Campton & Chicksands

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve


The Greensands Trust are putting on a number of wildlife events this summer (July to September 2012)
please see these posters : -

Whats On

Poster 1

Poster 2

Poster 3

Poster 4

May 2012 Wild Life & History of Plum Orchard

March 2010 Info sheet

e are very fortunate to have in the parish 230 acres of land as a dedicated nature reserve, owned by The Greensands Trust.  The area was donated to the trust by a local business man and is totally peaceful with wild flowers flourishing, such as Bee Orchids which are becoming rare, and unusual birds skimming the hedge tops.

The Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (dedicated to the donor's wife) is available for walkers and nature lovers, but there are no facilities.  No car parking, no toilets, no cafes!  Just natural countryside, being controlled to provide wet madow land, a reed bed area (which is a very rare habitat for the Bedforshire area, a new pit has been dug to provide a new sandy habitat to attract invertebrates.

Currently the site can be accessed via a private road (bridleway) near Speedsdiary Farm.

If you are interested in learning more about the Sandy Smith Nature Reserve, please contact Liz Millbank for further information.  Her telephone number is 01234 743666.  The Greensands Trust does welcome volunteers to assist with work.  They also welcome pedestrian users of the public footpaths and permissive footpaths, so long as any dogs are kept on leads, and walkers arrive at the site on foot or by bicycle as there are no car parking facilities.

Click here for map containing public footpaths and rights of way

The land lies in the Flit Valley in mid Bedfordshire, since 2006 it is been owned by The Greensand Trust and is being developed and managed as a nature reserve. This 93-hectare site consists of a mixture of habitats. The base of the valley, consist of 23 hectares of wet woodland, reed bed, river, marsh and grazing meadow on peaty soil and is known as Upper Alders, a County Wildlife Site. The remaining 70 hectares on the side of the valley consists of an extensive area of ex-arable farmland on sand and clay soils and a small area of woodland.

To enable access footpaths have been converted into wide green lanes with hedgerows planted either side of them. About 2,500m or 14,700 plants of mixed native hedging have been planted.

Stands of spruces (0.6ha) have been felled and the timber removed to restore native wet woodland and open marshland

The ponds, marsh and reed beds are being restored by grazing and cutting, and water levels are being managed to encourage the spread of wetland species both in the wet woodland and open wetland areas.

New woodland is being created to link the existing woodland to the north of the site with the wet woodland in the base of the valley. At the moment we are allowing this area to naturally regenerate and depending on how this works out we may undertake some planting in the future.
The ex-arable areas have been fenced (5000m) to enable grazing to help re-create acid and neutral grassland. Part of the land will not be grazed in the first few years to allow the development of scattered scrub to encourage bird and invertebrate species.’

As part of the Heathland’s of the Greensand Ridge project, trial heathland plots have also been established to assess the potential for heathland restoration here and at other sites along the Ridge.
About £73,000 has been received from WREN, the former Mid Beds District Council and Breathing Places. Further funding has been received from EWGS (English Woodland Grant Scheme) and Natural England via their Environmental Stewardship Agreement.
The work is being undertaken via a combination of Greensand Trust staff and volunteers and contractors. If you require any further information please contact the Greensand Trust  01234 743666

Common Field Speedwell

Common Toad

Otter Holt

Views of the Sandy Smith Nature Reserve

Volunteers Rest

Reed Bed
An unidentified nest

Bird Ringing - Juvenile Kingfisher
Marbled White

 Five spot Burnet
Common Blue
Bee Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid

Large Skipper
Marbled White - underside
Pyrimidal Orchid
River Flit
Cow Parsley

With thanks to
 Malcolm Willis (Volunteer Warden
) these stunning photographs.

Red Clover
Reed Bed
Owl's Oak

Jock tests the bridge

A (rather muddy) Jock after a hard days graft.
The Greensand Trust is an independent environmental charity that works
with local communities and landowners to conserve and enhance the
distinctive landscape, wildlife and history of Mid & South Bedfordshire,
improving access, understanding and enjoyment for the benefit of
everyone. For more information please visit our website

Charity number: 1077055

Company limited by guarantee.Registered in England: 3702419


Shefford, Bedfordshire, UK (map)

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