Discover & record nature and wildlife along the Old West River

Photo credit: Paul Mason

Our natural heritage, green spaces and wildlife, are under increasing pressure from environmental pressures such as new developments and climate change. The New Life on the Old West project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, delivered by Cambridgeshire Acre, will increase connectivity and resilience in the Cambridgeshire Fens, creating more than 90 habitat enhancements to the vital nature corridor along the Old West River, between two nationally important nature reserves, National Trust’s Wicken Fen and RSPB’s Ouse Fen.

Get involved by discovering and recording nature and wildlife along the Old West and in the surrounding landscape. Help us increase our understanding of the populations and distribution of our Fenland species.

What is involved?

Enjoy some fresh air and take a walk in the Old West landscape. The Ouse Valley Way follows the course of the river from Earith junction to Ely – riverside walking in gentle countryside. Use OS Explorer Maps 225 and 226 to plan a circular route.

How long you walk and where you go is entirely up to you! Its easy to plan routes based around the Cambridge – St Ives guided busway. From Longstanton, follow the Pathfinder Long Distance Walk west towards Swavesey, loop around to Over, then Willingham and Rampton and back to the busway. Or use the Pathfinder route to push on and go further – perhaps walking up to Earith along the river across from RSPB Ouse Fen, the join the Ouse Valley Way along course the Old West, then cross the river and take the Causeway Track down to Rampton and back to Longstanton.

What to look out for:

While enjoying the walk, keep an eye on farm ditches, patches of scrub and woodlands, the river and its banks, and any orchards and ponds along the way. There are loads of great species that you can spot while on your walk. To help you identify some of these while you’re out and about, check out our guide below which will help you to ID what you see and tell you about some of their features.

Share your sightings with us on Twitter @newlifeoldwest or email them to Howard Jones at Cambridgeshire ACRE and don’t forget to share what you see at iRecord.

Photo credit: James O’Shea


Download the guide

New Life on the Old West

New Life on the Old West is bringing together landowners, internal drainage boards, local communities, parish councils and heritage and conservation charities across the Old West landscape to deliver habitat improvements across farmed land and community green spaces. Running until late the end of 2023, nature events and activities, citizen science and a volunteering programme are at the heart of the project. To learn more, take part in our events or become a volunteer please email Howard Jones from Cambridgeshire ACRE. Together, we’ll inspire pride in our Fenland heritage.

Related Posts

Stories to Inspire

The Wicken Fen vision

Sarah Smith talks about making space for nature on Cambridge's doorstep.

Make a Difference

Creating ponds for nature

Ponds and wetlands being created in Cambridge for people and nature, including tips and ideas for your garden and other ways you can help.

Make a Difference

Gardening for a #WilderFuture

The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants share simple tips for making your outside space, however big or small, better for wildlife, and part of a Nature Recovery Network.