Nature in Cambridge has received a boost thanks to a grant award of £425,000 from Natural England’s Nature Recovery Programme. The grant is to support the delivery of the Cambridge Nature Network which was launched in May. The funding will pay for 18 projects that will increase biodiversity.

The Cambridge Nature Network identifies opportunities to double nature and increase access to natural greenspace in Cambridge and the surrounding countryside. The aim is to halt the decline in biodiversity improve climate resilience and enable nature to recover, while benefiting public health, wellbeing, and the economy.

The grant is being managed by local charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future. Their Chief Executive, James Littlewood is thrilled:

the Cambridge Nature Network vision is for significant areas of downland, fens, meadows and woodlands, where nature can recover and thrive and where people can experience a wilder countryside and nature on their doorstep. This can only happen if everyone works together towards that shared vision. So, we are delighted that Natural England is supporting 18 projects to help kick-start the Nature Recovery Network. Each of these projects will create new or better habitats for nature and they range from converting 150 acres of farmland in the Gog Magog Hills, to expanding country parks and nature reserves, to small projects on school grounds in the city. The range of organisations and people involved in these projects is really inspiring, as well as Natural England it includes local charities, local councils, community groups, local landowners, schools, contractors and individual people helping to plant trees and sow seeds.

The grant is supporting a wide range of projects including:

  • Restoring 58 veteran Willow Trees at Sheep’s Green in Cambridge (Cambridge City Council).
  • Planting trees to create a new woodland belt next to Logan’s Meadow Nature Reserve in Cambridge (Cambridge City Council).
  • Creating 20 acres of meadow and planting 2,000 trees as part of an expansion of Wandlebury Country Park to the south of Cambridge (Cambridge Past, Present & Future).
  • Planting 2,000 trees to create 4 acres of woodland between Coton and Madingley on the western edge of Cambridge (Cambridge Past, Present & Future).
  • Planting 400 trees to create a new area of woodland at Coton Countryside Reserve on the western edge of Cambridge (Cambridge Past, Present & Future).
  • Creating 10 acres of new meadow on farmland near Barton (Wild Farms Trust).
  • Creating 150 acres of new meadows, scrub and woodland at Lower Valley Farm in the Gog Magog Hills to the south of Cambridge (Cambridgeshire County Council).
  • Working with five schools in Cambridge to improve their school grounds for nature (Cambridge On the Verge).
  • Creating 7 acres of new meadow next to Fulbourn Fen Nature Reserve to the southeast of Cambridge (Wildlife Trust BCN).
  • Improving habitat in the Bin Brook and its ditches near Coton to the west of Cambridge (Norfolk Rivers Trust).
  • Improving habitats in and around the villages of Histon & Impington (Histon & Impington Parish Council).
  • Habitat improvements on the Roman Road and encouraging landowners to help nature at Roman Road, Devils Dyke and Fleam Dyke to the southeast of Cambridge (Cambridgeshire County Council).
  • Two community projects in Cambridge parks and open spaces (Natural Cambridgeshire).

John Torlesse, Natural England Area Manager for West Anglia said,

I’m really pleased that Natural England is able to support the Cambridge Nature Network. The natural environment in Cambridgeshire has become greatly depleted. It is crucial that we work together to put back wildlife into our lives, and to create more places where those who live and work in and around Cambridge can experience nature and all it offers us. This excellent project is doing just that by creating more nature on a really ambitious scale and helping us all meet our goal to ‘double nature’ across the county.

Added to another seven projects which are being funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge, there are currently a total of 25 nature recovery projects underway in the Cambridge area. Further information about all the projects can be found at 

Work on some of the projects has been taking place over the winter and 4,000 trees have already been planted by volunteers.

A partnership of organisations is supporting the Cambridge Nature Network including Wildlife Trust BCN, Cambridge Past, Present & Future, National Trust, RSPB, Cambridge Sport’s Lakes Trust, Magog Trust, Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

The Cambridge Nature Network is one of 6 large scale nature networks seeking to recover nature for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough which are being promoted by Natural Cambridgeshire (the Local Nature Partnership).