Know before you go
Parking informationPark on roadside in French's Avenue
Paths dry, firm and level, part of surfaced cycle route
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril to August
About the reserve
Once echoing to the rumble of steam trains, this now tranquil reserve has developed into a magical place for chalk grassland flowers. The steep banks of the cutting provide a contrasting sunny south-facing slope and a more sheltered north-facing bank. These opposites have a very different composition of flowers and grasses.
In summer the scorched south-facing slope is home to deep-rooted plants such as hawkweeds, scabious and knapweed while that facing north is lush with grasses. Blocks of scrub have developed, including guelder rose, whose white flowers have larger sterile blooms forming a ring around the smaller, inner fertile flowers. The list of butterflies found here is impressive with dingy skipper in spring, together with small, common and chalkhill blues. Marbled whites drift along the cutting all summer long.
Sewell Cutting is owned by Central Bedfordshire Council.