About us Our achievements We were founded in 1928 (as Cambridge Preservation Society) to prevent the historic city of Cambridge and its countryside setting from being damaged by inappropriate development. Since that time we have: Saved the Gog Magog Hills from development and created Cambridge’s first country park at Wandlebury, which we own and care for. Purchased farmland on the western side of Cambridge to prevent it from being developed and later using some of that land to create a new countryside reserve for people and wildlife, near Coton village. Saved from demolition and restored a 17th century watermill at Hinxton. Restored and cared for one of the country’s oldest windmills at Bourn. Cared for one of Cambridge’s oldest complete buildings, the historic Leper Chapel. Helped establish and defended the Cambridge Green Belt. Saved and restored historic cottages in the village of Melbourn and on Orchard Street in Cambridge. Prevented development on Grantchester Meadows. Converted derelict stables into an outdoor education centre at Wandlebury and welcomed over 20,000 school children. Campaigned for the protection of the historic environment and helped establish and review Conservation Areas and Buildings of Local Interest. Helped to save Cambridge pubs from being sold and converted into housing. Mapped out footpaths around Cambridge before Public Rights of Way existed. Converted farmland into wildflower meadows, humming with life. Planted thousands of trees with the help of the local community. We manage Wandlebury Country Park and Coton Countryside Reserve to act as “green lungs” for the Cambridge area, providing a space for people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors, experience nature and heritage and get exercise and fresh air. Wandlebury receives around 100,000 visits during the year, including from our successful Healthy Walk programme. We are incredibly grateful to the people who gave their time and money over the past 90 years to enable us to achieve these things. As the population of Cambridge grows and the pressure on the city and its countryside increases our work is needed more than ever. We can only continue our work with the support of people like you – please help us by being a member, giving a donation, volunteering your time or leaving us a legacy. Early History In the late 1920s a group of people came together to try and preserve the historic city of Cambridge and its green setting. At that time there was not the planning system that we have today; historic buildings were at risk of being demolished and countryside built on. Our founders were concerned about what might happen to the city and in 1928 they formed the Cambridge Preservation Society. They were influential people from Cambridge University and colleges, the local council and business. They were able to use their influence and contacts to have an impact. Their immediate concern was the western side of Cambridge, where modern development was spreading out along the roads towards the villages. This area included Madingley Hill and Red Meadow Hill with their wonderful views and the picturesque historic villages of Grantchester, Coton and Madingley, as well as the River Cam valley. The Society was able to raise funds and purchase over 300 acres of farmland around the village of Coton in order to prevent the spread of development, they took out covenants on Grantchester Meadows to prevent development, they successfully campaigned against a ring road being built through Grantchester and Coton and they influenced the planning system. Their efforts meant that, by the time of World War II, the countryside on the western side of Cambridge had not been seriously damaged. You can read more about our history in a book ‘Planners and Preservationists - The Cambridge Preservation Society and the City's Green Belt 1928-1985' by Anthony Cooper £10 (contact us for copies).