Coton Countryside Reserve

Covering more than 300 acres (120ha) of pasture and agricultural land, Coton Countryside Reserve offers quiet recreational opportunities for local people within a working farm environment. Managed to enhance the local landscape and benefit wildlife, it’s a great place to experience the changing seasons with wildlife habitats, a hilltop picnic area, panoramic views, and routes for walkers, cyclists, runners, disabled people and horse riders that link to adjacent public footpaths and bridleways.

Visitor information
7 days, dawn to dusk
Car parkPicnic siteDogs on leads welcomeDisabled access through most of the siteWalksDisabled access through most of the siteInformation point


Opening hours and getting here

Open: From 9am to 6pm during British Summer Time (end of March to end of October). From 9am to 4pm during winter (early November to end of March).

Location: Post code CB23 7PZ or Ordnance Survey grid reference: TL 414577GB.

Admission: Entry to the reserve is free of charge as are many of the guided walks and events held on site. However, donations to support the enrichment of the reserve are appreciated.

Parking: Free parking is available in the Martin Car Park. Approach the reserve along Grantchester Road; ¾ mile from the M11 / Barton Road junction and you’ll see the car park on your right hand side. Gates may closer earlier from December to March. Please check notices on the day. Keep your vehicle safe on site. Do not leave any valuables on display. NB: If the gates are locked and your car is left on site, we may not be able to unlock the gates until the next morning.

Other modes of transport: Visitors to Coton Countryside Reserve are encouraged to use sustainable modes of transport. If you are travelling on foot there are public paths fromWest Cambridge, Newnham, Coton and Barton. By bike use Coton Footpath (Harcamlow Way or Wimpole Way); cycle racks are available at both main entrances. By bus, use the Citi 4 service (Camborne bus, stop at Coton turn); or use sightseeing bus and then walk along main road through the village.

Park rules: Download a copy of our Reserve rules,  and our new dog guidance which help to keep this special green space a happy safe place for visitors and wildlife.

What's on

History of Coton Countryside Reserve

In the 1930s, using money from a legacy provided by Professor George M Trevelyan, CambridgePPF acquired farmland at Coton to help prevent urban sprawl. Immediate steps were taken to improve the landscape but work halted with the onset of World War II. In the years that followed the charity turned its attention to acquiring and improving land south of Cambridge in the Gog Magog Hills – now Wandlebury Country Park.

In the late 1990s CambridgePPF turned its attention back to Coton, gaining planning permission to create a new reserve. Financial support was received from Marshalls of Cambridge Ltd and grants were obtained from central and local government, the University of Cambridge, businesses and individuals including Miss Audrey Martin, who left a generous legacy donation.

In 2010 a new farm tenant was appointed. Trumpington Farm Company now works the land in a wildlife-friendly way, adhering to Countryside Stewardship and Entry Level Schemes administered by Natural England. New access points and recreational routes have been introduced for walkers, cyclists, joggers, pram users, disabled people and horse riders, creating a major public green space within easy reach of Cambridge and nearby villages.

Event attendees enjoying the May evening sun

Look out for

Over the years we’ve worked hard at Coton to introduce more diverse habitats including woodlands and hedges, new hay meadows and an orchard. Look out for our new species list – coming soon.

Download our Coton Countryside Reserve map in advance to help you plan your visit.

Current consultation on proposed improvements at the Coton Countryside Reserve

Consultation – February to 11 March 2015

We recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Coton Countryside Reserve. It is time to review the site or master plan for the Reserve as we consider enhancements benefitting farming operations, wildlife as well as visitors to the Reserve.

We are about to join Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, ensuring further improvements to farming operations. This will benefit rarer farmland birds as well as insects, mammals and other wildlife. In the next 2 years the scheme will create more than 3ha of new meadows and some small woodland areas, planting more than 2,000 trees and shrubs.  The creation of two further liner orchards is planned with 60 fruit and nut trees.

