A visit in summer 2022 by the Bedfordshire Invertebrate Group to HOCP found a willow-feeding species of sawfly, Arge enodis, which is the first British record since 1970 and never recorded before in Bedfordshire. In the 2022 sawfly status review this species had just been declared extinct in Britain.

There are images on the following web site: Arge enodis (Linnaeus, 1767) - Sawflies


The Park is a haven for plants and wildlife

Over 160 species of birds have been recorded here. These range from the common Canada and Greylag geese to rarer visitors such as Bittern and Little Egret. Watch the wildfowl on Grebe Lake from the hide. By the river, look out for Terns and Kingfishers.

The Park, and its lakes provide a home for migrating birds. In previous years these have included Goosander, White-fronted Geese and Fieldfare.

Many wild flowers are present around the Park, with the greatest variety can be found growing in the Nature Reserve, where Bee, Common-spotted, and Marsh Orchids can be found. A detailed study of plant life is available here.

A number of mammals live in and visit the Park. If you are lucky you could spot a fox, weasel or shrew. Rabbits are common on the warren.

Bats can be seen at dusk and there are nesting boxes around the Park.

We have a family of Otters living close to and using the larger Grebe Lake. They can sometimes be seen crossing the river meadow on their way to the river.

Amphibians such as frogs, toads and newts are all common in the wetland areas.

The harmless Grass Snake can also been seen in the summer.

Things to look out for

In Spring:

The re-generation of plant life in the Nature Reserve. A considerable amount of clearance work has been done in this area... This has the effect of providing more light and space for ground cover plants.

The Great Crested Grebe is a common sight especially on the larger of the lakes. As the weather warms up, pairs will start getting together and you may see their amazing mating dance. The display involves a pair meeting on the water, shaking their heads and dipping their necks. It will end with the 'weed dance'. During this the pair will dive, collect weed in their beaks and then rush towards each other before rising upright to meet face to face.

Feeding the ducks

Our ducks and geese love to be fed but please only give them the right sort of food! Bread is lacking vital nutrients and can cause 'Angel Wing', a disfiguring disease. Grain is much healthier and can be bought from the Visitor Centre.

Opening Hours

The Park is open to visitors 365 days a year. This also applies to the main car park but not to the overspill car park which closes at 5:00pm each day.

For details of the Dragonfly café opening hours, please click here.

The Park is owned and managed by Bedford Borough Council. The Friends of Harrold-Odell Country Park work in partnership with Council staff and run this web site.

Emergencies should be reported to the staff or direct to the appropriate emergency service.

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