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Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire facts for kids

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Godmanchester Nature Reserve, Island Lake 1
Island Lake on Godmanchester Nature Reserve

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (WTBCN) is a registered charity which manages 126 nature reserves covering 3,945 hectares (15.23 square miles). It has over 35,000 members, and 95% of people in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire live within five miles of a reserve. In the year to 31 March 2016 it employed 105 people and had an income of £5.1 million. It aims to conserve wildlife, inspire people to take action for wildlife, offer advice and share knowledge. The WTBCN is one of 36 wildlife trusts covering England, and 46 covering the whole of the United Kingdom.

In 1912 Charles Rothschild formed the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves to protect sites considered "worthy of preservation". The society worked to secure statutory protection, and this began with the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. In 1959 the society took on a coordinating role for local wildlife trusts, which covered the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland by 1978. The society changed its name to the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts in 2004, and it operates as The Wildlife Trusts.

In 1956 the Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely Naturalists’ Trust was founded, and it was followed by the Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire Wildlife Trust in 1961, the Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust in 1963, and the Peterborough Wildlife Group in 1987. The Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire trusts merged in 1990, and a further merger produced the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire and Peterborough in 1994. Peterborough was dropped from the name (but still covered by the trust) in 2011.

Fifty-two reserves are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), six are Ramsar wetland sites of international importance, six are Special Protection Areas under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds, two are national nature reserves, four are Nature Conservation Review sites, one is a Special Area of Conservation, two are in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one is a Geological Conservation Review site and eighteen are local nature reserves. The largest site is Ouse Washes at 186 hectares (460 acres), which is internationally significant for wintering and breeding wildfowl and waders. The smallest, at 0.7 hectares (1.7 acres), are Chettisham Meadow and Stoke Wood End Quarter, both of which are SSSIs.


Bedfordshire reserves

Site Photograph Area Location Public access Desig-
Arlesey Old Moat and Glebe Meadows Arlesey Old Moat 5.JPG 4.3 hectares (11 acres) Arlesey
52°01′16″N 0°16′08″W / 52.021°N 0.269°W / 52.021; -0.269 (Arlesey Old Moat and Glebe Meadows)
YES Frogs, toads and newts spawn in the moat, and dragonflies lay their eggs in it. The meadows have a range of wild flowers, and woodland, which is managed by coppicing, provides a habitat for nesting warblers.
Barton Gravel Pit Barton Gravel Pit 1.JPG 1.1 hectares (2.7 acres) Barton-le-Clay
51°57′25″N 0°24′11″W / 51.957°N 0.403°W / 51.957; -0.403 (Barton Gravel Pit)
YES This former gravel pit has been partially filled in to become flower-rich chalk grassland. Plants include knotted hedge-parsley, common poppy and great pignut. Mature beech trees provide a habitat for the white helleborine orchid.
Begwary Brook Begwary Brook nature reserve 9.JPG 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres) Begwary
52°11′38″N 0°17′24″W / 52.194°N 0.290°W / 52.194; -0.290 (Begwary Brook)
YES Gravel extraction has created a small lake and several smaller pools and marshland. The pools are surrounded by willow trees, and plants include common fleabane and marsh woundwort. Dragonflies and damselflies are common over the marsh in the summer.
Blow's Downs Dunstable, Blow's Down or Downs - - 145589.jpg 62.3 hectares (154 acres) Dunstable
51°53′13″N 0°29′24″W / 51.887°N 0.490°W / 51.887; -0.490 (Blow's Downs)
YES SSSI The site has varied habitats with a large area of unimproved grassland, which cattle help to maintain. Features include a disused quarry and medieval cultivation terraces. It has nationally rare plant, Bunium bulbocastanum, and a nationally rare beetle, odontaeus armiger.
Cooper's Hill Fir Trees on heathland - - 629499.jpg 12.5 hectares (31 acres) Ampthill
52°01′37″N 0°30′11″W / 52.027°N 0.503°W / 52.027; -0.503 (Cooper's Hill)
YES SSSI The site is described by Natural England as the best surviving example in Bedfordshire of heathland on the thin acidic soils of the Lower Greensand Ridge. It also has areas of marsh and woodland.
Cople Pits Cople Pits 9.JPG 2.0 hectares (4.9 acres) Cople
52°07′48″N 0°23′24″W / 52.130°N 0.390°W / 52.130; -0.390 (Cople Pits)
YES The site has eleven long water-filled pits from gravel extraction in the 1930s, which are now surrounded by willow and hawthorn scrub. The pits have been colonised by aquatic plants. Fauna include dragonflies, kingfishers and woodpeckers, and there is also a wildflower meadow.
Cut-throat Meadow Cut-Throat Meadow 5.JPG 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) Ampthill
52°01′55″N 0°29′06″W / 52.032°N 0.485°W / 52.032; -0.485 (Cut-throat Meadow)
YES The reserve is in three separate areas. There is a steeply sloping meadow where Meadow saxifrage and field woodrush flower in the spring, a beech and scots pine wood, and a pond which has reedmace and celery-leaved buttercup, and water boatmen and pond skaters on the surface.
Dropshort Marsh Dropshort Marsh 2.JPG 2.0 hectares (4.9 acres) Toddington
51°56′17″N 0°32′13″W / 51.938°N 0.537°W / 51.938; -0.537 (Dropshort Marsh)
YES SSSI This marsh has a variety of habitats, including a scarce quaking bog. Many species are now uncommon due to changes in agricultural practices. it has several springs, with floating sweet-grass and brooklime and areas dominated by rushes.
Fancott Woods and Meadows Fancott Woods and Meadows 10.JPG 12.9 hectares (32 acres) Fancott
51°56′13″N 0°30′36″W / 51.937°N 0.510°W / 51.937; -0.510 (Fancott Woods and Meadows)
YES SSSI The meadows are mainly ancient ridge and furrow, and are unimproved neutral grassland traditionally managed for hay and grazing. The woodland is mainly ash, with other species including pedunculate oak and alder. There is also a small pond.
