With so much to see and do, Bedfordshire is a great place for a family day or holiday – especially for nature lovers.
If, after a family day out at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo with its 2,500 animals across in 600 acres (2.4 km2), your kids are still craving fun in the great outdoors then there’s a whole host of things to do locally.
Family days out in Bedfordshire
The Dunstable Downs are part of the Chiltern Hills, southern Bedfordshire.
One of the main attractions is an enormous lion shape, which has been cut into the chalk into the side of one of the hills and is actually part of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The lion can be seen from the B489 (Aylesbury to Dunstable road).
Barton Hills National Nature Reserve
This is an example of chalk grassland typical of the northern Chilterns. The site also includes areas of Chilterns beech woodland, ash-maple woodland, along with a variety of rare flowers and plants.
Although technically in Buckinghamshire, Ivinghoe Beacon is a prominent hill and Chiltern landmark.
While physically quite prominent, and higher than the surrounding ridge, the Beacon is not the highest point in the Chilterns. This is a few miles to the west at Coombe Hill near Wendover.
The Beacon lies very close to the border of Bedfordshire and nearby Hertfordshire. It is higher than any point in these counties.
Tiddenfoot Waterside Park, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard
A picturesque 29 acre site which features a large lake, grassland and poplar plantation, with an added bonus of having the Grand Union Canal running along the eastern side of the site.
A excellent spot for a picnic, Tiddenfoot Waterside Park is a former sandpit and is now a county wildlife site. It has good footpaths, access for the disabled and car parking.
Stockgrove County Park, Heath and Reach
Totalling more than 80 acres (320,000m2), the park includes a hand-dug lake, featuring the remains of a boathouse that sadly burned down in 1963 - only its brick arches are left.
A group of Mandarin ducks took up residence in 1997 and have bred there ever since. Some of the neighbouring oak woodland is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.