Ring's End Local Nature Reserve
Ring's End Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is what known as a ‘post-industrial habitat’ where nature has reclaimed a site previously used, in this instance as a railway line. The railway line is part of the route that ran from Cambridge to Spalding before closing in 1982. Since then a wide range of habitats have developed on the 11 hectare site runs north-south from the village of Ring's End to the Twenty Foot Drain. The main habitat type is a network of ponds, drains and reedbeds that were created as ‘borrow-pits’ when dug for material to build the railway embankment. A mosaic of long rough and short grassland and small areas of scrub have developed on the thin poor soils where the railway ballast remains. The main path through the reserve runs along the old railway embankment, allowing good views across the fen. This path forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 63.
Site is owned by the Cambridgeshire County Council and is managed by the Friends of Ring's End Nature Reserve Group. A programme of events is organised and run various events by the group throughout the year. Due to the diverse habitats a wide variety of wildlife can be seen throughout the year. Running along the length of the reserve, the track bed is composed of free-draining gravel and fine soil, which is nutrient poor and exposed. This has allowed many of the less common wildflowers (including colts-foot) to become established and is attractive to many butterflies, invertebrates and reptiles. Extensive reed beds and open water (three ponds of various sizes) sheltered by scrub create a valuable retreat for important wetland species, such as: water vole, frog, toads and newts. Notable bird species include: grasshopper warbler, reed warbler, sedge warbler and tree species including mature ash, white willow and goat willow. Ring's End is also home to stands of perennial rose bay willow herb, mugwort and other perennials.
The Friends Group was formed by a group of local enthusiasts in 2012. Their aims are:
- To preserve, protect and monitor the flora and fauna of Ring's End Local Nature Reserve.
- To maintain public access to Ring's End Local Nature Reserve for the benefit of the local community.
- To provide educational opportunities and information for the local community, particularly children, schools and youth groups at Ring's End Local Nature Reserve.
- To promote Ring's End Local Nature Reserve as a valuable community asset.
- To assist Cambridgeshire County Council in the management of Ring's End Local Nature Reserve.