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Dogsthorpe Star Pit

Old clay pits, now a wildlife haven

When the clay in these pits ran out, the site developed naturally into a wildlife haven, preventing it from being used for landfill. It is now a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Local Nature Reserve.

The outstanding wildlife interest is the 63 species of water beetle found in the shallow pools. Damselflies and dragonflies also emerge from the pools in spring and summer to fly along the edge of the water. Kingfishers hunt fish in the pools while snipe, shoveler and teal feed at the water’s edge. The reedbeds provide important habitat for birds; bittern and marsh harrier have been known to nest here. Also on the site are isolated pools where invertebrates seek refuge away from the fish in the main lake.

The grassland banks are cloaked with flowering plants including bee and pyramidal orchids, which attract insects such as the meadow brown butterfly. Sparrowhawk, marsh harrier, tawny owl and kestrel hunt here. The trees and shrubs provide an area for a variety of birds including woodpeckers, longtailed tit and greenfinch.

Our management work includes re-excavating the pools and creating new ponds with diggers to ensure we maintain a mix of different successional stages. We mow the meadow areas and keep them clear of scrub.

Across Hodney Road from Dogsthorpe Star Pit to the east, Little Wood is an area of ancient woodland with large pollarded oaks; visit in spring to see the bluebells.

Note that the water is extremely deep and cold; no swimming is allowed.

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

Nearby nature reserves

Stanground Wash
3 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Woodston Ponds
4 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Deeping Lakes
4 miles - Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

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

Reserve information

Hodney Road 3 miles from town centre
Map reference
TF 213 025
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Opening Times
Open at all times
37.20 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Nene Valley
Northeast of Peterborough, in a triangle shape between the A16 and the A47 (Eye Road).
Walking information
Dogsthorpe - brick chippings, undulating, some steep sections. No swimming; the water is extremely deep and cold. Beware: the clay in the pit is soft and may behave like quicksand.
Along Hodney Road off White Post Road next to Little Wood
Dogs under effective control
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Tel: 01733 687515