Operator: Aggregate Industries
This is a large complex of worked out sand and gravel pits which are nearing the end of restoration. There are extensive areas of long established lakes, often fringed by wet woodland, and a more diverse area of shallower lakes is being developed, along with reedbed areas, new wet woodland - a rare habitat in Cambridgeshire, and species-rich wet grassland. All of these areas contribute to the Cambridgeshire LBAP.
The scrub areas contain more than 25 singing male nightingales, demonstrating the quality of the habitat. Specially created islands have attracted large numbers of breeding birds, notably lapwing, redshank and common tern. The location of the site adjacent to the River Great Ouse places it on a major bird migration corridor and creates strong links at a landscape scale.
Pockets of wet woodland and reedbed complement the marginal vegetation around most of the lakes, ditches, ponds and marshes, and these habitats all support growing populations of invertebrates and mammals including water shrew and otter.
There is very strong community involvement through the Friends of Paxton Pits, which has over 2500 members, more than 200 of whom actively volunteer at the site. The visitor centre and environmental education centre at Little Paxton are well-used.
Priority BAP Species to be found at this site include the nightingale, skylark and otter.