About us

CambridgePPF is a small membership charity and civic society run by local people who are passionate about where they live, and interested in making places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. Working side by side with our members, supporters and volunteers we:

What we do

Historic buildings

leperWe have a number of architectural gems in our care that we open to the public. They all serve as an important reminder of the city’s past and the area’s agricultural heritage. Find out more about The Leper ChapelHinxton Mill; and Bourn Mill.

Wildlife conservation

lrAccess to green spaces is essential to the health and wellbeing of Cambridge residents and visitors. We’re passionate about creating, protecting and enhancing green places. Find out how we preserve the very best of the British countryside at Wandlebury Country Park and Coton Countryside Reserve.



We seek to influence the planning of new buildings and communities in and around Cambridge so that they are attractive places to live and work. Since 1932 we have worked alongside successive local councils, landowners and developers, discussing future developments and how best to shape them. Read about our work.

Learning and events

Group_LOWEvery year our award-winning education programme helps thousands of local school children increase their understanding of the world around them – offering them the chance to take part in practical, hands-on investigations and activities in the open air. We also run a range of relaxed, fun events for people of all ages (groups and individuals). Find out more. 

Our history and achievements


A group of local businessmen, town councillors, aldermen, masters of colleges, academics and city officials founded our organisation in 1928 – calling themselves the Cambridge Preservation Society. Concerned about post war building programmes, their aim was to create an organisation that could campaign vigorously to protect the character, setting and amenity of Cambridge as a historical city of global importance. The objective was not to be a thorn in the side of local authorities but to work with them and keep a vigilant eye on new developments. Over the years we’ve achieved a lot. Major accomplishments include:

  • Protecting Grantchester Meadows from development through the purchase of restrictive covenants in the 1930s
  • Saving the Gog Magog Hills from the threat of housing development in the 1930s
  • Instigating the creation of the Cambridge Green Belt
  • Acquiring the Wandlebury Estate in the 1950s and establishing Cambridge’s first country park
  • Being appointed guardian of the Leper Chapel by Cambridge University
  • Saving Hinxton Mill from demolition and restoring it to its former glory
  • Purchasing Bourn Mill with a cash gift awarded to the charity
  • Creating Coton Countryside Reserve – demonstrating that Green Belt land can be managed with imagination to balance agriculture, wildlife conservation and public access
  • Contributing to the 2006 Green Infrastructure Strategy to encourage the creation of additional green open spaces across Cambridgeshire.

Today our small but highly effective team remains actively involved in local planning matters, contributing to debates and discussions about how best to grow the city while retaining its special character. Our drive to create a sustainable future for Cambridge is also reflected in our conservation and education work – where we invest significant amounts of time and money.

Read more about our history in ‘Planners and Preservationists’ by Anthony Cooper. Contact us for a free copy. There are also a number of publications about the history of Wandlebury available for a small charge.

A civic society

We are a member of Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement in England. We also chair the East of England Civic and Amenity Societies (EECAS) – an informal regional cluster of active civic and amenity groups. Members of this regional body exchange information and organise meetings and seminars on topics of interest to their members. EECAS meets every two months. EECAS_minutes_160414

Meet the team


The CambridgePPF team is made up of a small number of professional staff, ably supported by a loyal body of volunteers that generously lend us their time and specialist skills. The charity’s senior executive body is the Board of Trustees – who serve as Company Directors with full decision-making authority. CambridgePPF employees, in cooperation with volunteer-led committees, undertake the detailed business of the charity. These committees meet every two months and report regularly to the board of trustees.


Ros Aveling


Ros Aveling is an ecologist working in the not-for-profit sector, currently as Deputy Chief Executive of Fauna & Flora International, where she leads their collaborations with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and United for Wildlife as well as focusing on fundraising and communications. Ros has served on the British Government's "Darwin Initiative" and a variety of corporate governance mechanisms, developing conservation partnerships with government, business, academic institutions and local groups around the world.

Pamela Abbott

Pamela is Director of Programmes at the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Prior to this as Natural England’s Area Manager for Norfolk and Suffolk, she had responsibility for the management of 15 National Nature Reserves and the implementation of the England Coast Path. She was Chair of Cambridge Conservation Forum from 2009 to 2013, founding the CCF Women in Leadership Network in 2013. Whilst Head Gardener at New Hall (Murray Edwards College) in the late 1980s, Pamela introduced gardening for wildlife and taught ecology courses in the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden.

