Marston Vale has plenty to offer in the way of leisure facilities. The following pages will guide you around the main attractions together with a little background history.

Millennium Park
Stewartby Water
Sports Club
Marston Thrift
Greensand Ridge Walk
Marston Vale Community Forest is one of 12 community forests in England.
The idea was instigated by the Forestry Commission and the Countryside Commission. The Community Forest provides improved footpaths, cycle routes as well as creating habitats for wildlife and developinig sites for the public to enjoy.
The Marston Vale Community Forest is approximately 61 square miles covering an area from Bedford to the M1 motorway near Milton Keynes. The new Forest Centre, which was opened in April 2000, is at the heart of the Community Forest.

Historically, the area was the centre of Bedfordshire’s brickworks industry (visit the Marston-Brickies website). Although bricks are still made at Stewartby you will find that clay extraction and landfill sites are the main industry nowadays. During the War the site on which the Forest Centre now stands was used as an explosive testing base.

Establishing such a forest obviously involves a lot of tree planting and at Marston Vale the Community has been involved in making it a "community" forest. An invitation was sent out asking for all children born in 1991 to attend the Forest Centre and plant a tree – the year the Forest of Marston Vale was established. 2,000 ash, oak and field maple trees were planted in a glade situated near the forest centre. The children were then asked to put their names onto a brick – before it was fired - and these bricks are currently being made into a permanent feature in the middle of the glade. This is one of many events that has taken place during the past year which involves the community getting involved. Another such project was the tree planting in Houghton Conquest. This took place on two separate occasions giving many of the villagers a chance to create a new woodland right on their doorstep! Apart from creating a new woodland, planting trees has the added bonus of removing carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the atmosphere – so plant a tree and be healthy!

Tree planting contributes to the National timber supply’; attracts new
employment and creates sites for public enjoyment. The people in the community become part of history by creating and more importantly enjoying this Community Forest.

There are many proposals for development, some of which have been completed and some are on going:
To plant woodland equivalent to 100 Wembley Football pitches each year
Improve or plant 5km of hedgerow
Set up an advice service for local farmers
Help improve recreation facilities
Encourage use of access routes – existing and new
Encourage community projects
Improve the forest as a resource for education

One of the current projects is the "Marston Vale Timberland Trail". This will provide improved public rights of way from the country park to Ampthill via Stewartby lake/village, Houghton Conquest, Kings Wood, Houghton House, Ampthill/Ampthill Park, Millbrook/Millbrook Proving Ground, Lidlington and back to Marston Vale Millennium Country Park. The total distance is some 23 km and amongst other things will create a link between the Greensand Ridge Walk and Marston Vale.

As the name suggests most of the funding for this project is coming from Timberland and the date for completion of the trail is thought to be July 2001 and it will be officially launched during August 2001.
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