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Fordham Woods

A wet valley woodland, a rare habitat in Cambridgeshire

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.


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

Nearby nature reserves

Soham Meadow
2 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Norah Hanbury-Kelk Meadows
6 miles - Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Doghouse Grove
10 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

3 miles north of Newmarket
Map reference
TL 632 700
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Opening Times
Open at all times
10.00 hectares
Walking information
Boardwalks feature but are narrow and can be slippery when wet. Southern circuit is more difficult
Park on roadside 1/4 mile after turning onto River Lane
Dogs under effective control
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Tel: 01954 713500