Flitton Moor is a Local Nature Reserve managed by Central Bedfordshire Council. It is a complex of ditches, ponds, grassland with wildflowers, and tree belts, including a small osier bed. The wetland habitats support a range of wildlife, including frogs and toads, and sticklebacks in the ditches. It is one of the most important dragon & damselfly sites in the county.
Both Flitton and Flitwick Moor are the remains of a much larger wet moorland that originally extended over much of the Flit Valley, from Westoning to Shefford and northwards to Maulden, prior to agricultural improvements in the 18th & 19th centuries. Recently land belonging to David Catlin, to the north east of the site, has come under stewardship agreement, but has no public access.
For 25 years before it was transferred back to Bedfordshire County Council in 1987, the Moor was owned by Silsoe Agricultural College.
Wildlife on the Moor
Just over 1,000 species of Fauna, Flora and Fungi have been found on the Moor. These include 198 flowering plants, 52 birds, 75 spiders and around 605 insects.
Bedfordshire wetland project
When the Friends of Flitton Moor were first formed we realised that much work needed to be done on the site to improve its biodiversity. So in 2006 we applied for a Biffa Award grant from the ‘landfill tax scheme’ and were awarded a grant of £33,500 in October.
For five years we worked hard to increase the biodiversity of Flitton Moor. The project was then short-listed for a prestigious national award at the 2012 Biffa Awards, a ceremony which recognises the people who transform their communities and improve the environment through Biffa Award funded projects.
Selected from nearly 100 hopeful applicants, the “Flitton Moor — Action for Biodiversity” project competed against four other organisations from across the country to be named winner of the ‘Rebuilding Biodiversity’ category, and receive a £2,000 prize.
The project received more than £30,000 in funding from Biffa Award to restore this wetland area in the Flit Valley, which had been identified as one of seven Wildlife Priority Areas in the county by an English Nature and Bedfordshire County Council study.
We spent the money on: A stock bridge, so the cattle could be brought in more easily; repairing the dams to raise water levels - one of them twice; managing the ponds, ditches and woodland areas; having ancient willows pollarded; school visits for pond dipping and working in the osier bed; producing a new leaflet; installing a pond-dipping platform and a new notice board; monitoring the biodiversity of the site, which has increased significantly.
The Biffa Awards ceremony 2012 was held on September 27 at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, Kent, where all the finalists were invited to attend a day of celebrating the enthusiasm and commitment of those who dedicate their lives to making a real difference to their community and the environment. Category winners at the Awards received trophies, and prize money of £2,000, which could be used to further develop their project.
Each winner then had the chance of being crowned the Overall Winner for 2012, receiving a further £1,000 prize.
FoFM WINS national award!
After being short-listed for this prestigious national award myself & Sue Raven from the Greensand Trust went to the Chatham Historic Dockyard to the Awards Ceremony.
There were five categories, and when the winner for the first (Recreation) was anounced, the lady gave such a professional speech that I then thought that all the winners had been told before. When it came to our category (Rebuilding Biodiversity) our judge, Tony Richardson of the RSPB, who had visited Flitton Moor in May, said how much he was impressed by all five of the short listed projects. The runner up was the restoration & creation of ponds throughout Glasgow, which I thought sounded an excellent project. Then he announced the winner, and it was us: Flitton Moor — Action for Biodiversity. I was flabbergasted - and I then had to make a speech! Sue said it sounded OK.
After the last category was announced, each winner then had the chance of being crowned the Overall Winner for 2012. The chairman of Biffa announced this: and it was us again! Afterwards, Tony told me that, apart from our success at increasing the biodiversity of the site, what impressed him was that the project had been led by volunteers and that we organised many events - including the Fun Run to raise funds for the site.
And we do have plans for what we are spending the prize money on: One of which is developing this website!
If you would like more information on Flitton Moor, or would like to join our group of ‘Friends’ please contact David Sedgley at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01525 714961.
Head over to the Flitton Moor Gallery to see images of us receiving our awards, along with more on the work we have carried out on the Moor.
Why not also take a look at the art this beautiful Moorland has inspired.