Somersham Local Nature Reserve

Somersham Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is a wonderful example of how nature reclaims places if left alone. This is part of the railway line from Cambridge to March, built in 1848 for the transport of coal and agricultural produce before closing in 1967. The white gates at the Station Approach entrance are a reminder of the old level crossing that one stood here as well as a bridge across the Chatteris Road. The old station buildings were transferred brick by brick to the William McAlpine Estate in Oxfordshire.

The nature reserve, 12 hectares, and is home to a wide variety of wildlife and includes areas of woodland, grassland and wildflower meadows, a lake and wet woodland. The disused railway line is designated as a County Wildlife Site to recognise the importance of its neutral grassland within the county.

A path runs around the lake and there is a section of the Somersham to Chatteris disused railway line that runs through the middle of the site.

The site is jointly owned by Cambridgeshire County Council and Somersham Parish Council and is managed by the Somersham Nature Reserve Friends Group. They hold volunteer work parties all year round and carry out management activities such as cutting back scrub and bramble to encourage grassland habitat, coppicing trees around the lake to improve water quality and keeping the paths clear.

Grid Reference



A wide variety of wildlife can be seen throughout the year.


  • Look out for butterflies such as brimstones and orange tips.
  • Look out for common toads and frogs.
  • Listen out for song thrush and chiffchaff.


  • Look out for common blues and Essex skippers in the meadows. Speckled wood in the wooded areas.
  • Look out for grass snakes and common lizards basking in the sun along the old railway line.
  • Watch common terns, great crested grebes, heron and kingfishers around the lake. Listen out for Willow Warbler, lesser whitethroat and turtle dove.
  • Wildflowers such as: St. John's-wort, red bartsia, toadflax and purple loose strife.


  • Look out for red admirals, tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies.
  • Look out for moorhens, coots on the lake and green woodpeckers in the open grassland areas.


  • Look out for shoveler and tufted ducks on the lake. Listen out for jays in the wooded areas.
  • Look out for different types of fungi throughout the nature reserve.

Meet the Friends Group

The Friends Group was formed by a group of local residents in 2008 with aims to:

  • preserve, protect and monitor the flora and fauna of the nature reserve,
  • maintain public access to the nature reserve for the benefit of the local community,
  • provide educational opportunities and information for the local community, particularly children, schools and youth groups,
  • promote the nature reserve as a valuable community asset,
  • assist Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and Somersham Parish Council (SPC) in the management of the nature reserve.

Friends of Somersham Nature Reserve do not charge membership fees. Anyone listed on the group's mailing list is considered to be a member. Email to join or visit their Facebook page.

Their meetings are open to everyone with an interest in the nature reserve or its surroundings.

Who to contact

Scan to visit this website

Where to go

Somersham Local Nature Reserve
Station Approach

PE28 3JD

View PE28 3JD on a map


Somersham is a village situated about 5 miles north of St Ives. There are two main entrances to the site; off Springfield (postcode PE28 3ED) which takes you straight onto the lake and off Station Approach (postcode PE28 3JD) which takes you straight onto the railway line. The grid reference for the reserve is TL366781.

Access to the reserve

The site is open all year round to visitors and there is no charge to use the site. 


There is a surfaced path around the lake, suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The other paths on the site are varied and can become wet and muddy in the winter. 


To fish at the lake you must be a Somersham resident and be a member of the angling club.


Age Ranges
1 - 99 years


Save to shortlist
Disclaimer Is this information correct?
Skip back to top of page