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Gamlingay Wood

Gamlingay has been woodland for at least a thousand years, and the character and diversity of wildlife here reflects a rich history.

For centuries, the wood has been important to the local community as a valuable source of building materials and firewood. We continue to carry out traditional coppicing, supplying thatching materials, stakes for hedgelaying and even beanpoles in Gamlingay to this day. The wood is primarily oak, ash and field maple, with an understorey of hazel and hawthorn.

In parts of the wood, conifers were planted after the Second World War; we are gradually removing these. Due to the different soil types throughout the wood, the flora here is very diverse. On sandier soils there are bracken, primroses and foxgloves, whereas on the clay soils, bluebells, oxlips and wood anemones thrive.

Myriad insects live in the wood, including speckled wood and purple hairstreak butterflies, longhorn beetles and several species of dragonfly. Along the grassy rides and paths, clouds of butterflies rise up from the flowers, then, as dusk gathers, bats hawk along the rides to take advantage of the abundance of moths. Birds are active year-round, whether trilling warblers, tapping woodpeckers or hooting owls. 

Nearby Sugley Wood is former arable land purchased by the Trust in 2002. Slowly reverting to woodland, it is already home to many mammals, while farmland birds such as yellowhammer and skylark fly overhead. In the evening, barn owls hunt silently. 

We mow the rides and paths and coppice along the edges to allow more light for flowers and butterflies. Sections of the wood are fenced to prevent deer damage. We have regular work parties at Gamlingay Wood; see our website for further details.  


Gamlingay Wood leaflet (pdf).



The map below is for indication purposes only and does not show the Wildlife Trusts definitive land boundary.

Nearby nature reserves

Gamlingay Cinques
1 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Waresley & Gransden Woods
1 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Hayley Wood
3 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire

Nature reserve map

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2012. For indicative purposes does not show exact boundaries.

Reserve information

One mile northeast of Gamlingay, on south side of Gamlingay Road (B1040)
Map reference
TL 240 537
Great for...
ancient trees
historical interest
spring flowers
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Opening Times
Open at all times
70.00 hectares
Ancient Woodland
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Living Landscape schemes
West Cambridgeshire Hundreds
Wide level main rides and some rougher minor paths. All can be very wet and muddy in winter and spring, especially during bluebell season.
Walking information
There are numerous pathways throughout the wood, including the 3-km Rippengal's Walk, named for Robert Rippengal, an archaeologist by training. Robert was the founder and director of a Cambridge-based company selling wood-fuelled renewable heating systems. He enjoyed walking in the woods and was inspired by theTrust’s Vision of expanding and joining its woodlands. After he died tragically while walking in the mountains, his friends and family felt that supporting theTrust’s woodland work was a fitting memorial.
On side of track off Gamlingay Road (B1040)
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Tel: 01954 713500


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