Greensand Country is an island of distinctive, beautiful and loved countryside in the heart of Bedfordshire. It is a landscape rich in wildlife and cultural heritage, with its own special qualities and sense of place. A green oasis of peace and quiet, rolling countryside and breathtaking views.
If you are a business located in Greensand Country, you can benefit from some of the best-loved and most beautiful countryside in England, which helps to attract residents, visitors and employers to the area.
The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership has developed narrative and photos of this beautiful area that you can use to aid your own marketing activity. It is designed to help you promote Greensand Country to your customers – and in doing so, put your business on the map as part of this special landscape.
The landscape is defined by the Greensand Ridge, a band of higher ground stretching from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay, which rises out of the surrounding vales to create a locally unique environment. The area contains all of Bedfordshire’s remaining heathland, more than half of its woodland and more historic parkland per hectare than anywhere else in the country.
In January 2017, a National Lottery Heritage Funded Programme was established to deliver up to 90 projects that would help raise awareness of the heritage value of the landscape and reverse the gradual decline of its distinct character. There are 24 partners working together to make the projects a success, including Central Bedfordshire Council, The Greensand Trust, Sustrans, The British Horse Society and the Bedfordshire Geology Group.
That character is a result of the special geology of the Greensand Country which meant that the area was less well suited to agriculture and was instead used for the siting of monasteries. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the land was given to major landowners who established their own stately homes and gardens, deer parks and estate villages. Towards the middle of the 19th Century, the railways, brought by the Industrial Revolution, transformed local towns and created new industries such as quarrying, brick making, cultivation and milling.
Today, an excellent network of public rights of way offers a wide variety of walks, cycle and riding routes, and an annual Greensand Country Festival includes events and activities organised by partners, local business, special interest groups and visitor attractions to encourage those living within the area to get out and explore the outstanding countryside on their doorstep.
Plans are already taking shape for this year’s festival, subject to COVID-19 regulations. With this in mind, many virtual events are in the pipeline.
In the meantime, businesses located within Greensand Country can sign up to the Charter and have access to all the resources that have been put together in a toolkit. As well as the photos and narrative about this special place there are other advantages for businesses. They can add their business profile to the Greensand Country website and will also be invited to events, and add their own events to the website for Greensand Country.
Louise Stewart-Young, from the Landscape Partnership, said:
“We’d like to get businesses involved so that we can promote Greensand Country. A lot of the businesses within the area are eateries, or specialist retailers that will appeal to walkers or cyclists, so it’s an excellent chance to let people know more about Greensand Country, and also attract customers to your business.”
Depending on what is allowed by May, Greensand Country Festival will include a selection of guided walks, wildlife and nature events and talks. There are also other events outside of the festival period. The first Greensand Country Ultra Trail takes place on June 13, so if you are an ultra-marathon runner this 50km route could be ideal for you.
Volunteer researchers have been collecting local voices as part of the Greensand Country Oral History Project, and an archive of the recorded sounds will be available from May, as will details of a number of projects from commissioned artists. In March and April, workshops in creative writing, photography and field recording are planned.
Away from organised events, visitors can develop their own days out in a countryside that is alive with diverse wildlife; from the adders and common lizards on the dry heaths to otters and kingfishers on the River Flit. Bird lovers have a chance to glimpse great spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches, red kites and buzzards, while the Riddy’s wet meadows are one of the few remaining places in Bedfordshire where you can find water voles.
“The important thing is that the diverse and unique landscape of Greensand Country is promoted and protected, and people can get involved in that as volunteers or through their businesses, or just as visitors.
“Nearly all of Bedfordshire’s famous manor houses are within Greensand Country, including Woburn Abbey, Shuttleworth, Moggerhanger, Ampthill Park, Flitwick Manor and Swiss Garden, but we also want to encourage visitors to get off the beaten path.
“We hope to produce the best festival possible and hopefully we will be able to adapt to the changing regulations. There is so much more to discover and, particularly if we’re social distancing, in many ways getting off the beaten track is a better option Plus, there is so much to discover about the hidden woodlands and geology that makes Greensand Country so special.”