Brampton parish council


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Brampton Wildlife sites

Brampton is fortunate in having within its boundaries the River Great Ouse , Portholme, the largest flood plain in England and a SSSI and Brampton Wood, an historic wood dating from Norman times now managed by the local Wildlife Trust.

Portholme Meadow

This is reputed to be the largest unenclosed meadow in England. It has a rich flora with nearly 200 species of which 114 are meadow plants. Because of this it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and recognised internationally as a Special Area of Conservation as one of the best Lowland Hay Meadows in Europe. In winter, occasional flooding helps support large numbers of wintering waterfowl. In summer, it has breeding skylarks and corn buntings both species, which have declined rapidly in recent years. The continued well-being of the site depends on traditional management as a hay meadow and for grazing. Owned by the London Anglers Association and the Thomas Miller Charity, walkers are welcome but please keep dogs under control, do not light fires and leave no litter;

Brampton Wood

The wood is the second largest in Cambridgeshire. It is an ancient wood and mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It has a canopy of oak, ash and field maple and supports a rich variety of plants. In summer, there are breeding summer migrant birds including chiffchaff and willow warbler. In winter, thrushes from Scandinavia such as redwings and fieldfares feed on the berries. The rides are kept open to help conserve the large numbers of insects, including rare butterflies. The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire own and manage the wood. The Trust allows free access at all times. Please stay on the paths and keep dogs under control as they disturb the wildlife.

In addition, Huntingdon Racecourse, also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, lies partly in the Parish. This is another lowland meadow, which has medieval ridge and furrow grassland. It supports a rich variety of meadow plants including thousands of Green-winged orchids.

Photo: Huntingdon Racecourse February 2009 showing some ridge and furrow grassland Huntingdon Racecourse February 2009 showing some ridge and furrow grassland
picture Dr J Patrick Doody

Photo: Cattle and sheep grazing on Portholme, September 2011 Cattle and sheep grazing September 2011
picture Dr J Patrick Doody

Photo: Portholme Flooding November 2008 Portholme Flooding November 2008
picture Dr J Patrick Doody