OLD WARDEN NR
Deciduous woodland with varied birdlife
Approaching the Old Warden Nature Reserve along the track from the suggested parking spot, the reserve from a distance may appear traditional, but you are in for a real treat! As soon as you leave the track and pass through the gate into the woodland, you are greeted by large oak and Ash trees. If you visit during the day, listen carefully for the tapping of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, or if your visit is nocturnal, listen out for Tawny Owls. Navigating along any one of the paths leading east, you may come across some of the grazing animals loaned to the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire to help manage vegetation levels. Emerging from the deciduous woodland, you should be standing at the top of the Old Warden Tunnel, now boarded up with gratings to allow access for the local bat colony. The former Midland railway connected Bedford and Hitchin but was withdrawn prior to Dr Beeching’s cuts. From this high vantage point, look to the skies for birds of prey circling above the woodland and railway cutting, searching for mice or voles in the fields. Descending the steps into the former railway cutting, keep an eye out for summer warblers nesting in the scrub. The mature Hawthorn and Blackthorn bushes dotted around the reserve provide the resident birds with plenty of berries. Today disused railways provide useful railway corridors.