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Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits

Once quarried to build Cambridge colleges, now a spectacular wildlife site

Standing within East Pit, you are surrounded by steep cliffs of bare white chalk with patches of grassland and dense scrub. The cherry trees in adjacent Lime Kiln Close are descendants of the trees that gave Cherry Hinton its name; now large ash trees also tower over field maples.

Wildflowers such as milkwort, harebell and kidney vetch thrive in East Pit, and rare moon carrot grows only here and at two other locations in the country. The scrub habitat in these pits provides nesting and feeding sites for more than 60 species of bird. On summer nights, glow-worms glimmer fluorescent in the grass.

To help restore its value for nature, we reprofiled the base of the pit in 2009 to break up much of the solid chalk surface. This has enabled wildflowers and grasses to spread and colonise the exposed chalk.

In 2009 an archaeological excavation was carried out at East Pit. You can download the Final War Ditches Report (pdf) on the excavation or read it here.

Watch here as Wildlife Trust volunteer Jade Lauren Cawthray takes a winter walk through the chalk pits.

This nature reserve is part of the Cambridgeshire Chalk Living Landscape


Find out more about local geology and the Cambridgeshire Geological Society here.


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

Nearby nature reserves

1 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Fulbourn Fen
3 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Skaters' Meadow
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

2.5 miles from Cambridge centre
Map reference
Great for...
geological interest
historical interest
lichens and mosses
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
11.00 hectares
Local Nature Reserve (LNR)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Living Landscape schemes
Cambridgeshire Chalk

Walking information
Steep slopes and steps. East Pit has a level and surfaced path around part of the site. Do not climb the cliffs. Possible falling rocks; keep away from the base of cliffs
Park in layby opposite the Public House on Fulbourn Road.
Dogs under effective control
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Tel: 01954 713500