Maulden Church Meadow

Maulden Church Meadow Nature Reserve

Maulden Church Meadow lies on the Greensand Ridge Walk - a long distance footpath along the Lower Greensand between Leighton Buzzard and Gamlingay. The footpath starts at the end of Church Lane and runs along the length of the meadow. The only access to the privately owned part of the meadow is via the marked public footpath. Please enjoy your visit to Maulden Church Meadow and help us look after the reserve –

  • keep dogs under control especially when stock are grazing
  • do not pick wildflowers
  • take all litter home
  • guard against fire
  • keep to the public footpaths

How To Get There by Passenger Transport

BY BUS – Maulden is on 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 apprx 3 miles away. For timetable information, please telephone National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950.
Click here for National Rail Enquiries website

How to Get There by Car

Maulden is a picturesque village near Flitwick and Ampthill in Bedfordshire nr A6 and M1 Jctn 12. Equidistant from Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes, it is bordered by Maulden Woods.

Access and General Information

Access Information
Surface types:You will walk across grass or uncultivated earth paths with no ruts.
Linear Gradient: There are three short linear gradients of between 1:6 and 1:17.
Cross Falls: There is one short cross fall of 1:9 or steeper.
Width Restriction:There is no width restriction less than 1000mm.
Steps: None.
Barriers: There is one stile at each entry point into the reserve and three kissing gates in the reserve with width restrictions between 1000 and 1500mm.
Refreshments: Maulden has a shop and The George public house.
Public Toilets None.
Picnic Tables: None are recorded.
Seats: None are recorded.

Meadow & Village History

The Meadow has always been closely associated with village life. In medieval times a manorial home farm stood on the southern part of the Meadow: Farm buildings remained here until the mid-nineteenth century but now all that is left is undulating ground.
Greensand may have been worked from the south of the Meadow in order to provide local building materials. This could be the reason for the drop in level here and for the pits whose banks are now covered in hawthorn. The Meadow has probably been grazed since medieval times. This management regime has kept the Meadow floristically rich and it is essential for the survival of the meadow wildflowers that grazing continues.

The Meadow

Soil type influences the species of grasses and wildflowers that grow in the Meadow. Over most of the site you will find black knapweed, ladies bedstraw and crested dogstail. These plants thrive where the underlying boulder clay creates neutral soil conditions and are the characteristic species of the neutral grassland community. In the south of the Meadow where the Lower Greensand outcrops there is a change from neutral grassland to acid grassland in places. These areas are dominated by fine grasses, with harebell, sheep's sorrel, mouse-ear hawkweed and broom. Grassland is an important habitat for insects, especially butterflies. On sunny, summer days look out for meadow brown, large skipper and gatekeeper butterflies whose caterpillars feed on meadow grasses.

Hedgerows & Scrub

The Meadow is enclosed on three sides by tall, thick hawthorn hedges. The eastern boundary hedge was planted at the beginning of the nineteenth century but the western boundary hedge is much older. In spring and early summer the hedgerows are full of the songs of lesser whitethroat, willow warbler and blackcap. Later in the summer look out for ringlet and speckled wood butterflies in the shady areas between the hedgerow and meadow. In places bramble and wild rose form thickets in the meadow. Whilst these provide shelter for small mammals and a habitat for insects and birds, the spread of scrub into the meadow needs to be controlled.

Ponds

There are three ponds on the eastern side of the meadow - only one is permanent, the others dry out during the summer. The permanent pond is fenced to keep grazing stock away and allow marginal plants to develop. The ponds are breeding sites for damselflies and dragonflies. Look out for the southern hawker dragonfly around the margins of the permanent pond during summer.

Management

The meadow receives traditional management. Cattle grazing is allowed from July or August to December so that meadow wildflowers which bloom in spring and summer have a chance to set seed. The hedgerows require management to prolong their life and to keep them stockproof. The hedgerow trees will be coppiced down to ground level to stimulate new growth or "sided-up" to prevent bushy growth spreading into the field. The permanent pond may require periodic clearance of vegetation to retain an area of open water for the benefit of pond life.

St Mary's Church & Churchyard

The church of St Mary the Virgin adjacent to Maulden Church Meadow dates back to the fourteenth century but was rebuilt in 1858. The churchyard, which features a mausoleum, has many fine trees including redwood, Corsican pine and lime.