Campton & Chicksands

Campton Plantation

Where to find Campton Plantation

More wood sculptures added - September 2012

photography by Pat Williams.

More wood sculptures added - November 2010

Sign at entrance of Plantation
End of owl bench



Dragonfly table and benches

Badgers, fox, butterly and oak leaf bench
Rear of 'Badgers' bench
End of 'Badgers' bench


Campton and Chicksands totem pole

Shefford Totem pole

photographs by The Williams'.

Our first chain saw sculptures April - July 2010

Campton and Chicksands totem pole - work in progress
Face in the wood
Wishing fish seat

Owl Bench - Back
Owl Bench - Front
Acorns & Squirrel Bench
photographs by Malcolm Willis.

Campton Plantation Wood is 15.4 hectares in size and has some magnificent trees; it also has varied flora and fauna of interest, it is situated along the A507 between Chicksands roundabout and the roundabout at the top of Ampthill Road, Shefford.. The woodland provides a varied habitat for wildlife as well as giving local residents a place to walk and relax. There is always something interesting to see if you know where to look.

Recently there has been some sad news regarding a number of the large oak trees that are looking very sick. A black staining / weeping on the main trunk of the tree is the first sign and some of the trees have already died. This is caused by a disease called “Sudden Oak Death” which has become a nationwide concern and a variety of official bodies are busy looking for a possible cure. Let‟s hope it does not turn into another catastrophe like “Dutch Elm” disease.

The oak trees that are completely dead will be reduced because of health and safety reasons. This means that all the upper branches will be removed but the main trunks will be left standing. While the contractors are there, there will also be some reduction work undertaken on several of the beech trees. All the trees that are identified for work have been checked out for any wildlife inhabitants during the survey work, and will also be checked during the tree surgery.

The plan is to turn the reduced oaks and cut timber into wood sculpture, and the standing oak trucks will become themed totem poles. There will also be a circular walk sculpture trail, which I expect to be of particular interest to local schools and families with children. I hope that when the wood sculpture artists are at work the wood will still be open for demonstrations for anybody that would like to come and watch.

Other improvements to the woodland will include the installation of resting benches along the trail, a small picnic area, improvements to the entrances to facilitate access, the installation of extra dog bins and new interpretation signage. The addition of natural play facilities will make the area know as the Dell, situated at the Chicksands end of the wood even more appealing to the teenagers who already use it.

The improvements to the area should not adversely affect the tranquillity of the site. There will still be plenty of quiet areas in the woodland and the lower area near the river will not be touched because of the fantastic in show of snow drops in the Spring. We are not currently planning any changes to the paths; retaining these will enable us to keep the feel of the natural woodland.

All of the improvements have been devised to enhance the enjoyment of the woodland for all local residents within Campton, Chicksands and Shefford and we hope there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
We are currently bidding for external funding to undertake some of these improvements to the wood. Once we have been awarded a grant, we would plan to complete all the works within a two year period.

Formal consultation will be undertaken as part of this process and we will be looking to engage local schools and start a "friends‟ group for the wood. In the meantime I plan to conduct a couple of walks in the wood over the winter to show people how the wood will change and this would be a ideal time to get some ideas from you. Look out for the posters in the wood and in the Parish / Town magazines. Please come along and join in.

Trevor Smith. Countryside Sites Officer for Central Bedfordshire Council,(who has been involved in the management of Campton Plantation Wood for over 30 years).

information from  Parish Newsletter edited by Malcolm Willis
Groundwork Luton & South Bedfordshire - environmental regeneration charity (a partner in this project).

Have your say.  Complete the downloadable questionaire
On Sunday 14th February 2010 local residents from Campton, Chicksands and Shefford accepted Trevor Smith‟s open invitation to tour Campton Plantation and hear about future plans,.Trevor is the Countryside Sites Officer for Central Bedfordshire Council.
Three large trunks have been left and these will be carved into themed „totem poles‟. One will depict the kinds of birds and animals you can expect to see in the wood. The other two will be carved using suggestions from local people. One will be for Shefford and the other for Campton and Chicksands.
The larger parts of trees that have been cut down will be made into benches and seats for people visiting the wood and there will also be a picnic table carved in the shape of a dragonfly.
Trevor is still seeking ideas as to what should be carved to represent Campton and Chicksands. The wood sculptures have been commissioned and Trevor is looking for a start date of the 22nd March.
photograph by M. Willis.             If you have any ideas you can email

A 'Meet the Chainsaw Artists' day was held on Saturday 6th March when people were invited to go along anytime between 10am and 4pm to meet
 the artists who will be doing the carving. It was an opportunity for people to bring along their ideas for other sculptures and the totem poles.

More details of the chain-saw artists 'Spirits of Wood'
photograph by M. Willis.

This design was submitted by Bekki May as a suggestion for the 'Campton' totem pole. It represents 'Percy' the

 village peacock (now sadly 
demised), All Saints' Church, The Mill and the 'White Hart' public house.  It has been

suggested that perhaps carvings of nuns and monks could be added around the bottom to depict Chicksands.  These

could be infilled with oak leaves, in memory of the oak trees that had to be cut down.


Shefford, Bedfordshire, UK (map)

Contact me