Know before you go
Parking informationPark on River Lane near brown sign for Nature Reserve, walk up lane
Boardwalks are narrow and can be slippery when wet.
Not suitable for disabled access or pushchairs
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitThroughout the year
About the reserve
Fordham Woods is a wet valley woodland with stands of alder trees, a habitat now rare in Cambridgeshire. It once formed part of the fen stretching past Fordham, where villagers cut reed for thatching and wood for fuel.
Alder, which is specially adapted to waterlogged ground, dominates the wettest places. It is our only native broadleaved tree to produce cones, and supports more than 90 insect species and many different fungi. At the reserve, alders are interspersed with willows, poplars and ash. Large bushes of dark-leaved willow are found here – one of its few southern sites.
Beneath the trees there is a diverse ground flora that includes marsh-loving flowers such as foamy white meadowsweet and bright pink ragged robin. In pools among the reeds and sedge are yellow splashes of iris and marsh-marigold.
We remove sycamores to allow the alder to regenerate, and cut back the reedbed on rotation to prevent reversion to woodland.