Felmersham Gravel Pits Felmersham Gravel Pits 9.JPG 21.0 hectares (52 acres) Felmersham
52°12′54″N 0°33′04″W / 52.215°N 0.551°W / 52.215; -0.551 (Felmersham Gravel Pits)
YES SSSI The site has flooded gravel pits, neutral grassland, scrub and broadleaved woodland. It is described by the Wildlife Trust as one of the best sites in Bedfordshire for dragonflies and damselflies.
Flitwick Moor (& Folly Wood) Flitwick Moor 14.JPG 66.6 hectares (165 acres) Flitwick
52°00′25″N 0°28′37″W / 52.007°N 0.477°W / 52.007; -0.477 (Flitwick Moor)
YES SSSI This is a rich valley mire, and the largest area of wetland in Bedfordshire. Eight species of sphagnum bog moss have been recorded, including one which is nationally rare. The site has areas of woodland as well as wet grassland.
King's Wood and Rammamere Heath King's Wood, Heath and Reach 10.JPG 104.0 hectares (257 acres) Heath and Reach
51°57′22″N 0°39′47″W / 51.956°N 0.663°W / 51.956; -0.663 (King's Wood and Rammamere Heath)
YES SSSI NNR The site has the largest remaining area of woodland in Bedfordshire, together with lowland heath, acidic grassland and some small ponds. There are a number of rare plant species, including great woodrush, wood vetch and saw-wort.
Lancot Meadow Lancot Meadow 8.JPG 2.0 hectares (4.9 acres) Dunstable
51°53′06″N 0°32′38″W / 51.885°N 0.544°W / 51.885; -0.544 (Lancot Meadow)
YES The site is a grassland remnant on chalk soil, and a remnant of flower-rich meadows in the area. Flora include common spotted-orchids, ox-eye daisys and bird's foot trefoils. There are fauna such as song thrushes and marbled white butterflies.
Landpark Wood Landpark Wood 3.JPG 3.6 hectares (8.9 acres) Whipsnade
51°51′18″N 0°31′34″W / 51.855°N 0.526°W / 51.855; -0.526 (Landpark Wood)
YES This wood has mature beech trees, hornbeam, oak and ash. The understorey is hazel and hawthorn, with bluebells, yellow archangel and woodruff. Birds include woodpeckers and nuthatches.
Old Warden Tunnel Old Warden Tunnel - - 275715.jpg 3.8 hectares (9.4 acres) Old Warden
52°05′20″N 0°22′34″W / 52.089°N 0.376°W / 52.089; -0.376 (Old Warden Tunnel)
YES The site has oak and ash woodland with mature blackthorn and hawthorn bushes, and a steep cutting with grassland and scrub. Flowers include dwarf thistle and pyramidal orchid, and the scrub provides nesting sites for birds.
Pavenham Osier Beds Pavenham Osier Beds 2.JPG 1.3 hectares (3.2 acres) Pavenham
52°11′06″N 0°33′11″W / 52.185°N 0.553°W / 52.185; -0.553 (Pavenham Osier Beds)
YES This is a wet meadow next to the River Great Ouse, which has the uncommon flower meadow-rue. Osier is a type of willow which is continually cut, stimulating its growth and supplying material for basket weavers. The Trust is continuing the tradition by planting more osiers.
Pegsdon Hills and Hoo Bit Pegsdon Hills 8.JPG 79.0 hectares (195 acres) Pegsdon
51°57′11″N 0°22′19″W / 51.953°N 0.372°W / 51.953; -0.372 (Pegsdon Hills and Hoo Bit)
YES SSSI, CAONB The site has wildflower meadows in chalk hills, including orchids and moschatels. There are butterflies such as dingy and grizzled skippers, Birds include wheatears and skylarks, and herbs such as marjoram and wild thyme. Hoo Bit is a flower meadow surrounded by woodland.
Riddy, TheThe Riddy The Riddy and River ivel.JPG 7.7 hectares (19 acres) Sandy
52°07′30″N 0°17′46″W / 52.125°N 0.296°W / 52.125; -0.296 (The Riddy)
YES LNR This water meadow is one of the few surviving areas of flood plain of the River Ivel. Aquatic plants include celery leaved buttercup and water plantain, and there are birds such as lapwings, fieldfares and redwings. Water voles are found along the river.
Sallowsprings Sallowsprings 2.JPG 1.3 hectares (3.2 acres) Whipsnade
51°51′14″N 0°32′17″W / 51.854°N 0.538°W / 51.854; -0.538 (Sallowsprings)
YES This site was formerly a caravan park, and it is now a traditional hay meadow. A rich variety of flowers includes common knapweed, bluebells and cowslips. An ancient hedgerow has diverse shrubs such as holly.
Sewell Cutting Sewell Cutting 3.JPG 3.6 hectares (8.9 acres) Dunstable
51°53′38″N 0°32′49″W / 51.894°N 0.547°W / 51.894; -0.547 (Sewell Cutting)
YES The banks of this former railway cutting provide a rich habitat for chalk grassland flowers, such as common spotted orchids and cowslips. The south-facing slope has deep rooted plants such as hawkweed and scabious, while the sheltered north-facing slope has lush grasses. There are many species of butterflies.
Sharnbrook Summit Sharnbrook Summit 3.JPG 9.0 hectares (22 acres) Sharnbrook
52°15′00″N 0°34′37″W / 52.250°N 0.577°W / 52.250; -0.577 (Sharnbrook Summit)
YES The site is a mile long narrow strip above a rail tunnel. The reserve is grassland, grazed by rabbits, on limestone deposited during the construction of the railway. The dominant plant is tor-grass, and flowers include dyer's greenweed and wild liquorice. Scattered scrub provides food and shelter from kestrels and buzzards for small mammals and nesting birds.
Totternhoe Totternhoe Knolls 6.JPG 31.0 hectares (77 acres) Totternhoe
51°53′06″N 0°34′08″W / 51.885°N 0.569°W / 51.885; -0.569 (Totternhoe)
YES SSSI, LNR, CAONB, NT Part of the site was formerly quarry workings for Totternhoe stone, a strong chalk that was used in Westminster Abbey. It is now grassland with a rich variety of plant species, including some that are now rare. There are a number of orchids and a wide variety of invertebrates, including butterflies such as the common blue, chalkhill blue, and the scarce small blue and Duke of Burgundy.
