Ecology and conservation

Whilst Wintringham has historically been managed for intensive agriculture, the site does contain several important features that have been retained as an integral part of the proposals. These assets have been a key consideration when developing the core principles that drive the green infrastructure strategy for the development.

Our approach is not only focused on retaining and protecting exisiting assets.  By strengthening and creating connections between important habitats we will promote a network of green corridors for wildlife and ecology and encourage the development of target habitats that include meadows and woodlands as well as the introduction of disease resistant elm trees.

Opening up these spaces for people is a key part of making them well-loved and cared for in the long term.  The creation of safe walking and cycling routes as well as the provision of opportunities for compatible leisure activities will encourage people to experience, value and protect the natural environment around them. 

wintringham masterplan
The three principles are set out below:

Embracing the vales
  • Promoting and contributing to strategic objectives of the Cambridgeshire Green Infrastructure Strategy

  • Strengthening links to the River Great Ouse along the St Neots green corridors and wider linkages to the West Cambridgeshire Hundreds

  • Creating a mosaic of wetland habitats comprising wet grasslands, open water and wet woodlands, providing new opportunities for wetland species

  • Enrich existing linear watercourses, enhancing their landscape and biodiversity value.

Interconnected parklands
  • Creating north/south parkland linkages between the green vales and the Love’s Farm development

  • Creating a rich network of interconnected habitat mosaics intertwined with new parkland destinations

  • Reinforce the Western Claylands management objectives

  • Provide an enhanced landscape setting along Cambridge Road as part of the arrival and gateway experience towards the site and
    St Neots town centre from the east.

Integrated greenways
  • Introducing a perimeter greenway that defines the development edge and provides safe green links between St Neots, through Wintringham Park and beyond to the open countryside

  • Establish multifunctional green corridors for enjoyment and wildlife connectivity

  • Promote key vistas to the Church of St Mary the Virgin

  • Strengthen vegetation cover along the site’s edges, particularly along the railway line and A428, to provide an appropriate transition from the urban edge of St Neots to the countryside and so en development edges.

The application includes proposals for specific initiatives to address particular species or habitats on site. This work incorporates comments and suggestions from local and regional groups and uses their expert local knowledge to help create a rich and diverse ecology offer.
The retention and enhancement through management of Hen Brook and Wintringham Brook is a particular focus and will support a number of existing and potential species, including otter and water vole.
Another clear focus for historic and ongoing ecological interest on site is the Railway Field area. The Wintringham team will work with local groups to take this area into a programme of targeted long-term management. This process will reverse the ongoing gradual decline of this area through considered initiatives that may include the planting of Elm thickets and the development of species diverse grasslands that in turn provide habitat and forage for species including the White-spotted Pinion Moth, White-Letter Hairstreak Butterfly and, of course, the humble Honey Bee.

The Railway Field also includes some varieties of Orchid – Bee, Pyramidal and Common – and the team are planning to test the potential for translocating these species to other areas of the site as well as retaining them in situ.

Our approach to the Railway Field demonstrates the team’s focus on putting a forward-thinking conservation and biodiversity strategy at the heart of the Wintringham vision.