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More about Aversley Wood

Aversley is a gem of an ancient woodland in England’s least-wooded county. Perched on a high, flat-topped ridge, this Site of Special Scientific Interest boasts stunning views, plentiful birdlife, a wealth of wildflowers and what is arguably the best bluebell display in Cambridgeshire.

Aversley is part of a belt of ancient woodlands, fragments of which date back the last ice age. Wander the 5.5km of paths and grassy rides that wind among the ash, oak and field maple, and you'll be sure to catch sight of the birdlife – at least 37 species have been spotted – and the woodland rings with their song. Listen for the melodic voice of the song thrush, the shrill whistles of the marsh tit, and the mewling cry of the buzzard as it hovers over the more open areas. And if you visit in early spring, you’ll be likely to hear the drumming of woodpeckers.
 
In summer, hosts of colourful butterflies descend on the grassy rides to feed on the abundant wildflowers, including fluffy, cream clusters of meadowsweet, pastel pink cuckoo flowers, and blue-purple scabious. You’ll also see iridescent dragonflies flit across the pond. In autumn, be sure to look out for the rust-coloured berries of the rare wild service tree.

There’s archaeological interest too – the undulating landscape in the south is evidence of past agricultural use. It was created by the medieval ridge and furrow ploughing method, and dates from the 14th century when the Black Death cut a swathe through the local population, causing the land to be abandoned and nature to reassert itself.

With its rich flora, wonderful wildlife and magnificent views of the surrounding countryside, Aversley is definitely worth the 20-minute hike from the village of Sawtree. Just remember to wear wellies or stout footwear if it’s been wet.

Setting

Aversley Wood (61.58ha/152.17-acre) lies on a prominent flat-topped ridge at the western edge of the Cambridgeshire fens, south west of the village of Sawtry and close to the A1(M). Archer’s wood, also owned by the Trust, is 0.5km (0.3 mile) south of Aversley.

OS map sheets: Explorer 227 OS; Landranger 142, grid reference: TL163820

Getting there

By bus
There is a bus service between Peterborough and Huntingdon, stopping on Green End Road in Sawtry.

By train
The closest train stations are Peterborough (18km/11 miles) and Huntingdon (19km/12 miles).

For up-to-date information on public transport, visit traveline (0871 200 22 33).

By car
From the north, leave the A1 at junction 15. Follow Old North Road, taking the second exit at the first roundabout and the second exit at the second roundabout, onto St Andrew’s Way which crosses over the motorway. At the next roundabout take the first exit to Fen Lane, then at the following roundabout take the third exit and continue along Green End Road before turning left into St Judith’s Lane.

From the south, leave the A1 at junction 15. At the roundabout take the second exit, and continue along Green End Road before turning left into St Judith’s Lane.

Car parking is available in St Judith's Lane, Sawtry.

Access and walks

Access is by a walk of around 20 minutes along a grassy path from the car park in St Judith’s Lane in Sawtry.

The site has a path and ride network of over 5.5km (3.5 miles), including routes in the wood and along a public footpath adjoining the southern boundary. Paths are unsurfaced and can become very muddy and slippery during periods of heavy rain and in the winter.

Slopes are quite steep in places, although you never climb more than about 30 metres (100ft) in total.

Local amenities

Public conveniences
There are no public toilets near the woods. However, customers of The Greystones (on The Green) and The Bell (on Green End Road) can use their facilities.

Refreshments
There are pubs and a few shops in Sawtry. For a comprehensive list of nearby restaurants, please visit TripAdvisor.

Accommodation and tourist information
See Sawtry in Cambridgeshire, Visit Cambridge and TripAdvisor.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.