Wymington Meadow Wymington Meadow 5.JPG 1.0 hectare (2.5 acres) Wymington
52°15′32″N 0°35′46″W / 52.259°N 0.596°W / 52.259; -0.596 (Wymington Meadow)
YES The site is a triangular meadow in the corner where two railway lines merge. It was cut off when the railways were constructed in the 1850s, and at the northern end there are traces of the ancient ridge and furrow method of ploughing. The site has a wide range of flowers, such as cowslip, salad burnet and quaking grass. A small stream and hedgerows provide additional habitats for wildlife.

Cambridgeshire reserves

Site Photograph Area Location Public access Desig
Arthur's Meadow Arthur's Meadow 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres) Hemingford Grey
52°18′22″N 0°06′29″W / 52.306°N 0.108°W / 52.306; -0.108 (Arthur's Meadow)
YES SSSI The site is calcareous clay pasture with a wide variety of plant species, including the herbs oxeye daisy and yellow rattle. There are orchids such as common twayblades and common spotteds.
Beechwoods Beechwoods 10 hectares (25 acres) Cambridge
52°10′16″N 0°10′12″E / 52.171°N 0.170°E / 52.171; 0.170 (Beechwoods)
YES LNR Beeches were planted on chalky farmland in the 1840s, and medieval plough terraces are still visible. Birds include green and great spotted woodpeckers, and nuthatches.
Brampton Wood Brampton Wood 132 hectares (330 acres) Brampton
52°18′58″N 0°16′12″W / 52.316°N 0.27°W / 52.316; -0.27 (Brampton Wood)
YES SSSI This is one of the few surviving areas of ancient woodland in the county. It is wet ash and maple on heavy clay soil, with rides which have a varied grassland flora, such as yellow pimpernel, greater bird's-foot-trefoil and devil's-bit scabious.
Buff Wood Buff Wood 16 hectares (40 acres) Hatley
52°08′10″N 0°07′48″W / 52.136°N 0.13°W / 52.136; -0.13 (Buff Wood)
WTPR SSSI This site is ecologically diverse boulder clay woodland, with a range of wildflowers, including oxlips and the uncommon green hellebore. There are butterlies such as brimstones, large whites, orange-tips and speckled woods.
Cambourne Cambourne Nature Reserve 90 hectares (220 acres) Cambourne
52°13′05″N 0°04′30″W / 52.218°N 0.075°W / 52.218; -0.075 (Cambourne)
YES This site has woodland, lakes, ponds, grassland and an orchard. The lakes and ponds have water voles and great crested newts, and birds include skylarks and corn buntings.
Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits 11 hectares (27 acres) Cambridge
52°10′48″N 0°10′05″E / 52.18°N 0.168°E / 52.18; 0.168 (Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits)
YES LNR, SSSI The two parts of the site are both former chalk quarries. East Pit is surrounded by steep walls of chalk, and the base is wildflower grassland with areas of scrub. Flowers include millkwort, harebell, kidney vetch and the rare moon carrot, which is on the British Red List of Threatened Species. Quarrying ceased 200 years ago in Limekiln Close, and it is now steeply sloping mature woodland with ash and cherry trees.
Chettisham Meadow Chettisham Meadow 0.7 hectares (1.7 acres) Chettisham
52°25′23″N 0°15′54″E / 52.423°N 0.265°E / 52.423; 0.265 (Chettisham Meadow)
YES SSSI The site is grassland on calcareous clay, and evidence survives of ridge and furrow medieval farming. Flowering plants include adder's tongue, cowslip and the uncommon green-winged orchid.
Doghouse Grove Doghouse Grove 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres) Wilburton
52°20′56″N 0°10′19″E / 52.349°N 0.172°E / 52.349; 0.172 (Doghouse Grove)
YES In the medieval period this was a series of monastic fishponds, which can still be seen in wetter periods. It is now an ash wood, with flowers including bluebells and lords-and-ladies.
Dogsthorpe Star Pit Dogsthorpe Star Pit 37.2 hectares (92 acres) Peterborough
52°36′29″N 0°12′36″W / 52.608°N 0.21°W / 52.608; -0.21 (Dogsthorpe Star Pit)
YES LNR, SSSI This former brick pit has been designated an SSSI mainly for its invertebrates, especially its water beetles, with 64 species, including four on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Graptodytes bilineatus, Dryops similaris, Gyrinus distinctus and Myopites inulaedyssentericae.
Fordham Woods Fordham Woods 10 hectares (25 acres) Fordham
52°18′14″N 0°23′31″E / 52.304°N 0.392°E / 52.304; 0.392 (Fordham Woods)
YES SSSI This wet woodland site has semi-natural alder coppice, with ash, crack willow and silver birch. The ground flora has tall fens, together with herbs such as marsh marigold and yellow flag.
Fulbourn Fen Fulbourn Fen 31 hectares (77 acres) Fulbourn
52°10′41″N 0°13′48″E / 52.178°N 0.230°E / 52.178; 0.230 (Fulbourn Fen)
YES SSSI These are ancient meadows on calcareous loam and peat which have never been farmed, so they have a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Herbs in drier areas include cowslip and salad burnet, while wetter areas have tall fen vegetation.
Gamlingay Cinques Gamlingay Cinques 3.4 hectares (8.4 acres) Gamlingay
52°09′40″N 0°12′32″W / 52.161°N 0.209°W / 52.161; -0.209 (Gamlingay Cinques)
YES This site is on dry sandy soil, which is an unusual habitat in the county. Grazing by sheep helps to restore the acid grassland and prevent encroachment by woodland and scrub. flora include slender St John's wort, harebell and devil's bit scabious.
