Hampton Nature Reserve

Hampton Nature Reserve

The brick clay extraction formed a series of linear spoil heaps and trenches which make up a large area of the Reserve. Over the years these spoil heaps have grown over with grasses and sparse scrub and the hollows have filled up with rainwater to form 320 ponds. This private Reserve area includes a 12-hectare mature woodland named Jones’ Covert. This woodland was traditionally managed to provide cover for game, such as pheasants, for shooting.

Hampton Nature Reserve is home to a wide range of wildlife including great crested newts, slow worms, grass snakes, dragonflies and butterflies. The ponds are rich with invertebrates and a great variety of birds can be seen around the area. We also have a number of mammal visitors, including badgers, deer and water voles. Great crested newts are present in exceptionally high numbers due to the abundance of breeding ponds and excellent terrestrial habitat. Several species of stonewort are also present including the protected bearded stonewort Chara canescens. Due to the presence of protected species, the site is legally protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Natura 2000 site, and as such is a private site closed to the public.

Froglife has carried out several projects, most importantly the pond restoration project funded by Natural England which aimed to restore late succession ponds for bearded stonewort. In addition, Froglife carry out annual surveys to determine the long-term condition of great crested newt populations.

The history of the site goes back much further than brick-making – numerous marine fossils were discovered as the clay was extracted. These fossils date back 150 million years to the Jurassic period when Cambridgeshire was under the sea. Due to the abundance of fossils, the Reserve has also been identified as a Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS) in the Peterborough Geology Audit.

The site is not open to the public, but you can become involved in volunteering to help maintain the site by contacting clare.middleton@froglife.org or enjoy a visit through one of our organised events.