Head to The Lodge, Sandy to find the largest stretch of heathland in Bedfordshire. This rare habitat is the place to spot some of the reserve’s iconic species such as breeding Hobbies, Nightjars, Ravens, Common Lizards and Natterjack Toads.

Beyond the heathland, The Lodge nature reserve’s acid grasslands are a magnet for large flocks of thrushes who feed there in winter. Its hilly woodlands are filled with towering oaks, where in summer Spotted Flycatchers catch food for their brood.

The reserve includes an area of farmland, managed to attract wintering farmland birds, as well as part of a sand quarry where you can find rare minibeasts and, in summer, Sand Martins.

We work to create ideal conditions for the varied wildlife that calls The Lodge home.

For 5,000 years heathland was the main habitat in this part of the world, but forestry and farming took over in the 1800s. In 2005, the RSPB began a project to restore some of this former habitat. The chosen area, known as Sandy Heath, was transformed by stripping turf and mowing, while sheep were brought into graze. The area was then reseeded with heather and new pools were created for Natterjack Toads. The reserve is now one of the best inland sites to see these amphibians.

Elsewhere in the reserve, we’re removing non-native trees from our woodland while encouraging areas of oak and birch.

The gardens at the Lodge are organic and no peat is used. We hope people will visit and be inspired to make their own gardens and outdoor spaces wonderful places for wildlife.

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