Godmanchester Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Grazing animalsCattle grazed grasslands
Surfaced and un-surfaced paths, part of the Ouse Valley Way.
Over two miles of wide rides, minor paths, slight gradients, suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Surfaced and unsurfaced paths; The Ouse Valley Way long distance path passes through the reserve.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSummer
About the reserve
This beautiful nature reserve south of the River Great Ouse consists of four lakes which are former gravel pits. Interspersed with the lakes are areas of grassland and ancient hedgerows which provide habitats for many birds. Ducks and geese swim on the open water, kingfisher hunt in the streams and songbirds search the hedgerows for food. In winter numbers of grazing wildfowl increase as the resident population is joined by birds migrating south to avoid harsh Arctic winters.
The reserve is also rich with history. Roman Lake is the site of a Roman well unearthed during quarrying in the 1980s. Mouldings Meadow is named after former brick mouldings; now it’s a great place to spot snipe. Teddy’s Lake was Teddy’s Farm before it was quarried. Numerous gulls and ducks breed on sheltered Island Lake.
Summer sees an explosion of colour as of the lakes and butterflies soak up the sun. At the base of the hedges and out in the grassland wildflowers bloom, attracting more nectar-feeding invertebrates. Along the old railway line, wildflowers like knapweed bloom.
We routinely cut back willow around the lakes to maintain the osier coppice and stop encroachment into the lakes. Grazing animals are used to promote wildflowers in the grassland areas and we pollard mature trees to increase their longevity. We restore hedges using the traditional practice of hedgelaying, which invigorates the shrubs and provides a dense nesting area for songbirds.
We have regular work parties at this nature reserve, read more on volunteering here. Please note that there is no fishing in the lakes at Godmanchester Nature Reserve. There are fisheries lakes adjacent to the reserve.