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Cambridge City Council

West Pit local nature reserve

West Pit local nature reserve, Limekiln Road, Cambridge CB1 8NQ

The undulating terrain of West Pit local nature reserve is unique to Cambridge’s usually flat landscape. The site was previously a quarry – it is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the presence of the beautiful but very rare moon carrot.

You can walk through mature woodland to chalk grassland at the top of the hill. It’s an excellent place to go for a quiet stroll just outside the city, and it offers a great view of the city when you reach the top.

Animals and plants

The reserve’s main attraction is the variety of chalk grassland plant species that you can find. As well as the moon carrot, you can see kidney vetch, wild marjoram, yellow rattle, perennial flax and more.

The chalk grassland area is located at the top of the reserve. You’ll see swarms of butterflies and solitary bees in the warmer months. Clearwinged moths are another highlight.

The woodland is home to many bird species, including song thrushes, great spotted woodpeckers and tree creepers.

Our work to manage and improve the reserve

We manage the woodland lightly, with minimal coppicing and glade clearing when appropriate.

We cut and rake the chalk grassland areas rotationally in the late summer to preserve the quality of the habitat.


There are entrances to the reserve on Limekiln Road. There is limited on-street parking nearby at Ainsdale and in the layby at the top of Limekiln Road.

The site is unfortunately not fully accessible, as there are steep steps at each entrance.