Beechwoods

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In the 1840s these Beechwoods were planted on arable land and mediaeval plough terraces are still visible beneath the trees. Before the budding beech-leaves can cast their deep cool shade delicate white helleborines can be seen on the dry chalky soil, pushing up their flowering spikes. These orchids are usually found under beech, and this nature reserve is one of their most northerly outposts. The original beech trees are all mature, and beech-bark fungus combined with autumn gales have caused many of them to fall in recent years. Saplings have sprung up in the gaps, and the wood is now developing a more varied structure. West of the old wood, local people planted a new area of broad-leaved trees in 1992. and because this area has a greater variety of trees it will mature to provide a range of habitats to complement the old beech wood. In years with a good beech mast crop, you will see large flocks of bramblings gathering to feed on this rich food source. Please note that the wood is dangerous in high winds as the beeches shed branches also as with all these sites please observe the Country Code, take your litter home with you, keep dogs on a lead, where dogs are allowed, and keep to marked paths to avoid disturbing wildlife.

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Directions

Bus

Frequent buses to Babraham Road Park and Ride, from there walk half a mile.

Train

Nearest railway station is at Shelford.

Car

3 miles from Cambridge town centre. Take A1307, Hills Road, south out of Cambridge and turn left into Worts Causeway just past Addenbrookes Hospital. Cross the staggered crossroads and wood is visible up the hill. Park in lay by opposite wood on left.

Admission

Opening times:

Never closes

Prices:

Free

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Contact

Address: Beechwoods, The Manor House, Broad Street, Great Cambourne, Cambridge CB23 6DH, UK.
Phone: +44 1954 713500
Email: cambridgeshire@wildlifebcnp.org

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