Address - Between Heath and Reach and Great Brickhill

Nearest car parks at the Stockgrove Entrance of Rushmere Country Park in Brickhill Road at grid reference SP920293, with the main country park car park at SP911284.

The 150ha National Nature Reserve (NNR) includes a large area of Rushmere Country Park, jointly owned by The Greensand Trust and Central Bedfordshire Council, and the parts of Kings Wood that are owned by The Greensand Trust, Beds Wildlife Trust, Central Bedfordshire Council and Tarmac Cement & Lime Ltd.

Much of the reserve lies within the Kings and Bakers Woods and Heaths SSSI. Kings Wood and part of Bakers Wood within Rushmere are part of the largest area of ancient woodland in Bedfordshire, and lies on a ridge of Greensand overlain by deposits of chalky boulder clay.  This mixture of light sandy and heavy clay soils supports a diverse range of species in close proximity, with birch, sessile oak, bracken and heather in the sandy areas, and ash, pedunculate oak, hornbeam and dog’s mercury on the clay area. 

The site is also noted for its small-leaved lime, a locally rare native tree believed to have been the dominant tree in the original wildwood, and there is also the largest population of lily-of-the-valley in the county, with woodland butterflies including silver washed fritillary, white admiral and purple hairstreak.  Other habitats within Rushmere include heathland, acid and neutral grassland, mixed woodland, and a range of wetland habitats including wet woodland and marshy grassland. The NNR supports a wide range of bat species, and the areas of heathland within the NNR and on adjacent Rammamere Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) support adder, slow-worm and common lizard.

National Nature Reserve extended

In December 2020 the Rushmere and Kingswood NNR, already Bedfordshire's largest, was extended gaining an additional 43 hectares bringing its total size to 191 hectares. 

This extension includes Shire Oak Heath, part of Rushmere Country Park, which we were able to acquire following a successful fundraising appeal in 2018 - our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed and made this happen! Our hard work there to restore the heathland and bring the site back into positive management has now been recognised with the site's inclusion in the NNR.

We're proud to part of this wonderful initiative working with our partners Tarmac Central Bedfordshire Council and The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs & Northants.

Find out more here.