The RSPB in Cambridgeshire PDF Print E-mail

The RSPB has four exciting nature reserves in The Fens and another at Fowlmere, in the chalky south west of Cambridgeshire.  Fen Drayton Lakes, just a few miles northwest of Cambridge, has a jam-packed events programme with something for everyone and many trails to explore.  The Ouse Washes and Fowlmere have spacious hides where you can capture the magic of the reserve.

Each of these wetlands is unique, but they all offer a variety of wildlife and walks, fresh air and antidotes to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Put on your warmest clothes and boots and visit the Washes or Fen Drayton Lakes in winter to see large flocks of water birds, including swans, ducks and coots against a stunning backdrop.

Fen Drayton Lakes is easy to reach from Cambridge: there is a request stop for the Cambridgeshire Guided Bus.  It is a great destination at any time of year, and a summer visit will immerse you in thousands of damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies.

The Ouse Washes is the winter home for thousands of whooper, Bewick’s and mute swans.  The swans roost on the Washes overnight, and flocks can be seen feeding in surrounding farmland by day.  Male ducks are at their most colourful in winter, trying to attract a mate before the next nesting season arrives; another good reason for getting out on a fine winter’s day.

Peer into the clear chalk springs at Fowlmere and walk trails through the reedbed there, surrounded by the sounds of birds, and reeds rustling in the breeze.

Many small birds will be foraging in the drier parts of all these sites, searching for berries, seeds or bugs.  These may include birds that are rarely seen in our gardens, such as skylarks, yellowhammers and reed buntings.  Fine days in spring and early summer are recommended for hearing their songs, along with summer migrants, such as warblers and cuckoos.  You can expect to see and hear common birds too, such as robins, finches and thrushes.

Just over the border into Suffolk is another fabulous fenland, at RSPB Lakenheath Fen, which complements those in Cambridgeshire.  This nature reserve has a small visitor centre, a busy events programme, and more fantastic birds.

To find out more about these nature reserves, please visit the web site:   You will find directions, including public transport, and more about what to expect at each one.

There are two local groups, which meet in Cambridge and St Ives, both providing an interesting programme of speakers and opportunities to see wildlife, and supporting the RSPB in a variety of ways.  See for their details.  Both welcome visitors to their meetings.