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Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB Cambridgeshire

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Site Details

RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes is one of the most important areas for birdwatching and enjoying wildlife in Cambridgeshire, with well over 200 bird species recorded, plus numerous butterflies, dragonflies and mammals. Originally created by extraction for the gravel industry, the flooded pits form a complex of ten main lakes; three having been designated specifically as a nature reserve.


Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB
RSPB Fens Area Office, The Grange, 20 Market Street, Swavesey, Cambridge, CB24 4QG

Contact Details

Telephone: 01954 233260


Birding Sites in the Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB Area

Prominent Species at Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB

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Additional Site Details


The entrance to the lakes is signposted off Fen Drayton Road, between the villages of Fen Drayton and Swavesey (TL353680&ar=y). From here, you can reach the two car parks at Holywell Lake (TL342699&ar=y) and Elney Lake (TL339691&ar=y) by following signs posted around the site. The guided busway is now open, with a stop right in the middle of the reserve. A cycleway alongside the busway links the reserve to Cambridge and St Ives.


There are a number of public and permissive rights of way around the lakes and two open access fields next to the Holywell Lake car park. To cover the whole complex thoroughly will take a good 3-4 hours depending on what route is taken. The site is subject to periodic flooding and care must be taken as to which paths and bridleways can be accessed.


Two car parks are provided; at Holywell Lake (TL342699) and Elney Lake (TL339691). Signposts direct you to both car parks, from the entrance off Fen Drayton Road. Cycle racks are also provided at both car parks.


Viewing screens are situated around Elney Lake and a hide overlooks Moore Lake. A manned Exhibition Trailer is on-site on weekends and through the school holidays. Information boards have been provided to give access details and free trail guides and events leaflets are available from the Elney car park and from the Exhibition Trailer.

Key Areas / Routes

Drayton Lagoon - the oldest lake, steep-sided and deep with one small island. Attracts large numbers of waterfowl in the winter. Nesting terns, on rafts, in the summer.
Holywell Lake - former settlement lagoon. Extensive reeds attract Bitterns, Cetti's Warblers and Water Rails.
Ferry Lagoon, Pond and Mere - the largest lake with many peninsulas and islands. Cormorants and Little Egrets roost in willows along the northern edge. Diving ducks in winter and nesting terns, on rafts, in summer. Newly created reedbeds and wader scrapes along the northern shore.
Swavesey Lake - small, quiet lake at the eastern edge of the complex. Marshy margins favoured by Snipe and Teal.
Far Fen Lake and Trout Pond - first lake seen when accessing the site by car from the entrance off Fen Drayton Road. Good place to look for Smew in the winter.
Oxholme Lake, Elney Lake and Moore Lake - designed as nature reserve, with many islands and inlets. Good all-round birding!

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Best regards,

The BirdGuides Team.

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British & Irish Records Archive Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB

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