Gamlingay Wood Gamlingay Wood 70 hectares (170 acres) Gamlingay
52°10′01″N 0°11′13″W / 52.167°N 0.187°W / 52.167; -0.187 (Gamlingay Wood)
YES SSSI This is ancient ash/maple woodland on sandy loam soil, an unusual habitat in lowland England. Ground flora include dog's mercury, yellow archangel, wood anemone and the nationally restricted oxlip. The flora is diverse due to the varied soils, and there are hundreds of species of mushrooms and toadstools. Birds include barn owls, garden warblers and blue tits. The site also includes Sugley Wood, which is young woodland.
Gamsey Wood Gamsey Wood 4 hectares (9.9 acres) Woodwalton
52°25′08″N 0°12′04″W / 52.419°N 0.201°W / 52.419; -0.201 (Gamsey Wood)
YES The main trees in this wood are ash and field maple, but there are also several wild service trees. Spring flowers include bluebells, wood anemones and yellow archangels, and there are birds such as fieldfares and nightingales.
Godmanchester Godmanchester Nature Reserve 59 hectares (150 acres) Godmanchester
52°19′44″N 0°09′14″W / 52.329°N 0.154°W / 52.329; -0.154 (Godmanchester)
PP The site has four former gravel pits which are now lakes, together with areas of grassland, willow woodland and reedbeds. Birds include wigeons, tufted ducks, teals and great crested grebes, and there are insects such as dragonflies and butterflies.
Grafham Water Grafham Water 114 hectares (280 acres) Grafham
52°17′24″N 0°19′34″W / 52.290°N 0.326°W / 52.290; -0.326 (Grafham Water)
YES SSSI The nature reserve is at the western end of the reservoir. It has open water, woodland, grassland and reedbeds. Around 170 bird species have been recorded including greylag geese, mallards and rare birds such as ospreys.
Great Fen Great Fen 1,184 hectares (2,930 acres) Holme
52°29′10″N 0°13′26″W / 52.486°N 0.224°W / 52.486; -0.224 (Great Fen)
PP This is a large wetland project which covers National Nature Reserves run by Natural England, and areas managed by the WTBCN. The fields of New Decoy Farm are being made wildlife friendly with new ditches and scrapes, and grazing cattle. Rymes Reedbeds is also being restored with new reedbeds on open water. Kesters Docking is being sown as species-poor grassland, and it will also have areas of open water and reedbeds.
Hardwick Wood Hardwick Wood 15 hectares (37 acres) Caldecote
52°12′14″N 0°01′02″W / 52.204°N 0.0172°W / 52.204; -0.0172 (Hardwick Wood)
YES SSSI This medieval wood is now managed by coppicing. It is mainly ash and field maple, while the oldest parts have pedunculate oak with an understorey of hazel and hawthorn, while ground flora include early-purple orchid and yellow archangel.
Hayley Wood Hayley Wood 52 hectares (130 acres) Great Gransden
52°09′36″N 0°06′47″W / 52.160°N 0.113°W / 52.160; -0.113 (Hayley Wood)
YES NCR, SSSI The soil in this wood is heavy and often waterlogged, conditions which suit meadowsweet and oxlip. The numbers of oxlip declined from around 2 million to 250,000 due to the pressure of excessive numbers of deer, but they have revived since the construction of a fence in 2002. A parish boundary fence is estimated to date from the eleventh century or earlier, and it has high wildlife value.
Houghton Meadows Houghton Meadows 8 hectares (20 acres) Houghton
52°19′41″N 0°06′14″W / 52.328°N 0.104°W / 52.328; -0.104 (Houghton Meadows)
YES SSSI Some of these fields are pasture and others are hay meadows, and they display ridges and furrows from medieval ploughing. They are a type of neutral grassland which is declining nationally. Flowers include cowslips and yellow-rattles, and there are fauna such as green woodpeckers and great crested newts.
Lady's Wood Lady's Wood 7.1 hectares (18 acres) Upwood
52°25′37″N 0°10′23″W / 52.427°N 0.173°W / 52.427; -0.173 (Lady's Wood)
YES This wood was a traditional coppice, but many of the trees were cut down in the 1950s. Birds include blackcaps, fieldfares and green woodpeckers and there are invertebrates such as orange-tip butterflies and azure damselflies.
Lattersey Lattersey 11.3 hectares (28 acres) Whittlesey
52°33′07″N 0°06′40″W / 52.552°N 0.111°W / 52.552; -0.111 (Lattersey)
YES LNR This former clay brick quarry has pits which have filled with water, and it has diverse habitats of grassland, woodland, scrub, pools, marshes and reedbeds. Mammals includes water voles, water shrews, and there are birds such as sedge warblers, tawny owls, woodcocks, great spotted woodpeckers and reed buntings.
Lower Wood Lower Wood 9 hectares (22 acres) Weston Colville
52°09′00″N 0°22′26″E / 52.150°N 0.374°E / 52.150; 0.374 (Lower Wood)
YES This ancient woodland has a variety of flora such as oxlips and early-purple orchids in the spring and water avens and germander speedwells in the summer. Muntjac and roe deer use the site and birds include goldcrests, great spotted woodpeckers and tawny owls.
Norwood Road Norwood Road 2.6 hectares (6.4 acres) March
52°33′40″N 0°05′20″E / 52.561°N 0.089°E / 52.561; 0.089 (Norwood Road)
YES This site has a deep pond, marshland and hawthorn scrub. There are wetland birds such as coots, moorhens and mallards, and other wildlife includes noctule bats and weasels.
Ouse Washes Ouse Washes 186 hectares (460 acres) Little Downham
52°27′07″N 0°09′43″E / 52.452°N 0.162°E / 52.452; 0.162 (Ouse Washes)
YES NCR, Ramsar, SAC, SPA, SSSI The Washes are internationally significant for wintering and breeding wildfowl and waders, especially teal, pintails, wigeons, shovelers, pochards and Bewick's swans. The site also has rich aquatic fauna and flora, and areas of unimproved grassland.
Overhall Grove Overhall Grove 17 hectares (42 acres) Knapwell
52°15′00″N 0°02′35″W / 52.250°N 0.043°W / 52.250; -0.043 (Overhall Grove)
YES NCR, SSSI This site is the largest elm woodland in the county. It was seriously affected by Dutch elm disease, but many trees have regenerated from their bases, and the mixture of new growth and dead wood provides a very good habitat for insects and birds.
