Ufford Parish Council

Castor Hanglands

Location: 3 km north of Ailsworth village, 3 kms south east of Ufford and 7 km west of Peterborough.

Castor Hanglands

Castor Hanglands

Parking: Use the Southey Woods car park on Langley Bush Road. There is no public transport.

Access: cross the road and follow the track alongside the first drain as far as the entrance to the Reserve on the right. There is also limited roadside parking on the Ailsworth Road. Horses and cycles are permitted on the public bridleway which runs from north to south through the site. The paths can be muddy in winter.

Status: it is a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

 

Habitats:

Ailsworth Heath at Castor Hanglands

Ailsworth Heath at Castor Hanglands

Ancient woodland, part of the historic Forest of Nassaburgh. Look out for the fine old oak trees and the under storey of hazels, formerly managed by coppicing. There is a ground layer of bluebells in April. There are many rare beetles and other insects.

The open areas, mainly on the limestone and known locally as “heaths”, are the remains of the old Ailsworth Heath. In the middle ages this was ploughed and you may be able to detect signs of the former ridge and furrow cultivation. Perhaps the Black Death was the cause of the population decline and the end of cultivation.

The rich variety of grasses and wild flowers is the result of centuries of grazing by sheep. Look out for the cowslips, rock roses, harebells and hay rattle.

Dense patches of scrub, such as blackthorn, are home to the black hairstreak butterfly and are important breeding grounds for nightingales and other warblers.

The wetland includes spring-fed ponds, which support great crested newts and many different dragon flies as well as marshy areas, which are carpeted with orchids in spring.

For more information and maps, look at Castor Hanglands on the internet and this will point you to:

www.naturalengland.org.uk

Castor Hanglands Wikipedia

Walking Peterborough which includes a map.

There are several other websites.