Grounds & Wetlands
Over 100 acres of parkland and wetlands
The Campus grounds are something to marvel at. The 100-acre parkland of Hinxton Hall provides a range of natural spaces, from beautifully curated flowerbeds and lawns, to impressively large trees and a Wetlands Nature Reserve.
The Wetlands Nature Reserve
The Wetlands Nature Reserve was created in 2005 to act as a natural flood attenuation mechanism and to create a new and diverse natural habitat, open for all to enjoy via a public footpath linking the Campus with the local villages of Hinxton and Ickleton.
The Reserve consists of a mosaic of habitats including ponds, grassland, woodland, hedgerow, riverbanks and specimen trees. These habitats make a valuable contribution to enhancing the local environment, as well as an important open space for people to visit.
The River Cam and riverbank form a wildlife corridor linking the Wetlands Nature Reserve to the countryside beyond. The mixture of dense bramble and scrub, open grassland and mature willows provides a varied environment for wildlife. Otters have occasionally been seen and kingfishers have nested in an exposed section of riverbank.
Grasslands rich in wildflowers provide cover, shelter and food for a wide range of invertebrates and other fauna, including amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and ground-nesting birds. Meadows are a nature conservation priority, because 98% have been lost in the past century.
One large and two smaller ponds (that seasonally merge) were planted with a range of aquatic and marginal plants. Water levels are maintained by rainfall and a pipe allowing water to flow from the river. Several wetland birds breed and use the ponds over winter including moorhen, water rail, reed bunting and snipe. Grass snakes, frogs, toads and smooth newts also breed and 15 species of dragonfly have been recorded.
The reserve is managed by a Community Conservation Group comprising representatives from Hinxton and Ickleton villages and staff members from the Campus, with strategic support from the the local Wildlife Trust and the Wellcome Genome Campus.
Naturally the grounds and Wetlands Nature Reserve are open for conference delegates to explore and enjoy.