Silver award for town’s green

Colin Smith and Karen Easton
Colin Smith and Karen Easton

Volunteers are looking at the land through silver tinted glasses.

Bellcote Millennium Green in Shefford has been given a silver award in landscape gardening by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

A judging panel came to view the green before the award was granted.

Colin Smith, chair of Shefford’s P3 group, said: “I think they liked that all the plants on the green are native to the UK.

“We have an area which is field plain where we allow the grass to grow each year. There are cowslips each spring; it’s fantastic in the springtime.

“We have another area which is set aside because it’s close to the river. We are careful what we plant – we just plant wild things native to the UK. We don’t plant trees. We allow them to self set.

“It always looks picturesque with the changing seasons.”

The green, which is off Purcell Way, also hosts mixed hedgerows and wildflowers. The cowslips were planted in just one area and they have spread their beauty across the entire green.

Before the millennium the area was just a farmer’s field.

A working party of volunteers maintains the land each month. There is a regular core of helpers and other people drop by from time to time. They undertake a variety of tasks such as mowing paths so that the area is pleasant for the people of Shefford to visit.

Volunteer Karen Easton walks around the green every day and keeps an eye on any work that needs to be done.

Colin added: “We had no idea we were going to get an award. We were chuffed to bits.”

Several other places in Chronicle Country were also given CPRE awards. A sustainable living silver award went to Garden Friends Farm Shop in Roxton.

A landscape improvement silver award went to Permissive Paths in Meppershall. And in the historic and new buildings category Ongley Mausoleum in Old Warden, Old Forge Cottage in Moggerhanger, affordable housing in Pear Tree Piece in Old Warden and 1 The Green in Ickwell took silver awards. And The Old School in Cardington was commended in the same category.