Pingle Cutting Pingle Cutting 1.0 hectare (2.5 acres) Warboys
52°25′01″N 0°04′12″W / 52.417°N 0.070°W / 52.417; -0.070 (Pingle Cutting)
YES This former railway cutting has grassland with ox-eye daisy, salad burnet, wild carrot and hairy violet. There is also woodland with forest plants such as bluebells and dog's mercury. Over 50 bird and 300 moth species have been recorded.
Raveley Wood Raveley Wood 5.6 hectares (14 acres) Upwood
52°25′08″N 0°10′19″W / 52.419°N 0.172°W / 52.419; -0.172 (Raveley Wood)
YES Trees in this wood include oak, ash and field maple, together with some elms, although many were killed by Dutch elm disease. Invertebrates include the rare white-spotted pinion moth, which depends on elms for food for its larvae, and white-letter hairstreak butterflies. The dead elms provide a habitat for a wide variety of fungi.
Roswell Pits Roswell Pits 8 hectares (20 acres) Ely
52°24′04″N 0°17′10″E / 52.401°N 0.286°E / 52.401; 0.286 (Roswell Pits)
YES GCR, SSSI These former clay pits have lakes and reedbeds. Birds include common terns, kingfishers and reed warblers, there are flowers such as beeorchids and insects such as emperor dragonflies. The site has yielded fossils of dinosaurs, crocodiles and turtles.
Shepherd's Close Shepherd's Close 1.2 hectares (3.0 acres) Spaldwick
52°19′23″N 0°20′20″W / 52.323°N 0.339°W / 52.323; -0.339 (Shepherd's Close)
YES This small wood was planted in 1984 with ash, field maple and oak. Birds include blackcaps and chiffchaffs, and there are peacock, orange-tip and speckled wood butterflies.
Shepreth L Moor Shepreth L Moor 7.3 hectares (18 acres) Shepreth
52°06′29″N 0°01′16″E / 52.108°N 0.021°E / 52.108; 0.021 (Shepreth L Moor)
YES SSSI This is unploughed calcareous grassland which has diverse flora such as horseshoe vetch and felwort in drier areas, and devil's bit scabious and fen bedstraw in wetter ones. The site is regarded by Natural England as valuable for its invertebrates.
Skaters' Meadow Skaters' Meadow 2 hectares (4.9 acres) Cambridge
52°11′31″N 0°06′18″E / 52.192°N 0.105°E / 52.192; 0.105 (Skaters' Meadow)
NO The meadow is flower-rich wet grassland. Flora include common spotted orchids, cuckooflowers, meadowsweets, marsh-marigolds and ragged-robins. There are also grass snakes and birds such as blackcaps.
Soham Meadow Soham Meadow 3.6 hectares (8.9 acres) Soham
52°19′44″N 0°21′36″E / 52.329°N 0.360°E / 52.329; 0.360 (Soham Meadow)
YES SSSI This site is neutral grassland with diverse fauna and flora, including uncommon ones. Wetter areas have herbs such as green-winged orchids and adder’s tongue fern, and there are cowslips and stemless thistles in drier parts. snipe breed in wet pastures.
Southorpe Meadow Southorpe Meadow 2.0 hectares (4.9 acres) Southorpe
52°36′54″N 0°24′07″W / 52.615°N 0.402°W / 52.615; -0.402 (Southorpe Meadow)
YES SSSI This is one of the few surviving areas of neutral grassland in the county, where ridge and furrow from medieval ploughing can be seen. There is a rich variety of species, such as red fescue in drier areas, and salad burnet in damper ones.
Southorpe Paddock Southorpe Paddock 1.6 hectares (4.0 acres) Southorpe
52°36′25″N 0°24′04″W / 52.607°N 0.401°W / 52.607; -0.401 (Southorpe Paddock)
YES SSSI This site is a rare example of unimproved grassland on the Jurassic limestone of eastern England. It has typical limestone plants such as purple milk-vetch and clustered bellflower. Mature hedgerows provide additional habitats for wildlife.
Stanground Newt Ponds Stanground Newt Ponds 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres) Peterborough
52°32′56″N 0°13′44″W / 52.549°N 0.229°W / 52.549; -0.229 (Stanground Newt Ponds)
YES This site has ponds and a wet meadow, with smooth and great crested newts. Other fauna include common frogs, damselflies and dragonflies.
Stanground Wash Stanground Wash 26 hectares (64 acres) Peterborough
52°33′43″N 0°13′08″W / 52.562°N 0.219°W / 52.562; -0.219 (Stanground Wash)
NO The site is sandwiched between the East Coast Main Line railway line and Back River, a tributary of the River Nene. It is grassland which is flooded in winter, providing a refuge for waterbirds, and is grazed in the summer. It has a variety of birds such as snipe, redshanks and sandpipers, and ditches with rare beetles.
Thorpe Wood Thorpe Wood 10 hectares (25 acres) Peterborough
52°34′16″N 0°17′31″W / 52.571°N 0.292°W / 52.571; -0.292 (Thorpe Wood)
YES This is ancient woodland on heavy clay, with mature oak and ash trees, and an understorey of hazel and field maple. The ground flora is diverse, including wild garlic, wood anemones and bluebells.
Trumpington Meadows Trumpington Meadows 58 hectares (140 acres) Trumpington
52°10′12″N 0°06′11″E / 52.170°N 0.103°E / 52.170; 0.103 (Trumpington Meadows)
YES This site has flower meadows, woodland, ponds, and is adjacent to the River Cam and Byron's Pool, where Lord Byron once swam. Fauna include otters, brown hares, muntjac deer, skylarks, lapwings, yellowhammers and meadow pipits.
Upwood Meadows Upwood Meadows 6 hectares (15 acres) Upwood
52°25′34″N 0°09′43″W / 52.426°N 0.162°W / 52.426; -0.162 (Upwood Meadows)
YES NCR, NNR, SSSI The site has three fields on calcareous clay with poor drainage, a type of pasture now very rare, and was described by Derek Ratcliffe as having "an outstandingly rich and diverse flora". Other habitats are mature hedgerows, ponds and scrub. One of the fields is agriculturally unimproved, and the evidence of medieval ridge and furrow still survives. Flowering plants include pepper saxifrage and green-winged orchid.
