Fen Drayton Lakes

A small, but gorgeous nature reserve with highly diversified flora and fauna. Quiet, perfect for relaxation, walking and birdwatching.

Fen Drayton Lakes

The Fen Drayton Lakes is a nature reserve close to Cambridge, UK. It consists of several lakes, small and big ones situated very close to each other. Also the Great Ouse river flows here. It is actively managed by RSPB.

The area is appropriate for plants and animals, so there is a high variety of them. There are reeds, grassy areas, bushes and wooded areas, as well all kinds of birds, fishes, insects and some domestic animals — sheep and cattle.

Although it is a beautiful area only a small number of people know about it, therefore it is very quiet and perfect for relaxation. You can easily walk or cycle on the paths and dirt roads around the lakes. There are plenty of maps and signs placed out, so it is impossible to get lost. There are benches and bird watching views at every few hundred meters to rest and enjoy the nature to its fullest.

Contrary to other nature reserves it is easily accessible by car or public transport — there is a bus stop and a car park in the middle of it. The journey from Cambridge is about twenty minutes.

There are several paths around the lakes. The maps that are placed out at almost every intersection offer detailed information. They show you the most interesting parts of the area and the route to get there.

Fen Drayton Lakes: map
Fen Drayton Lakes: map

The paths are different from each other, sometimes they are grassy, other times they are narrow or wide dirt roads. In some places you are allowed to ride a horse, too. And the whole area is cut into half by the guided busway and the cycleway that runs parallel with it. Be careful as there are quite a lot of nettles and in some areas mosquitoes will attack you.

Fen Drayton Lakes: path
Fen Drayton Lakes: path

At every viewpoint you will find an information board describing that particular area, the flora and the fauna.

Fen Drayton Lakes: information board
Fen Drayton Lakes: information board

And of course don’t forget to enjoy the views!

Fen Drayton Lakes: lake and bushes
Fen Drayton Lakes: lake and bushes

In a fenced area you may spot a few very friendly sheep. They come very close and stare at you before they hide in the shadow of a tree.

Fen Drayton Lakes: sheep
Fen Drayton Lakes: sheep

One of the most beautiful parts of the Fen Drayton Lakes is this little island, full of birds. There is a nice birdwatch just a few meters from it from where you can watch the birds without scaring them.

Fen Drayton Lakes: birds and island
Fen Drayton Lakes: birds and island

The northern part of the area is bordered by the Great Ouse river. The path goes next to the river for hundreds of meters.

River Great Ouse
River Great Ouse

This is the view from the most northern tip of the Fen Drayton Lakes. As you can see every lake is unique, some are deep, others are shallow and full of reeds and other plants.

Fen Drayton Lakes: lake and grass
Fen Drayton Lakes: lake and grass

There is a small portion of the path full of cattle. Although they are friendly and probably won’t hurt you, I find it very annoying because of the droppings they leave everywhere. In England is very common that you will find cattle on public pathways.

Fen Drayton Lakes: cattle
Fen Drayton Lakes: cattle

You will find different bird species at every lake. One of them is very popular among ducks and another one is full of swans.

Fen Drayton Lakes: swan
Fen Drayton Lakes: swan

The Fen Drayton Lakes is a beautiful and actively maintained nature reserve. It is very quiet, even on a sunny summer day you will meet probably less then twenty people. Although you can walk around the main paths in less than two hours, it is recommended to spend more time here and enjoy every little detail of nature.

Author: Előd Császár

Long-distance runner who focuses on a healthy lifestyle.