Bourn Brook

Wider Countryside

Bourn Brook

Bourn Brook

Bourn Brook flows from Caxton in Cambridgeshire down to Byron's Pool in Granchester, where it joins the River Cam. Most of the brook is within our West Cambridgeshire Hundreds Project area.

Results of our 2017 water vole and invasive plants survey are available here.

Volunteer efforts controlling Himalayan balsam have started to pay off, but we'll be back again this year starting 8th June.  Most tasks involve wading - waders are provided but please contact us in advance to let us know your shoe size.  Dates and contact details (scroll down) are below: 

Date

Section

Who

Meeting point & time

Contact

Sat 8th Jun

CRT (Westfield)

CRT

1Birds Farm, Barton 9.30am

VL

Tues 11th Jun

CRT (Lord's Bridge)

 

Closed event

 

Sun 16th Jun

Kingston Old Railway to Caldecote bridge

CCV

2Shire Hall 10am or Kingston Layby on B1046 TL337558 10.20am

CCV

Sat 23rd Jun

Caldecote to Toft

CCV

2Shire Hall 10am or Toft layby on B1046 TL352557 at 10.20am

CCV

Weds 26th Jun

Eversden

WT

9.30am Contact in advance

RH

Sun 30th Jun

Meridian Golf course

CCV

2Shire Hall 10am  or 4Meridian Golf Club car park TL365560 10.20am

CCV

Tues 2nd July

Bourn 

WT

Alms Hill Bridge TL325567 9.30am

RH

Sat 6th Jul

Toft Meadows (am only - on dry land)

WT

Toft Bridge TL356557 10am

RH

Weds 10th Jul

Back-up day (in case of poor weather)

WT

Contact in advance

RH

Sat 13th Jul

CRT (Westfield)

CRT

1Birds Farm, Barton 9.30am

VL

Weds 17th Jul

Bourn Golf Course

WT

3Babraham P&R 9.30am, or golf course car park TL334558 10am-ish

RH

Sun 21st Jul

Kingston Old Railway to Caldecote bridge

CCV

2Shire Hall 10am or Kingston Layby on B1046 TL337558 10.20am

CCV

Tues 23rd Jul

Bourn

WT

Alms Hill Bridge TL325567 9.30am

RH

Weds 24th Jul Eversden WT Contact in advance RH

Sun 28th Jul

Caldecote to Toft

CCV

2Shire Hall 10am or Toft layby on B1046 TL352557 at 10.20am

CCV

Weds 31st Jul

Comberton

WT

3Babraham P&R 9.30am, or contact in advance to arrange meeting at site

RH

Sun 4th Aug

Back-up day

CCV

2Shire Hall 10am or contact in advance

CCV

Mon 5th Aug

Bourn Golf Course

WT

Golf course car park TL334558 9.30am

RH

Tues 6th Aug

Bourn

WT

Alms Hill Bridge TL325567 9.30am

RH

Sat 10th Aug CRT (Westfield) CRT 1Birds Farm, Barton 9.30am VL

 

Meeting point details:
1 Birds Farm, Haslingfield Rd, Barton, CB23 7AG
2 Shire Hall outside Registry offices on Castle Street, Cambridge, CB3 0AJ
3 Babraham Road Park & Ride, Babraham Rd, Cambridge CB22 3AB
4 Meridian Golf Club car park CB23 2RY 5 Bourn Golf Club car park, CB23 2TT

Abbreviations and contact details
CRT = Countryside Restoration Trust  https://www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com/
CCV = Cambridge Conservation Volunteers https://www.ccv.org.uk/
WT - Wildlife Trust BCN https://www.wildlifebcn.org/

CCV - Cambridge Conservation Volunteers info@ccv.org.uk or tasks@ccv.org.uk
VL - Vince Lea 07944 347488, vlea@countrysiderestorationtrust.com
RH - Ruth Hawksley 01954 713533, 07545 423854, ruth.hawksley@wildlifebcn.org

About the Bourn Brook

Invasive species such as giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam have a bad effect on the brook. Both form dense stands which shade out native plants (which, in turn are better for native insects), and both die back in winter leaving bare banks vulnerable to erosion. A small army of volunteers attacks the balsam every year.  You can read a local's view of our 2015 balsam campaign here.

Bourn brook is a valuable habitat for water voles - arguably the UK’s fastest declining mammal. Loss and fragmentation of habitat are largely to blame, followed more recently by predation by American mink. Water voles have few defences against this non-native animal which can decimate their populations. We've been monitoring and controlling the mink and we've also been creating ideal water vole habitat: with lush vegetation for food and shelter, soft banks at around 45 degrees for digging burrows, and water at least 30cm deep.

In 2011, five out of 11 sections of the brook had signs of water voles. Since then the project has helped to control mink and in 2014 eight of 11 sections had signs of water vole, and overall numbers of signs had increased.  By 2017 water vole signs were present all along the brook, as a continuous population.

Eventually we hope through this project to achieve much more along the brook, including improving water quality and improving habitat in and adjacent to the watercourse. The aim is to have a properly functioning wetland ecosystem, an abundance of wildlife and storage of floodwater on flood meadows rather than exporting it downstream. Being a 'wildlife corridor', work on the length of the brook will have a greater impact than the sum of each individual's actions.

The project newsletter can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

Identifying species

More information on invasive species, and ID sheets to download

To learn how to recognise water vole signs, download the ID guide at the bottom of this page.

Contact Ruth Hawksley for more information at ruth.hawksley@wildlifebcn.org or 01954 713533.