Wansford Pasture & Standen's Pasture Wansford Pasture 7.3 hectares (18 acres) Wansford
52°34′55″N 0°25′26″W / 52.582°N 0.424°W / 52.582; -0.424 (Wansford and Standen's Pastures)
YES SSSI This is a south-facing slope, with Jurassic limestone grassland and a flush lower down which has a wide variety of wet-loving plants, including some which are rare in the county. The ecology is maintained by avoiding the use of fertilisers and herbicides, and by grazing.
Waresley and Gransden Woods Waresley Wood 50 hectares (120 acres) Waresley
52°10′37″N 0°09′25″W / 52.177°N 0.157°W / 52.177; -0.157 (Waresley and Gransden Woods)
YES SSSI This ancient woodland is mainly ash, field maple and hazel. There are also rides with diverse flora such as the herbs bush vetch, meadowsweet, greater burnet-saxifrage and self-heal.
Wistow Wood Wistow Wood 8.5 hectares (21 acres) Wistow
52°25′16″N 0°05′46″W / 52.421°N 0.096°W / 52.421; -0.096 (Wistow Wood)
YES SSSI This wood has many old ash coppices, most of which were cut at ground level in the 1920s and left to re-grow. There are flowering plants such as meadowsweet and ragged-robin, and butterflies include purple hairstreaks and red admirals.
Woodston Ponds Woodston Ponds 10 hectares (25 acres) Peterborough
52°33′58″N 0°16′05″W / 52.566°N 0.268°W / 52.566; -0.268 (Woodston Ponds)
YES LNR The site was formerly settling ponds to remove washings from sugar beet. The east side has a lake with water birds such as grey herons, tufted ducks and pochards. In the west there is a reedbed which has pools and channels, with great crested newts and unusual species of water beetle.
Woodwalton Marsh Woodwalton Marsh 1 hectare (2.5 acres) Woodwalton
52°24′50″N 0°13′08″W / 52.414°N 0.219°W / 52.414; -0.219 (Woodwalton Marsh)
YES SSSI This grassland on calcareous clay has diverse flora, including red fescue, quaking grass, knapweed, cowslip, pepper saxifrage, green-winged orchid and the rare sulphur clover. There is also a wide variety of butterflies.

Northamptonshire reserves

Site Photograph Area Location Public access Desig-
Abington Meadows 9.6 hectares (24 acres) Northampton
52°14′24″N 0°50′35″W / 52.240°N 0.843°W / 52.240; -0.843 ([Abington Meadows)
Barford Wood and Meadows Barford Wood and Meadows 36.0 hectares (89 acres) Rushton
52°26′02″N 0°44′20″W / 52.434°N 0.739°W / 52.434; -0.739 (Barford Wood and Meadows)
YES SSSI The site was formerly part of the medieval Royal Forest of Rockingham. It has diverse habitats, with hay meadows, parkland and recently planted woodland. There are many butterflies such as large skippers, orange-tips, small skippers and small coppers. Mammals include baders and red foxes.
Barnes Meadow 20.0 hectares (49 acres) Northampton
52°13′48″N 0°52′26″W / 52.230°N 0.874°W / 52.230; -0.874 (Barnes Meadow)
Boddington Meadow Boddington Meadow 2.3 hectares (5.7 acres) Boddington
52°10′26″N 1°16′48″W / 52.174°N 1.280°W / 52.174; -1.280 (Boddington Meadow)
YES This meadow has never been ploughed and it is managed in a traditional way to encourage uncommon plants, such as great burnet and pepper-saxifrage. There are amphibians including frogs and toads, and butterflies including meadow browns, orange-tips, peacoks, ringlets and small tortoiseshells.
Bradlaugh Fields 17.5 hectares (43 acres) Northampton
52°16′05″N 0°52′48″W / 52.268°N 0.880°W / 52.268; -0.880 (Bradlaugh Fields)
Bugbrooke Meadow Bugbrooke Meadow 1.7 hectares (4.2 acres) Nether Heyford
52°13′19″N 1°01′05″W / 52.222°N 1.018°W / 52.222; -1.018 (Bugbrooke Meadow)
YES SSSI This is a field on the bank of the River Nene which has not been treated with fertilisers, and often floods in winter. It has very diverse damp grassland flora such as hard rush, jointed rush and greater pond sedge. There are ancient hedges are important both as a habitat for wildlife and historically.
Byfield Pool Byfield Pool 4.0 hectares (9.9 acres) Byfield
52°10′12″N 1°16′08″W / 52.170°N 1.269°W / 52.170; -1.269 (Byfield Pool)
YES This secluded pool, which is adjacent to the Boddington Reservoir, was constructed in the 1790s to supply water to the Oxford Canal. Water rails and tufted ducks breed on the pond, and there are many frogs and other amphibians. A wide range of other birds nest in the adjacent scrub and woods. Mammals include rabbits and red foxes.
Collyweston Quarries 8.0 hectares (20 acres) King's Cliffe
52°37′23″N 0°31′08″W / 52.623°N 0.519°W / 52.623; -0.519 (Collyweston Quarries)
Ditchford Lakes and Meadows Ditchford Lakes and Meadows 31.1 hectares (77 acres) Higham Ferrers
52°18′00″N 0°38′17″W / 52.300°N 0.638°W / 52.300; -0.638 (Ditchford Lakes and Meadows)
YES Ramsar, SPA, SSSI This site has lakes in old gravel pits which are used by wintering and breeding birds such as Cetti's warblers, coots, oystercatchers and grey herons. The lakes are also visited by otters. There are areas of grassland and willow scrub.
Duston Mill Meadow Duston Mill Meadow 1.0 hectare (2.5 acres) Northampton
52°13′52″N 0°55′59″W / 52.231°N 0.933°W / 52.231; -0.933 (Duston Mill Meadow)
YES This wet meadow on the bank of the River Nene is described by the WTBCN as important for dragonflies and butterflies. It has muddy areas where wading birds such as snipe and the uncommon water rail feed on invertebrates.
