May-Day was spent exploring somewhere we have been meaning to visit for ages: The Forest Centre at Marston Vale, Bedfordshire. It’s one of twelve Community Forests in England. Here’s a little bit about them taken from their “About Us” page:
Creating the Forest of Marston Vale is about using trees and woodlands to repair a damaged landscape, addressing the effects of the brick-making industry, which had flourished for over a hundred years between Bedford and Milton Keynes.
This area, as the quote above suggests, was once a hive of industry. At it’s height, there were around 160 chimneys in the Marston Vale. Now there are only four to be found at Stewertby (see photo below). There is a striking difference between what the area once was and what it now is. It’s encouraging to see so many new trees – over one million have been planted, which is great, not only for us but for wildlife too.
Yesterday’s short poem, A Scarred Landscape No More was inspired by this visit.
There was so much to see and do there but we decided to keep our visit short and sweet (after walking one of the shorter walks and enjoying a delightful breakfast in the Lakeside Cafe inside The Forest Centre) and head a little further down the road to another one of their woodland projects, Granary Woods.
If you ever find yourself in the area, I recommend you check it out. Here’s the link to website if you want more information: