Horsted Valley is a mosaic of natural habitats ranging from rare chalk grasslands to ancient semi-natural woodland. Along with important landscape and ecological features it includes amenities such as football pitches, play areas and walking routes.
We are working on a project aiming to promote access through Horsted Valley by formalising walking and cycling routes, as well as interpretation trails, so that users can learn whilst exercising or enjoying the site.
This project also aims to encourage community involvement, grow existing and new partnerships, and increase the value of our natural capital.
Let's Talk Horsted Valley events
These are opportunities for local residents and other stakeholders such as local businesses, Kent Wildlife Trust, the Friends of Horsted Valley and Councillors to come together. At these events people can share ideas for potential enhancements to the Valley in terms of:
- walking and cycling
- wildlife and interpretation
Our last drop-in session was 21 September 2019. This was a very successful event that had around 100 people attend at the two sessions at the 25th Medway Scout Hut and Fort Luton.
On the day over 70 people filled out a questionnaire that let us know how local residents use Horsted Valley, whether they were happy with the proposals and their concerns.
The results have been collated and the majority are happy with the proposals for promoting walking and cycling as well as getting cattle back to manage the grass and scrub. We also had over 20 people sign up interested in becoming a Friend of Horsted Valley meaning the group can be reestablished.
Work has been completed to:
- successfully lead bids to create a new pocket park within the Luton Millennium Green, in 2017. Over £40,000 was invested in creating an area of natural play, raised flower and vegetable beds, the planting of 30 orchard trees alongside new paths, fences and increased maintenance. Local volunteers have played an important role in keeping the site looking good
- improve Vale Drive and Barnfield play areas in 2018
- install fencing to stop unauthorised motorbike access at the main entrance points
- meet with existing Friends Group to agree the way forward with new Friends in October 2019.
Further work and next steps will be to:
- host an introductory meeting to a Friends Group on Saturday 25 January 2020 at the 25th Medway Scout Hut in the morning. The time is to be confirmed. We welcome anyone interested to come along
- improve our annual meadow cuts on chalk grasslands, to enhance the productivity for biodiversity
- produce a walking route map useful for exploring the valley. This will be produced by our Public Rights of Way team. It will be available online soon and waymarkers on the ground are to be installed in the New Year
- complete a footpath from Concord Avenue to Walderslade Road by Spring 2020 incorporating inclusive access and motorbike restriction
- complete interpretation boards, a Horsted Valley identity logo and Welcome signs are being designed by our Communications Team, we hope to install these by Spring 2020
- make the area suitable for cattle with Kent Wildlife Trust. A grazing consultation will take place in 2020