Farthinghoe Farthinghoe 4.0 hectares (9.9 acres) Farthinghoe
52°03′32″N 1°14′46″W / 52.059°N 1.246°W / 52.059; -1.246 (Farthinghoe)
YES LNR This former landfill site has grassland, ponds and woodland. Flowers include lady's bedstraw, meadow vetchling and snake's-head fritillary. There are fauna such as marbled white and green-veined white butterflies, and pipistrelle and noctule bats.
Finedon Cally Banks 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) Finedon
52°19′52″N 0°40′41″W / 52.331°N 0.678°W / 52.331; -0.678 (Finedon Cally Banks)
Glapthorn Cow Pastures 28.0 hectares (69 acres) Oundle
52°30′00″N 0°31′08″W / 52.500°N 0.519°W / 52.500; -0.519 (Glapthorn Cow Pastures)
Grafton Regis Meadow 2.0 hectares (4.9 acres) Towcester
52°06′36″N 0°52′34″W / 52.110°N 0.876°W / 52.110; -0.876 (Mill Crook and Grafton Regis Meadow)
Great Oakley Meadow Great Oakley Meadow 2.0 hectares (4.9 acres) Great Oakley
52°27′43″N 0°43′52″W / 52.462°N 0.731°W / 52.462; -0.731 (Great Oakley Meadow)
YES LNR The prominent medieval ridge and furrow at the southern end of the site displays the ancient field system of Great Oakley. The dry ridges have diverse flora including cowslip, knapweed and quaking-grass. The furrows are poorer in species, while the northern end, which borders Harpers Brook, has plants characteristic of wet ground, such as cuckooflower and hairy sedge. The field is bordered by hedges, which provide seeds and insects for birds.
Harlestone Heath Harlestone Heath 2.6 hectares (6.4 acres) Northampton
52°16′30″N 0°56′42″W / 52.275°N 0.945°W / 52.275; -0.945 (Harlestone Heath)
YES The site is two narrow strips on either side of the Northampton loop railway line between Northampton and Rugby, with a tunnel connecting the strips. A stream runs along the north-east boundary. It is acid heathland, which is rare in the county. Birds include green woodpeckers and siskins, and there are butterflies such as brown arguses and speckled woods.
High Wood and Meadow High Meadow 16.5 hectares (41 acres) Daventry
52°11′17″N 1°08′02″W / 52.188°N 1.134°W / 52.188; -1.134 (High Wood and Meadow)
YES SSSI The wood is ancient and semi-natural on acid soils. It has diverse ground flora, including yellow pimpernel, hairy wood-rush and broad-leaved helleborine. The meadow is acid grassland of a type which is now uncommon, and there are also areas of neutral grassland and marsh on silty peat. There are many ant hills of the yellow meadow ant.
Higham Ferrers Pits Higham Ferrers Pits 10.0 hectares (25 acres) Higham Ferrers
52°18′32″N 0°36′32″W / 52.309°N 0.609°W / 52.309; -0.609 (Higham Ferrers Pits)
Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows 117.0 hectares (289 acres) Irthlingborough
52°19′05″N 0°36′29″W / 52.318°N 0.608°W / 52.318; -0.608 (Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows)
YES Ramsar, SPA, SSSI This reserve on the banks of the River Nene has wintering golden plovers, wigeons and gadwalls, and there are invertebrates such as banded demoiselle damselflies and common darter dragonflies. Meadows have grass snakes, and pipistrelle and noctule bats hunt insects at night.
King's Wood King's Wood 32.0 hectares (79 acres) Corby
52°28′34″N 0°43′34″W / 52.476°N 0.726°W / 52.476; -0.726 (King's Wood)
YES LNR More than 250 plant species have been recorded at this remnant of the Royal Forest of Rockingham, including ones characteristic of ancient woods including yellow archangel and wood anemone. There are diverse invertebrates such as green-veined white butterflies and common blue damselflies, and birds include treecreepers, long-tailed tits, green woodpeckers and tawny owls.
Kingsthorpe Meadow Kingsthorpe Meadow 15.0 hectares (37 acres) Northampton
52°15′25″N 0°54′29″W / 52.257°N 0.908°W / 52.257; -0.908 (Kingsthorpe Meadow)
YES LNR This site on the Brampton arm of the River Nene is often flooded in the winter. There are hedges and ponds, together with areas of scrub. Birds include green woodpeckers, kestrels and snipe.
Lings Lings 18.5 hectares (46 acres) Northampton
52°16′01″N 0°49′30″W / 52.267°N 0.825°W / 52.267; -0.825 (Lings)
YES LNR Frogs, newts, damselflies and dragonflies breed in this nature reserve, which has woodland, ponds, scrub and grassland. There are plantations of sweet chestnut and douglas fir, but in some areas native woodland is regenerating naturally.
Mill Crook Mill Crook 5.9 hectares (15 acres) Towcester
52°06′36″N 0°52′34″W / 52.110°N 0.876°W / 52.110; -0.876 (Mill Crook and Grafton Regis Meadow)
WTPR SSSI Signs of medieval ridge and furrow still survive on this traditionally hay meadow on the bank of the River Tove. It has diverse flora, with grasses such as meadow foxtail and sweet vernal-grass, and herbs including great burnet and ribwort plantain.
Old Sulehay Old Sulehay 85.0 hectares (210 acres) King's Cliffe
52°34′26″N 0°26′02″W / 52.574°N 0.434°W / 52.574; -0.434 (Old Sulehay)
YES SSSI This ancient forest has a number of different soil conditions and coppice types, and the ground flora is diverse. Abundant herbs include dog’s mercury, bracken, bramble, ramsons, wood anemone and bluebells.
Pitsford Water Pitsford Water 181.0 hectares (447 acres) Brixworth
52°19′19″N 0°50′49″W / 52.322°N 0.847°W / 52.322; -0.847 (Pitsford Water Nature Reserve)
WTPR SSSI This reservoir has been designated an SSSI mainly because of its many wildfowl, and the Trust manages the northern end for wildlife. In summer, falling water levels expose mud which provides feeding grounds for migrating waders, and winter visitors include wigeons, gadwall, pintails and teals.
