Background

Mark Hill

The natural history of British towns is full of interest. The city of Cambridge includes grand buildings, new and old houses, streams, lakes, gardens, recreation areas, the river Cam, and many other features. Articles on aspects of the city’s natural history have appeared in Nature in Cambridgeshire, but there has never been an overview.

In 2015 the Cambridge Natural History Society (CNHS) decided that the time was ripe for a substantial project to fill this gap. Starting with a discussion in December 2015, the project has begun to take shape. It is non-political and will not be used as a platform to campaign on issues related to site protection or environmental benefit. It has two main objectives.

  • To create a snapshot of the flora and fauna of Cambridge City and its immediate environs in a historical context.
  • To increase public awareness of the diversity of plants, animals and fungi in the city.

The study area is an 8 km square centred on the junction of Mill Road and Covent Garden (grid reference TL460580). It is bounded in the north by the A14 and in the west by the M11. It includes Trumpington in the south and Cherry Hinton in the east. The 64 1 km squares in the study area area named according prominent features.  These are shown on the maps page: http://www.nathistcam.org.uk/map-of-the-area/

Project outputs

Recording will run to December 2019, after which books and papers will be written. Records from the decade 2010-2019 are the main focus, but earlier records will provide historical background. Videos of Cambridge wildlife, a bibliography of Cambridge natural history and a database of species records will be prepared on the way. We intend to produce one relatively long book of 110,000 words aimed at a readership with some knowledge of natural history, and another shorter book for non-specialists.

For further information e-mail nathistcam@gmail.com .

References

Fitter, R.S.R. (1945). London’s natural history. Collins, London.

Goode, D. (2014). Nature in towns and cities. Collins, London.

Trueman, I., Poulton, M. & Reade, P. (2013). Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country. Pisces Publications, Newbury.