Bramblefields local nature reserve in northwest Cambridge is a quiet area of grassland, scrub and wetland with two small ponds.
The site was fen and farmland at the beginning of the 20th century, and for a while after that was used as allotments.
Today the reserve is home to a variety of birds, insects and aquatic life. It’s an ideal spot for a peaceful walk.
The reserve covers about 2 hectares (5 acres).
Animals and plants
We maintain a variety of habitats for wildlife at the reserve by coppicing trees and leaving grass to grow long. We rotate which areas of bramble we crop each year, to ensure the growth of new blackberries.
Bramblefields is home to many bird species whose populations have declined in recent years. These include bullfinches, song thrushes, sparrows and starlings. In spring, blackcaps and chiffchaffs feed on the insects that live on the extensive bramble and hawthorn. And in the autumn, fieldfares and redwings visit to feed on the bushes’ berries.
Many mammals live on or visit the reserve, including foxes, muntjac deer, and hedgehogs. Common lizards are also frequently seen.
The changes in the level of the ponds are ideal for the amphibians and insects that live and breed there. We manage the pond carefully to maintain areas of open water to benefit these species.
Our work to manage and improve the reserve
We manage the site carefully to maintain and enhance each of its distinct habitats, to provide a suitable home for all the animals that live here or visit.
We have installed and planted on a mound of recycled ceramics, which as we hoped would happen has become a haven for solitary bees and bumblebees. This is a trial and we are monitoring it to see how it works.
You can enter the reserve from Discovery Way, Laxton Way, Long Reach Road, Pippin Drive and Ribston Way.
There is some on-street parking nearby, although we encourage you to come on foot or by bike or bus.
The reserve offers flat terrain and good access throughout.