RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes

RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes is one of the most important areas for birdwatching and enjoying wildlife in Cambridgeshire, with well over 200 bird species recorded, plus numerous butterflies, dragonflies and mammals.

The entrance to the lakes is signposted off Fen Drayton Road, between the villages of Fen Drayton and Swavesey (TL 353680). From here, you can reach the two car parks at Holywell Lake (TL 342699) and Elney Lake (TL 339691) by following signs posted around the site. From Spring 2009, buses travelling along the Cambridge Guided Busway will be able to stop at platforms close to where the Busway intersects with Holywell Ferry Road.

There are a number of public and permissive rights of way around the lakes and two open access fields next to the Holywell Lake car park. To cover the whole complex thoroughly will take a good 3-4 hours depending on what route is taken. The site is subject to periodic flooding and care must be taken as to which paths and bridleways can be accessed.

The complex consists of 10 main lakes; Oxholme Lake, Elney Lake and Moore Lake having been designated specifically as a nature reserve. Information boards have been provided to give access details and free trail guides and events leaflets are available from the Elney car park. A manned Exhibition Trailer is also on-site on weekends and through the school holidays.

Since the extraction of gravel began in 1953, at least 213 species have been recorded in the area with some 65 species being regular breeders. Recent highlights include great white egret, purple heron, glossy ibis, common crane, red-footed falcon, honey buzzard and whiskered tern. Bitterns are now a regular sight, with Holywell Lake and Elney Lake being the favoured sites.

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Andy Cotton