The Trust has recently entered into an agreement with Tarmac for the creation and management of a large, new community nature reserve between Maxey and Etton.
By contrast to the intimacy of Swaddywell, Etton Maxey Pit is a huge open landscape of around 34 hectares – the equivalent size of about thirty football pitches.
However a similar number of habitat ranges exist (and geological ranges too – it is also a RIGS site due to the post-ice age complexities).
We can vary the background water level by controlling the pump which extracts into Maxey Cut. This translates into wet areas managed as home and breeding ground for waders (lapwing, redshank and little ringed plover), some drier areas home to skylarks, and a wooded area which this year was a “purple haze” with thousands of pyramidal orchids.
All are shared by a brown hare population – up to four have been seen, with amusing encounters with sheep and between leverets and sizeable young waders.
There are water inflows from the surrounding areas (W and NE) which feed a network of reedy ditches and the main lake. This in turn attracts migrating birds following their paths along the Welland Valley, and insects throughout the summer. Water Vole were seen in summer 2017, but we do not know enough yet about their location and numbers, and there has been no evidence so far this year.
Access to the site is by a permit scheme only, administered by the Trust. This is essential as the site is part of a working quarry and Tarmac and Langdyke have to ensure that health and safety rules are in place and observed and that consideration is given to the operational needs for Tarmac to comply with its planning obligations as controlled by Peterborough City Council.
Dogs are welcome, but should be on a lead at all times.