Plens, TheThe Plens The Plens 5.0 hectares (12 acres) Desborough
52°26′49″N 0°48′40″W / 52.447°N 0.811°W / 52.447; -0.811 (The Plens)
YES Former use as a quarry and a railway line have created steep slopes and varied habitats, with grassland, hawthorn scrub, woodland and herbs. Flowers include wild basil, bladder campion, moschatel and bird's-foot-trefoil. There is a diverse range of invertebrates, particularly butterflies.
Ramsden Corner Ramsden Corner 3.2 hectares (7.9 acres) Weedon Bec
52°12′11″N 1°05′20″W / 52.203°N 1.089°W / 52.203; -1.089 (Ramsden Corner)
YES SSSI A stream runs through this valley site, which is acidic grassland, woodland and scrub on clay and sand. Plants such as wood millet, wood-sorrel and wood vetch are indicators of ancient woodland. Opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage is found in wet flushes.
Rothwell Gullet Rothwell Gullet 1.6 hectares (4.0 acres) Rothwell
52°25′41″N 0°48′54″W / 52.428°N 0.815°W / 52.428; -0.815 (Rothwell Gullet)
YES This former ironstone quarry has woodland, grassland and damp undergrowth with fungi. Hart's-tongue fern lines the quarry walls, and mammals include badgers and red foxes. A patch of privet provides a habitat for butterflies such as small heaths and green hairstreaks.
Short and Southwick Woods 25.3 hectares (63 acres) Oundle
52°30′40″N 0°29′38″W / 52.511°N 0.494°W / 52.511; -0.494 (Short and Southwick Woods)
Southfield Farm Marsh 2.8 hectares (6.9 acres) Barton Seagrave
52°22′26″N 0°42′00″W / 52.374°N 0.700°W / 52.374; -0.700 (Southfield Farm Marsh)
Stoke Bruerne Brick Pits Stoke Bruerne Brick Pits 6.0 hectares (15 acres) Stoke Bruerne
52°08′20″N 0°54′50″W / 52.139°N 0.914°W / 52.139; -0.914 (Stoke Bruerne Brick Pits)
YES This former brickworks was opened at the end of the eighteenth century for the construction of the Grand Junction Canal, and is on its bank. There are diverse habitats with grassland, ponds, a reed bed and a redundant arm of the canal. Invertebrates include white-legged damselflies and there are a variety of small mammals which provide food for barn owls.
Stoke Wood End Quarter Stoke Wood End Quarter 0.7 hectares (1.7 acres) Corby
52°27′54″N 0°43′26″W / 52.465°N 0.724°W / 52.465; -0.724 (Stoke Wood End Quarter)
YES SSSI The main trees in this wood are oak, ash, hazel and blackthorn. There are flowers such as early purple orchid and twayblade, birds including treecreepers and tawny owls, while comma and small tortoiseshell butterflies feed in open glades in summer.
Storton's Pits Storton's Pits 22.0 hectares (54 acres) Northampton
52°14′02″N 0°55′48″W / 52.234°N 0.930°W / 52.234; -0.930 (Storton's Pit)
YES LNR This site on the bank of the River Nene has old gravel pits, meadow and fen ditch. Around 350 invertebrate species have been recorded, including some which are rare. Water birds include snipe, teal, tufted duck and the uncommon water rail.
Summer Leys Summer Leys 47.0 hectares (116 acres) Wollaston
52°15′40″N 0°43′59″W / 52.261°N 0.733°W / 52.261; -0.733 (Summer Leys)
YES LNR, Ramsar, SPA SSSI, This wetland site has flooded gravel pits with bird hides, grassland, hedges and water meadows. Breeding birds include golden plovers, ringed plovers and common terns. There are butterflies such as common blues and the uncommon brown argus.
Tailby Meadow Tailby Meadow 5.0 hectares (12 acres) Desborough
52°26′13″N 0°48′14″W / 52.437°N 0.804°W / 52.437; -0.804 (Tailby Meadow)
YES LNR Artificial fertilisers have never been used on this hay meadow, and it has not been ploughed for several hundred years. There are fifteen species of grass and diverse wild flowers, including black knapweed, lady's bedstraw and lady's smock, which is a food source for the orange tip butterfly.
Titchmarsh Titchmarsh 72.0 hectares (178 acres) Thrapston
52°25′12″N 0°31′19″W / 52.420°N 0.522°W / 52.420; -0.522 (Titchmarsh)
YES LNR The River Nene runs through this site, which also has large areas of open water and grassland. There are nationally important numbers of goosanders, wigeons and gadwalls in winter, and banded demoiselle damselflies nest on nettles along the river bank.
Twywell Hills and Dales 39.0 hectares (96 acres) Twywell
52°23′06″N 0°37′23″W / 52.385°N 0.623°W / 52.385; -0.623 (Twywell Hills and Dales)
Wicksteed Park 14.2 hectares (35 acres) Barton Seagrave
52°23′06″N 0°42′11″W / 52.385°N 0.703°W / 52.385; -0.703 (Wicksteed Park)
Wilson's Pits Wilson's Pits 32.0 hectares (79 acres) Higham Ferrers
52°18′07″N 0°37′01″W / 52.302°N 0.617°W / 52.302; -0.617 (Wilson's Pits)
Woodford Halse Woodford Halse 5.7 hectares (14 acres) Woodford Halse
52°09′40″N 1°12′54″W / 52.161°N 1.215°W / 52.161; -1.215 (Woodford Halse)
YES This site in two disused railway cuttings has some plant species which are rare in Northamptonshire. Over 100 flower species have been recorded, including knapweed and devil's bit scabious. There are birds such as fieldfare, redwaing, wheatear, lesser whitethroat, yellowhammer and linnet.
Yarwell Dingle and Pond 0.4 hectares (0.99 acres) Yarwell
52°34′08″N 0°25′05″W / 52.569°N 0.418°W / 52.569; -0.418 (Yarwell Dingle and Pond)
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