Sheep’s Green and Coe Fen reserves sit on the south bank of the River Cam, in west Cambridge.
They were traditional grazing sites for sheep and cattle, and Charles Darwin is said to have conducted many beetle surveys on the site.
In wet weather you can see the patterns of ancient streams meandering across Sheep’s Green. The land is a flood plain and is prone to flooding events.
You can often see herons, kingfishers and little egrets on the reserves, despite the proximity to the city centre.
Water voles are thriving along the riverbanks, and pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bats are both common on the sites at night.
The spectacular veteran willow trees provide a nice spot of shade from which to watch the wildlife.
The cows that graze the sites eat the more common and vigorous plant species, allowing other rarer and delicate species to grow and increasing diversity.
The cows use their tongues to graze, wrapping it around plants and grass to pull it up. This and their trampling the ground as they move around creates different plant heights and microhabitats within the grassland.
Numerous species of insects are attracted to the cows’ dung, and they in turn provide food for birds and bats.
You can access the reserves from Fen Causeway, Lammas Land, Mill Lane and Trumpington Road. You can park nearby at Lammas Land car park.
There is a firm, level path around the sites, although it can be hard to use in wet weather.
There is a café and public toilets nearby at Lammas Land.