Barton Hills National Nature Reserve



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Barton Hills NNR is a fine example of downland and woodland in the northern Chilterns between Barton-le-Clay and Hexton. The main habitats are lowland chalk grassland and beech woodland. Colourful wildflowers cover the chalk grassland, including rarities such as the Pasque flower, greater pignut and field fleawort, plus classic downland plants like marjoram, rock rose and scabious. In summer you will see a host of butterflies including chalkland specialists such as the chalk hill blue, marbled white and dark green fritillary. The woodland contains an important population of large-leaved lime trees and is also home to the rare plant herb Paris. Also, you might be lucky enough to spot some shy mammals including stoats, weasels and hares. The terrain at Barton Hills is steep and difficult in places and is mostly unsuitable for wheelchairs. Depending on the weather, the path alongside the stream from the hay meadow towards the spring can be suitable for wheelchair access.

Barton Hills National Nature Reserve


About the area

Discover Bedfordshire

At its most southern point, Bedfordshire is only 35 miles from London Waterloo, so there’s a good reason for the UK’s fifth busiest airport to be called London Luton Airport. The county is one of England’s smaller in terms of area, but more than makes up for it in terms of business HQs and visitor attractions. Among the most popular of these, and among the top attractions in the UK, is ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, founded in 1931, and now covering around 600 acres.

Along similar lines Woburn Safari Park opened more recently (in 1970) and is just over half the size. Fans of old flying machines or cars will enjoy a visit to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, a tiny village near Biggleswade. Among the oldest examples in the collection are a pioneering French Blériot XI from 1910, and a number of early French and German automobiles from the very late 19th century. 

Bedford itself is located on either side of the River Ouse, and has a large Italian population, descended from those who came to work at a local brick factory in the 1950s.

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