Houghton Regis, November 2021

The national charity looking after more than 190 acres of natural habitat and green space at new urban village Linmere has appointed a community ranger, Richard Eltringham, to help residents make the most of the natural environment in which they live.

The Land Trust, which specialises in nurturing a wide variety of public open open space and green infrastructure,  will look after the land at Linmere for the life of the development, ensuring it is sustainably managed for the benefit of the local wildlife habitat and the community while improving the biodiversity of the area.

With no resident more than a five-minute walk from an open green space, and outdoor living a key feature of Linmere life, ensuring the land is protected is a priority for the consortium overseeing the development.

The Land Trust’s five core aims are to ensure it protects the environment, facilitates community cohesion, helps improve the health and wellbeing of residents, provides educational opportunities and boosts the local economy.

Around a third of the 650-acre village will not be developed and will be managed in such a way that natural habitats can thrive, with 90 acres of that being transformed into public open space. The entire former farmland will come under the guardianship of the Land Trust for the next 20 years and beyond.

Richard will use his background in social and therapeutic horticulture to devise activities which will help residents get out into nature. Items on his agenda include mindful walks, creating a community allotment and setting up a gardening club while supporting local schools and colleges.

He’s also planning to involve residents in the creation of wildflower corridors, organise butterfly counts and take part in the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild event which sees different activities taking place every day in June.

This Christmas he’s also hoping to encourage residents to join him in seasonal events.

While the majority of activities will take place within Linmere’s parks, some may take in elements of the wider walking trails which will lead from the development into the surrounding countryside and villages.

Richard explained: “My role is to work with contractors to look after the green spaces here at Linmere as well as to encourage residents to get out and make the most of them. It’s well known that being out in nature is good for mental health as well as the soul and I want the residents at Linmere to enjoy the full benefits of spending time in green space.”

Linmere development director Nigel Reid said: “Outdoor living is at the heart of the Linmere experience. We offer so many ways for our residents to love their outdoor life – from cycling to exploring our parks to sitting outside the cafe watching their children on the adventure playground, to exploring the surrounding area on foot. The Land Trust offers a safe and responsible pair of hands to ensure the natural environment is protected for now and for future generations and the new community ranger will play a key part in this role, offering residents engaging and interesting ways in which to love their environment.”

The first Linmere residents moved into their new homes in the summer.

In total around 5,150 homes will be built over the next 15 years by the Linmere consortium which comprises master planners Lands Improvement, Aviva Investors, and the Diocese of St Albans.

Linmere will see the creation of two new state of the art primary schools and an extension to Houghton Regis’ existing Thornhill Primary school. A ten-form secondary school will open in 2022/3. 

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