The Cambridge Nature Network identifies opportunities to double nature and increase access to natural greenspace in Cambridge and the surrounding countryside. The network covers 9,203 hectares, contains 13 Sites of Special Scientific Interest for nature and 84 Local Wildlife Sites as well as providing accessible greenspace for 200,000 residents. The aim is to halt the decline in biodiversity and enable nature to recover.

A partnership of organisations that supports a nature network has begun to form 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 Green Recovery Grant will enable the start of this ambitious long-term initiative by:
• Creating new areas of habitat with new public access.
• Trialling ecological restoration of Cambridge’s riverside commons.
• Supporting nature-friendly farming and land management.
• Engaging a wider range of people in nature-based activities.
• Stimulating and harnessing local community action.
• Building the capacity of the partnership to achieve more for nature and people.

The grant will support projects being delivered by Cambridge Past, Present & Future, Wildlife Trust BCN and Cambridge City Council. The project will be managed by Cambridge Past, Present & Future.

Our Chief Executive, James Littlewood is delighted, “this funding will enable us to provide public access to 1.5 acres of grassland next to Wandlebury Country Park and to restore its value for nature. Also next to Wandlebury, we will plant 1,000 trees on former farmland to create 2 acres of woodland. At Coton Countryside Reserve we will plant 1,000 trees to create a new area of woodland and we will provide new public access to 5.5 acres of grassland and improve it for nature.”

The Wildlife Trust BCN will take the lead on working with farmers and landowners across the network, helping them to make their own contributions to the creation of the Nature Network. Martin Baker, Conservation Manager at the Wildlife Trust noted, “Even with all the positive action planned by conservation charities and local councils, most of the land in the network will remain as farmland. Therefore helping landowners adopt more nature friendly farming will make a valuable contribution to the creation of a wilder and more nature rich countryside around Cambridge.”

Cambridge City Council will carry out work to increase nature on some of the city’s commons and green spaces, Councillor Alex Collis, Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Sustainable Food and Community Wellbeing said “I am delighted to have secured funding to progress this important partnership. The Council are custodians of some core sites in the network and we look forward to enhancing them for both wildlife and our residents”.

The Cambridge Nature Network is part of the wider ambition to double nature across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and, an ambition championed by Natural Cambridgeshire the local nature partnership, and supported by Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Combined Authority.

The Cambridge Nature Network project is funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm's-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.