Michael Allen OBE

Michael worked in adult and continuing education, in University teaching and administration, latterly as Director of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge, Bursar and Director of Studies in English at Churchill College. On retirement he became involved in regional matters with East of England Environment Forum, East of England Regional Assembly (1999 to 2010). He served on the National Trust’s Regional Committee, the Regional Advisory Committee for the Forestry Commission and the Heritage Lottery Fund’s East of England Committee. He retired in 2008 as Chairman of the Council of the BCN Wildlife Trust. He was Chairman of The Wildlife Trusts (UK) from 2005-2011. He chaired the working parties which produced the East of England Sustainable Development Framework (2001) and the East of England’s Environment Strategy (2003).

Chris Blencowe

Chris is an Emeritus Fellow of Pembroke College. Prior to coming to Cambridge in 2005, he spent a full career in the Royal Air Force. He was the Bursar of Pembroke College until his retirement in 2013. During this time he gained a strong interest in Cambridge Planning issues and chaired the Cambridge Colleges Environment and Planning Committee.

Paul Chapman

Paul has been a Partner of PEM, the largest independent accountants firm in Cambridge, since 1989 and was Managing Partner from 2002 - 2015. He has particular expertise in the “not for profit” sector and Cambridge Colleges and has worked closely with many conservation charities based in the Cambridge area. Born in Cambridge, he raised his family here and after working on Station Road for nearly 40 years he is very conscious of the recent pace of change and is passionate about keeping Cambridge special.

David Coomes

David is an ecologist working at the University of Cambridge, where he leads the Forest Ecology and Conservation group.  His research focuses on the development of new remote sensing tools for monitoring woodland change and using those tools to understand the processes driving change.  Before coming to Cambridge he worked for a research organisation in New Zealand, advising the government there on how to manage invasive deer and developing a national system to measure forest carbon as part of the country's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  He spends his weekend enjoying the wildlife on his doorstep provided by Coton Reserve, accompanied by a very enthusiastic dog and somewhat enthusiastic son.

Staff team

James Littlewood


James is an experienced leader of environmental charities. Working closely with the Trustees he provides the strategic lead for CambridgePPF and has responsibility for the day-day running of the charity.

Robin Barratt

Head of Admin & Finance, Company Secretary

Robin has a strong corporate background and is a specialist in IT & accounting. He is responsible for the management of the charity’s finances and the minor repair and letting of our properties. He also oversees our personnel function; the administration of our membership; and is our Company Secretary.

Mary Nealon

Head of Fundraising & Communications

Mary is a professional fundraiser and marketing expert with in-depth experience in the heritage and culture sector. Her role is varied and includes delivering aspects of the charity's strategic development plan; promoting its work; broadening member support (including patrons and corporates);  and increasing income from donations and grants to enhance what we do.

Stacey Weiser

Head of Planning & Conservation

Stacey has over twenty years’ experience in Interior Architecture and Design, Local Authority Conservation, Design and Planning and work with a national charity managing a grant project. Her role includes planning and heritage input, providing professional advice and support to the charity’s Planning Committee and Heritage Working Group, coordinating city-wide partnership projects of importance to the Charity, including our properties.

Glenn Mulleady

Estate Manager

Glenn has worked at open spaces and nature reserves across Essex, including Harlow District Council and Epping Forest Centenary Trust working in both the local authority and charitable sectors. His role is to lead on the management of our publicly-accessible sites, enhancing their ecological, historical, cultural and landscape values.

Nicola Spurling

Administration Assistant

Nicola is experienced in events co-ordination,she has always worked in the hospitality industry and as Front of House Manager at the Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon for the last nine years. Her role includes being responsible for looking after membership, event and party bookings as well as office administration.

Warden team

The Warden team, led by the Estate Manager, looks after our green spaces, providing a dawn to dusk service 365 days a year at Wandlebury. They also look after Coton Countryside Reserve and several other smaller green spaces, in our care. They undertake a wide range of management tasks and have skills including such areas as ecological monitoring, surveying and identification, tree management, including coppicing, hedge laying, orchard pruning, DIY and maintenance. They carry out many of the day to day tasks with kind assistance from a number of volunteers


Finance committee

Advises on the financial management of the charity, its investments and assets.

Planning committee

Engaged in local planning debates to ensure that any new developments are both attractive and functional.

Properties committee

Oversees the strategic development and management of the charity's publicly accessible green spaces and buildings.

Strategic Development committee

Advises on strategy, membership and fundraising matters.

Heritage Working Group

Seeks to maintain and enhance conservation areas in Cambridge to protect the city’s historic character.

If you’d like to join one of our committees please contact us.

Reports & plans

Find out more about our work in our Annual Review which gives a round-up of each year’s work.


The CambridgePPF Strategic Plan 2008-2013 is currently under review and consultation. It can be viewed here.

A mid-term review of this plan is available here.

Volunteering at Wandlebury

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


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