A Forest full of wildlife

All year round you’re going to spot a huge variety of plants, birds, animals and insects in the Forest of Marston Vale. By creating woodlands and wetlands throughout the Forest, we have reintroduced some species that haven’t been around for a long time, as well as growing populations of others that weren’t too keen on the area when it was all brickworks and landfill.

Play your part in the creation and management of vital habitats in the Forest by sponsoring an area of habitat online for only £10. You'll be helping to support the thousands of species that live in the Park - choose from grasslands, lakes and ponds, hedgerows, woodlands and reedbeds.

Here’s a few of our favourite species that you might spot at this time of year:


It may be the quietest time of year for wildlife but you’re still bound to see loads of birds who spend winter in our ‘warmer climate’ (compared to northern Europe and Russia, anyway.)

Teal, gadwall, potchard and – our favourite – shoveler, who normally just shovel in everything in their path (hense the name), but in our video we caught a rare moment of a male shoveler diving instead. You’ll also see plenty of birds of prey like kestrels, sparrowhawks, buzzards and red kites.

Last year, we were lucky to spot a great white egret in the Park – very rarely seen in Bedfordshire, normally only breeding in Somerset.

Insects and amphibians are sparse in this cold weather, but on a sunnier day you can sometimes spot butterflies like the red admiral in warm spots. You’ll find it easier to spot chinese water deer and muntjac at this time of year, due to there being less vegetation in the way and you’ll see rabbits and squirrels throughout our sites, as normal.

Most things aren’t flowering, but you’ll spot some lovely catkins on alder, willow and hazel trees, imminently getting ready to open up and release their pollen in the spring.


For more information about the wildlife found at the Millennium Country Park, call 01234 762614 or email our Head RangerFor the wider Forest area, call 01234 767037 or email us.

Our Wetlands Nature Reserve is home to a huge variety of wildlife and plant life - did you know, you get free access all year round by becoming a Friend of the Forest from just £5 a month?