11 woodland escapes in Cambridgeshire

A dark wooded area, with leaves on the ground.

We've put together a list of woodland escapes in Cambridgeshire. - Credit: David Gabrić on Unsplash

Escaping our day-to-day urban surroundings can be an important factor in de-stressing and maintaining our mental health.

A welcome break from the busy, bustling streets of towns and cities, the forests provide a sheltered and calming environment.

Cambridgeshire is blessed with a wide selection of forests, woodland and nature reserves to choose from.

With that in mind, we've listed some of the best woodland escapes from across the county.

1. Milton Country Park, near Cambridge

A pot on a fire, with logs around it.

Both water and land activities are available at Milton Country Park. - Credit: Google - By Owner

Situated to the North of Cambridge, Milton Country Park features a variety of woodland paths and lakes.

A visitor centre and café are also present on site.

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A wide range of water activities including paddle boarding, open water swimming and canoe and kayaking are on offer.

Meanwhile, on land offerings include cycling, running, walking and community activities.

2. Brampton Wood Nature Reserve, near Brampton

Treetops against a blue sky.

Brampton Wood was once felled in its entirety, but has naturally regenerated ever since. - Credit: Mark Hoogenboom on Creative Commons

Brampton Wood Nature Reserve is set 15 miles west of Brampton, near Huntingdon.

The woodland is the second largest in Cambridgeshire, and is over 900 years old.

Trees at the reserve include oak, ash, aspen, birch and field maple.

The entirety of the wood was once felled, and has naturally regenerated ever since.

3. Glapthorn Cow Pasture, Glapthorn

The entrance to Glapthorn Cow Pasture, with a path, trees and a field.

Glapthorn Cow Pasture is a site of scientific interest. - Credit: Google Maps

Glapthorn Cow Pasture is a site of scientific interest.

The location features a range of habitats, providing homes for for a mix of wildlife.

Black Hairstreak Butterflies can be seen during the summer, which are characterised by their "jerky flight".

As far as birds are concerned, nuthatch, warblers and nightingales can often be seen in the area.

4. Beechwoods Nature Reserve, near Cambridge

Entrance to Beechwoods Nature Reserve, with a metal gate and trees.

Beechwoods Nature Reserve was planted in the 1840s. - Credit: Google Maps

Planted in the 1840s Beechwoods gets its name from the beech trees which are planted there.

Medieval plough terraces are still visible beneath the trees, amongst orchids growing in "dry chalky" soil.

According to the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants, the nature reserve is one of the orchids' "most northerly outposts".

5. Fordham Woods, Fordham

A tree over the River Snail.

Fordham Wood features a number of alder trees, a species now rare in Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Bob Jones on Creative Commons

Fordham Woods is a wet valley woodland between Soham and Newmarket.

The area features a number of alder trees, a species adapted to waterlogged ground that is now rare in Cambridgeshire.

Over 90 insect species, and a variety of fungi are supported in the habitat.

Sycamores are often removed from the area, to help support the alder trees' development.

6. Manor Farm Woodland, Church End

A field with trees around the edge, and icons cut into the grass.

Woodland walks and a tearoom are present at Manor Farm Woodland. - Credit: Google - By owner

Manor Farm Woodland, in Church End near Wisbech, features woodland walks and a tea room.

This particular tea room is set in a railway carriage, and produces a range of cakes and bakes.

A five-pitch motorhome and caravan site is also on site.

The woodland has been described as "a hidden gem" by Tripadvisor reviewer Jennie D. 

7. Harlton Clunch Pit, Harlton

The gate to Rod's Walk, used to access Harlton Clunch Pit.

Harlton Clunch Pit is a 1.5 hectare area of woodland. - Credit: Google Maps

Harlton Clunch Pit, situated between Cambridge and Royston, is a 1.5 hectare area of woodland.

"Clunch" is a form of clay or chalk excavated from the pit and used as a building material.

A public footpath runs through the pit from Harlton High Street.

To reduce impact on the environment, the use of bicycles and motor vehicles of any kind has been prohibited by Harlton Parish Council.

8. Hinchingbrooke Country Park, Huntingdon

A forest floor, with leaves and a bench.

Hinchingbrooke Country Park received a Green Flag award in 2018. - Credit: Richard Humphrey on Creative Commons

Hinchingbrooke Country Park covers an area of 150 acres.

This includes a mixture of open grassland, mature woodland and lakes.

In 2018, the park received the Green Flag award, which recognises the best parks and green spaces from across the globe.

Play areas, a café and wildflower meadows are all present at the location. 

9. Ely Country Park, Ely

A field, with a row of trees to the left.

Two trails can be used to navigate the park. - Credit: jacquib19 on Creative Commons

Ely Country Park features a range of open fields and woodland.

Way markers have been placed around the location, marking two trails that visitors may take to enjoy the area.

The trails "highlight the best of the natural fen landscape including the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)".

The park also features a play and picnic area. 

10. Woodman's Way, March and Wimblington

A trail, running between two large hedges.

Woodman's Way is a country trail that runs through March and Wimblington. - Credit: Google Maps

Woodman's Way is a country trail that runs through March and Wimblington.

The trail features both woodland and open countryside.

A stretch along a dismantled railway is present, along with a look at St Wendreda's Church and the March Almshouses.

Woodland areas visited during the walk includes Eastwood, Linwood, Hatchwood and Coneywood.

11. Holme Fen, Holme

A row of trees running alongside a river.

Holme Fen is home to the lowest land point in Great Britain. - Credit: Google Maps

Holme Fen is a nature reserve covering 657 acres.

The reserve is home to "the finest silver birch woodland" and can be explored through a network of paths.

The area features the lowest land point in Great Britain, Holme Post, which is 2.75 metres below sea level.

A variety of wildlife species can be seen in the reserve, throughout the year.