A view from Old Warden Tunnel with oilseed rape and hawthorn blooming

By Mark Chapman

Old Warden Tunnel

An oasis of wildflowers and bird song with a wonderful view towards Bedford

Location

5 miles south east of Bedford
Bedfordshire
A static map of Old Warden Tunnel

Know before you go

Size
4 hectares

Entry fee

No

Grazing animals

Yes

Walking trails

Paths firm but uneven; steep flight of steps to cutting, no access to the tunnel itself

Access

5 miles south east of 
Bedford
Bedfordshire

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

April to June, July to September

About the reserve

Just off the Greensand Ridge path, this reserve offers much interest if you venture 'off the beaten track'. As the path winds past mature hawthorn and blackthorn bushes, large ash and oak trees, it is hard to imagine that you are on top of a railway tunnel through which steam trains once passed. Coming out of the woodland, you emerge to magnificent views of the countryside, with a steep cutting covered with grassland and scrub falling rapidly away from you.

A summer visit will reveal wildflowers more common to the chalk in the south of the county. Pyramidal orchid, dwarf thistle, together with hoary plantain, a pretty relative of a common lawn weed, are seen. The scrub provides nesting sites and song posts for summer warblers and the cutting can echo with the song of willow warblers and blackcaps. Autumn sees the fluffy seed heads of old-man's-beard cloaking the hedgerows.   

Contact us

Contact number: 01234 364213

Environmental designation

County Wildlife Site