Chippenham Fen NNR is one of the best areas of fen in Cambridgeshire.
Main habitats: Peatland
Area: 117 Ha
Site map: Nature on the Map.
The reserve's habitats include beds of saw-sedge and common reed, grazed wet meadows rich in wild flowers, meadows cut for hay, chalk grassland, carr woodland and scrub, and mature woodland.
The reserve lies in a shallow peat-filled depression underlain by a thick layer of chalky marl which rises to the surface in places. The fen is fed by rainfall and springs arising from the chalk aquifier.
There are several ponds on the site and a system of dykes take water from the springs, in the south of the reserve, to the Chippenham River, near its northern boundary.
More than 400 species of wild flowers have been recorded in the reserve and it is the main British site for the very rare Cambridge milk parsley. The fen meadows are home to marsh helleborine, bogbean, wild columbine, bog pimpernel and saw-wort, together with several species of orchid, including southern marsh and fragrant.
More than 500 species of moths occur, including fen specialities such as the silver barred and reed leopard moth. Many nationally scarce and rare invertebrates have been found here, and 10 species are known in the UK only from this site.
Breeding birds seen at Chippenham Fen include woodcock, snipe, all three British woodpeckers and nine species of warbler.
The reserve can be accessed via by public footpaths, but access away from these paths is by permit only. For details, or to obtain a leaflet describing the reserve, telephone the site office on 01638 721329, or email Natural England's Enquiry Service.
A map of the reserve: (502kb) that shows parking areas, is available.
The best time to visit the reserve is between May and July, for wild flowers.
The reserve is six km north of Newmarket between the village of Chippenham and the town of Fordham.
We encourage the use of sustainable transport whenever possible.
By car, Fordham is accessed via the A142, and Chippenham via the B1085 from the A11 (A14). The nearest car parking is in Fordham and Chippenham.
Chippenham is on the route of the Icknield Way, and the reserve is accessed via public footpaths from Fordham and Chippenham.
The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local towns and villages.