We are keen to make other improvements including:

  • the completion of the Martin Car Park and provision of a public toilet – see our fundraising appeal,
  • extending the Reserve by creating an improved landscape and wildlife corridor along the Public Right of Way to Newnham (east of the M11)
  • a little later on, the first phase of a Reserve Centre – a small barn housing maintenance tools and equipment for staff and volunteers
  • further dog runs
  • a noise barrier along the M11 motorway.

For the purposes and objectives of the Reserve Purposes and operations consultationJan2015

Click for a draft master plan (phase 3)

For a draft programme highlighting priorities and initial ideas Outline programme – revJan15.

Have we missed anything?  

Your thoughts and views on a variety of topics are most welcome – such as:

  • public access and facilities
  • farming operations
  • landscape and amenity
  • wildlife enhancements
  • income generation
  • community involvement
  • educational and other activities
  • other ideas welcome?


We have an online questionnaire – please get involved – visit the link by 11th March 2015 complete the

- on-line questionnaire – click here.

– e-mail questionnaire Qs- rev 27Jan15on-line Ver- WORD us

– write questionnaire Qs- rev 27Jan15on-lineVER-WORD to Philip Robson, CambridgePPF, Wandlebury Ring, Gog Magog Hills, Babraham CB22 3AE.


Support our work at Coton

We’ve got great ambitions for Coton Countryside Reserve – a site that we’ve been working hard to improve since 2004. We are most grateful to local people who have got involved in conservation activities as we work to develop the Reserve.

With the right funding and volunteer support in place we’d like to – Appeal 2014/15:

    • Priority Scheme – a compost toilet – not having a toilet on site is one of the major constraints for visitors to the Reserve (young and old) and the proposed environmental toilet will enable more people to enjoy the Reserve – please contribute to our current appeal.
    • rustic benches, seats and picnic tables – using mostly durable oak these will be placed along principal routes through the Reserve and at locations with great views. These will be locally sourced and are handmade.
    • replacement of the old bridge over Bin Brook (Clark’s Bridge) – built just around World War II this bridge has severely deteriorated and needs full replacement. Along a popular route over the Bin Brook and it is intended that the replacement bridge will only cater for pedestrians and link two public footpaths.

… and also:

  • Create a bigger car park with 50 more spaces
  • Build a modest reserve centre with a ranger base, toilets and education rooms
  • Set up an informal fitness trail with exercise stations linking Coton village and the West Cambridge Athletic Club
  • Create more paths and sustainable access routes linking the village and local bus network
  • Introduce further information boards, directional signage and way markers
  • Make boundary improvements including reducing noise along the M11 corridor
  • Enhance the pond creating a dipping deck for schools and visiting groups
  • Expand our wildlife conservation and historical research
  • Undertake phase two of habitat improvements including riverine wildlife improvements along the Bin Brook corridor and ditches; and in the wetland area near the brook
  • Purchase additional equipment and machinery including a tractor, trailer and other accessories
  • Create a farm ranger post

We’re always keen to hear from people who can spare an hour or two of their time to volunteer; or who would like to make a donation to help fund specific projects or purchase essential items. Becoming a member of CambridgePPF also helps support the upkeep of Coton.

Latest News

Letter to CambridgePPF members from Chairman, Robin Pellew

22nd Jan 2015Education and learningEnvironmentalHistoric buildingsHistoryBourn MillCoton Countryside ReserveHinxton WatermillLeper ChapelWandlebury Country Park

Review of visitor, estate maintenance and conservation services: Dear Member, Since we re-launched the charity as Cambridge Past, Present & Future in 2009, the Trustees […] Read

Charity refutes claims that beauty spot is ‘facing disaster’

5th Dec 2014Coton Countryside ReserveWandlebury Country Park

Following an article in the Cambridge News, local charity Cambridge Past Present & Future, is today refuting claims from local conservationists that the green spaces […] Read

Charity opens new access route into Coton Countryside Reserve

23rd Jun 2014EnvironmentalFundingCoton Countryside Reserve

Local conservation charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future (CambridgePPF) this weekend celebrated the opening of a crucial new access route from Coton village into Coton […] Read

Gallery from Coton Countryside Reserve

Cambridge Past, Present & Future are pleased to be working with Cambridge design agency ibe, who kindly donated the design of this site.

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