows and boundaries between habitats are managed to provide a range of conditions for many species.

The wildlife of Lancot Meadow

Neutral and chalk grassland support a rich variety of flowering plants and grasses. Neutral grassland is home to species such as yellow oat grass, lady’s bedstraw, black knapweed and yellow rattle. Plants found usually on chalk downland such as wild thyme, field scabious, bird’s-foot trefoil and great pignut, a nationally rare plant, also grow here. The surrounding hedges are dominated by hawthorn but also contain elder, buckthorn, dog rose and bramble with mature ash trees. Wild flowers flourish along the hedgerows.

The plants of Lancot Meadow support many insects such as marbled white, meadow brown, peacock, brimstone and common blue butterflies, grasshoppers and birds such as warblers ad thrushes. Small mammals such as field mice, voles and shrews feed on the insects and berries and are food for kestrels and foxes. Lancot Meadow is used by badgers from a nearby sett.


The Wildlife Trusts, supported by Westbury Homes.

You can help to protect this and other important sites by joining the Wildlife Trust. If you would like more information about this Nature Reserve or other reserves in Bedfordshire, please contact the Reserves Manager, The Wildlife Trust, Priory Country Park, Barker's Lane, Bedford MK41 9SH or email