Page last updated at 07:39 GMT, Monday, 19 October 2009 08:39 UK

Park bought for 'public benefit'

A landscaped park and woodland in Bedfordshire has been bought by a local council and an environmental charity to make it available for the public.

Rushmere Park near Leighton Buzzard has been bought by Central Bedfordshire Council and the Greensand Trust with a government grant of £573,000.

Private sector funding and donations have also been used to buy the 210 acres (84 hectares) of parkland.

The council and Trust intend to make the site publicly available in stages.

'Wonderful opportunity'

Rushmere Park, formerly part of the Stockgrove Park Estate, has a wide variety of wildlife habitats including open grassland, heathland and lakes.

It is hoped the acquisition of the park will alleviate pressure on existing sites and raise the tourist profile of the area.

Central Bedfordshire councillor Steve Male said: "We are delighted to be involved in a project like this that will ensure a truly beautiful place is preserved for public benefit.

"We strongly believe in creating areas like this for residents and visitors to Central Bedfordshire and I'm pleased that we have realised this great opportunity with the Greensand Trust."

Gill Welham, chief executive of the Greensand Trust, said: "We see this as a wonderful opportunity to both alleviate the pressure on local sites and provide a sustainable area of open space for both people and wildlife."

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