Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits - Jenny Clark

Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits - Jenny Clark

Former chalk quarries that now provide a variety of habitats for wildlife.

Location

2.5 miles from Cambridge centre
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire
CB1 8NQ
A static map of Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits

Know before you go

Size
11 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

Park in layby opposite the Public House on Fulbourn Road.

Grazing animals

No

Walking trails

Do not climb the cliffs. Possible falling rocks; keep away from the base of cliffs

Access

Steep slopes and steps. East Pit has a level and surfaced path around part of the site.

Dogs

Under effective control

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Spring - Summer

About the reserve

These two chalk quarries once provided hard chalk to build Cambridge University colleges and lime for cement. Today they support a variety of habitats that harbour some rare plants and insects.

Quarrying finished in Lime Kiln Close approximately 200 years ago. Nature has reclaimed the site and woodland has developed; large ash trees now tower over field maples below. The cherry trees in Lime Kiln Close are descendants of trees that gave Cherry Hinton its name.

East Pit is the largest of the quarries and was worked up until the early 1980s. Standing within the pit, you are surrounded by steep cliffs of chalk that glow in the late afternoon sun. Reprofiling the base of the pit in 2009 broke up much of the solid chalk surface, which enabled wildflowers and grasses to spread and colonise the exposed chalk. Take a look at our photography record below shows how the pit has changed over the years. Wildflowers such as milkwort, harebell and kidney vetch are thriving. The rare moon carrot only grows here and at two other locations in the country (Beachy Head, East Sussex and Knocking Hoe, Bedfordshire). Annual monitoring in East Pit shows that the number of moon carrot plants is increasing.

The scrub habitat in these pits provides nesting and feeding sites for more than 60 species of bird. In 2009 an archaeological excavation was carried out at East Pit. You can download the East Pit Archaeology report(pdf) below on the excavation or read it here

This nature reserve is part of the Cambridgeshire Chalk Living Landscape  

 

Contact us

Contact number: 01954 713500

Environmental designation

Local Nature Reserve (LNR)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)