News from Millennium Country Park | 8th February 2021

Back in January, Rangers Nicola and Sven carried out some important updates and fencing work on the callow mounds at Millennium Country Park to protect the area and stop cyclists accessing this cycle-restricted area.

The callow mounds are a unique habitat created by the clay extraction of Stewartby Lake during the operation of the brickworks, and part of the County Wildlife Site (CWS) citation which covers Stewartby Lake.

People biking on the callow mounds causes damage to this habitat, which is home to various plant species such as century, agrimony and birds-foot-treffoil. Although not rare species in themselves the two latter species are the food plants for two rare butterflies: grizzled skipper and dingy skipper, both of which we have on site. Despite signage posted at every entrance advising of no bicycle access, a number of reckless visitors have ignored these and threatened this important area of the site.


Photos: D Morris

CWSs are private or public areas of land that and are considered - by the local Wildlife Trust, local authority and other local wildlife/environmental/conservation groups - important for wildlife. Classification comes from Natural England, and the recognition is non-statutory (as opposed to statutorily protected areas e.g. Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Local and National Nature Reserves) but rather an appreciation for a site's high value for biodiversity. They complement other site networks by providing essential wildlife refuges, stepping stones, corridors and buffers linking and protecting other designated sites. They can support both locally and nationally threatened habitats and wildlife species that are a priority under the UK and Bedfordshire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and, in Bedfordshire, account for less than 7% of the county’s area. 


The team fenced off two desire lines (paths created as a consequence of erosion caused by foot traffic) which had been created onto the callow mounds where people have been riding bikes. By taking this step we hope to preserve the area and it's wildlife for biodiversity benefits, for the site and for it's importance to Bedfordshire.