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Castor Hanglands Nature Reserve

LOCALITY: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
DISTANCE: 1 miles (1.61 km)
FACILITIES: There & back, Parking

GRADIENT: A few ups & downs
TERRAIN: Medium
OS MAP: Wisbech & Peterborough North

Walk description:

Castor Hanglands is 3 km north of the villages of Ailsworth and Castor and 7 km to the west of Peterborough. There is car parking close to the reserve on Heath Road, which connects Ailsworth and Helpston.

Castor Hanglands NNR is where there are four distinct habitats - woodland, grassland, scrub and wetland.

Woodlands: these are primarily ash-maple and oak-hazel types, though a large number of tree and shrub species are present. Woodland birds found here include tawny owl, treecreeper and nuthatch.

Grassland: many plants typical of ancient woodland are present including wood melick, yellow archangel and ramsons. Pockets of limestone grassland support plants such as purple milk-vetch and pyramidal orchids. Other areas are neutral to acid in character; dryer parts containing herbs such as tormentil and crosswort, with wetter ground being home to marsh marigold, marsh valerian and marsh orchid.

Scrub: these plant communities are dominated by hawthorn and blackthorn. Other species include wayfaring tree, wild privet, spindle and gorse. This habitat provides food and shelter for a number of bird species including nightingale, whitethroat and blackcap.

Wetland: the site has a number of ponds and ditches. These provide additional habitat diversity and support a varied aquatic fauna, including a population of great crested newt and 18 species of dragonfly.

The area has a varied invertebrate population including rare species such as the black hairstreak butterfly. There is also an important dead-wood fauna.



Additional notes:

There is some disabled access with a private road allowing limited access to the drier parts of the reserve. Contact the Site Manager for details by telephoning 01780 752796.

The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in the local villages. Leaflets are available on-site


23/10/2007 | Walk posted by Admin Team

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