The three fields of this former dairy farm provide habitats for many varieties of plant, while its ponds attract amphibians and waterfowl.
The site consists of three fields totalling 50 hectares (20 acres) managed by grazing in rotation, mostly by cattle but sometimes sheep. The area is bordered on both of its long sides by footpaths leading to the Wavendon Wood area of the Bedford Estates. The southern side overlooks privately owned fields and on the northern side there is a large area of well maintained allotments.
There are two ponds at the site which attract mallard, moorhen and spawning frogs and toads. A small orchard was planted about twelve years ago, which is thriving, organically maintained and is being added to. Three beehives have recently been introduced, with mixed success. Plentiful brambles along the bordering footpaths attract many butterflies and other insects. Water arising from an underground spring along the south side of the top field provides a wet flush giving an additional habitat for water-loving plants. Access is made easier here by a board walk.
The fields are managed in rotation by grazing animals. There is an entrance gate to each field but normally only two fields are accessible at a time because the field being grazed is locked and entry forbidden. Due caution should be observed in the presence of cattle. Generally the area is open at any time, as is the adjoining Bedford Estates woodland with its numerous paths.
Paths are rough and not wheelchair accessible and the whole area is very muddy after wet weather, when stout footwear is advisable.
The three fields which make up this former farm, supported a dairy herd for many years which supplied Woburn Sands with milk. There is a photograph of a previous farmer on the useful information board at the entrance to the fields.
The land was acquired by Woburn Sands Council in 2002 to save it from possible development and maintain it as an open space for the use of local people. It is managed by the Greensand Trust and ‘The Friends of Edgewick’ – local volunteers who work to improve diversity, maintain fences, boundaries, gates and install board walks where necessary. A generous initial grant from Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN) enabled early fencing and other work to be carried out.
Woburn Sands lies on the sands of the Greensand Ridge which were deposited in a warm Cretaceous sea. Over millions of years volcanic ash in the sands has become a type of absorbent clay called Fuller’s Earth, which is used in dressing cloth. This was quarried nearby until quite recently when permission for expansion of the work was refused. As a result the site is now undergoing regeneration.
What to look for
A number of mature trees are scattered throughout the fields and old hedgerows.
A wide range of herbaceous plants has been recorded on this acid grassland. The wet flush provides habitats for Rushes, Lesser Spearwort and Greater Bird’s-foot-trefoil.
Ivy-leaved Crowfoot is found on the margins of the pond.
In May expanses of Bluebells in the adjacent woodlands make a walk through Edgewick Farm very worthwhile.
You may, particularly towards dusk, see Muntjac Deer straying in from the woods. Smaller mammals (e.g. Wood Mouse, Vole or Shrew) living in the grasses will keep out of your way as best they can but they will be there.
This is a good place to see some of the more common woodland birds, particularlyGreat, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Nuthatch andMagpie.
Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers frequent the area and Kestrels andBuzzards are sometimes observed.
Mallard and Moorhen often breed in the ponds.
In winter Redwing are often present seeming to find various insects in the many molehills and Wheatear are sometimes seen.
The ponds are also favoured by breeding Frogs and Toads.
June to August is an excellent time to observe butterflies, particularly Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Copper, Common Blue, and Small Skipper.
The bordering brambles are much favoured as sources of nectar by a great variety of insects throughout much of the year.
In August Brown Hawker Dragonflies can be seen.
Edgewick Farm species glossary
The scientific names of all the species mentioned for Edgewick Farm can be found in order of appearance in this species glossary
The nearest public transport
The village centre is served by Bus number 3 from Central MK, half-hourly during the week, hourly on Sunday. From the centre, walk down Hardwick Road to The Leys.
Bus number 17 from Bletchley (2-hourly), not evenings/Sundays/Bank Holidays; alight in The Leys close to the entrance.
Woburn Sands is also served by the Bedford to Bletchley railway line (both buses pass the station).