Soulbury Millennium Green

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INTRODUCTION

Soulbury is a small village in North Buckinghamshire, three miles north west of Leighton Buzzard and six miles south of Milton Keynes. The Millennium Green lies on the western edge of the village, immediately to the north of the B4032. The gardens of the houses on The Green and access to the bungalows of Andrews Close form the northern and eastern boundaries and, to the south-west, is the garden of Ivy Cottage. The remainder of the site adjoins open fields of grazing.

The Millennium Green is 3.35 acres of open space to be enjoyed permanently by the local community; has its own character with particular features including ponds, woodland, orchard and meadow. It is a place where people of all ages can relax, children can play, dogs can run and everyone can enjoy nature, in a permanent ‘breathing space’.

FEATURES OF PARTICULAR INTEREST

The main feature of interest is its ecological value and efforts continue to be made to preserve this as much as possible. There is no statutory or non-statutory conservation designations on the site and no wildlife records relating to the site are known to the County Environmental Records Office. However, from early summer through to September 1998 a record of plant and insect life was gathered. A moth count of 54 species was taken one night in July.

There are three ponds which can be somewhat seasonal in their water levels, but most species appear to cope with this. There are many marginal plants with associated insect and faunas which thrive.

Woodland and large mature trees are almost non-existent in and around the village. The most significant change to the ecology of the site over the years has been the introduction of native trees, turning pockets of grassland into woodland. A community orchard with 30 fruit trees were planted in 2000, the beds around which are maintained by villagers. The Millennium Oak was planted in the centre of the field.

Wildlife on the site includes slow worms, grass snakes, frogs, toads, rabbits, hare and hedgehogs. Newts were introduced to the water margins. There are many bird species including Goldfinches, Linnets, Woodpeckers, three Sylvia species, Bullfinches and Chiffchaffs.

There is a stage area on the Millennium Green which is ideal for any individual or group wishing to hold an outdoor music, drama, dance event. There is also car parking, and suitable pathways, for the disabled and those with pushchairs. Plenty of benches, a picnic table and barbecue are all available for use by anyone. There are plenty of play areas for children.