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Cambridge City Council

Barnwell West local nature reserve

Barnwell West local nature reserve, Barnwell Road, Cambridge CB5 8RE

Barnwell West local nature reserve forms part of the wildlife corridor along Coldham’s Brook.

The reserve is mainly scrubland and hawthorn. We have allowed the area to grow relatively undisturbed and tried to increase the diversity and number of species that live and grow there. The geology is underlying chalk and the site is flat. A stream and drain run around the edge of the reserve.

Like Barnwell East local nature reserve, the site was previously a piggery. It was designated as a reserve in 1992.

The reserve covers about 4 hectares (10 acres).

Animals and plants

The reserve is home to or visited by a variety of rare birds – if you’re lucky you might see a kingfisher along the waterside walk.

We have focused the site management towards supporting and attracting insects as a food source for animals and birds. The site is particularly attractive for passerines (perching birds) such as thrushes, finches, sparrows and warblers.

A thriving community of water voles lives along Coldham’s Brook, which runs between the reserve and Coldham’s Common.

Our work to manage and improve the reserve

We are working to create a rich scrub mosaic with a diverse age structure and open clearings, and diverse ground and field layers.

We are working to improve conditions for the water voles and warblers that live along the brook.


You can access the site from Barnwell Road, Coldham’s Common and Galfrid Road.

The waterside grass path around the reserve is level – it is suitable for mobility aids in dry weather.

Public transport stops nearby on Barnwell Road, and there is some on-street parking on Barnwell Road.


There is a viewing platform on the brook, from which you can watch the small reed bed and adjacent scrub.