Nature recovery

Work on the Old Rec, Broad Lane, 2024

Under the supervision of Employee Volunteering, volunteers from Astra Zeneca weeded and mulched the new hedge around the ponds on the Old Rec, Broad Lane. The photo on the left shows the level of weeds they cleared and the one on the right gives an idea of how much clearer the area around the hedge was afterwards.

Nature recovery activity around Cottenham 2023

Earlier this year we were greatly saddened by the death of Cllr Dr John Loveluck who led Sustainable Cottenham’s Nature Recovery group from its formation in 2020. Under his leadership the publicly owned green spaces in Cottenham thrived and new activities were initiatived.

  • Crowlands moat on Tenison Manor has great crested newts, mature trees and wild grass areas. Reed clearing with volunteers from Sustainable Cottenham and the Scouts has increased the open water habitat favoured by great crested newts for breeding. A count in April found that the newt population was thriving.
  • A series of seasonal ponds have been created on Cottenham Parish’s Old Rec on Broad Lane to suit birds, amphibians and invertebrates. The ponds were designed by Natural England, created by New Life on the Old West (NLOW) and funded through the National Heritage Lottery fund. Local volunteers undertook hedge planting to provide a barrier and further habitat improvement. The vagaries of the 2023 season led to an excessive growth of sow thistle on the disturbed ground during the summer but wildflowers have been sown and it is hoped that the new pond plants and wild flowers will do better next year.
  • The Parish-owned WARG Field on Histon Road has wildflowers, grasses and bee orchids, as well as apple trees, and a newly hand-dug pond funded by The National lottery.
  • The Parish Council’s mowing policy has been changed to leave certain areas uncut in summer to allow plants to flourish.
  • A small area of the Village Green has been sown with wildflowers and managed to encourage proliferation in future years.
  • Fen Reeves Wood on Twenty Pence Road is former agricultural land owned by Cottenham Parish Council. It is being managed for nature and improved access, with bulb planting, coppicing, path clearance, and bird box installation, undertaken by Sustainable Cottenham volunteers and the Scouts, with plants, tools, and additional volunteers provided by the NLOW project.

Our next task is to prepare a Nature Recovery Plan. If you are interested in being part of the team, contact

Update Summer 2022

WARG Field (entrance between 118 and 114 Histon Road) has been looking great with the Parish Council’s new mowing policy, despite the cold, dry spring. The yellow hawkbit has provided most of the colour but, nestling away among the wild flowers and grasses, the bee orchids flowered for the first time in many years. The 3 new apple trees are bedding in well, but will need careful monitoring and watering over the summer. Please keep to the mown areas to avoid trampling the flowers, but do go and have a look – by foot or by bike as there is no public parking at the site.