Village has historic links to William the Conqueror

Little Paxton has historic links and great community spirit.

Little Paxton has historic links and great community spirit. - Credit: ARCHANT

Little Paxton is one of those communities which does not really live up to its name - it is far from being a small village and, surprisingly, is considerably bigger than nearby Great Paxton.

The village is close to the edge of St Neots and has benefited from the increasing demand for housing in the area and much of the expansion began in the 1970s - bringing new life to the community.

Gravel quarrying has been a part of life in Little Paxton since the 19th Century, although large-scale extraction of material was not started until the 1940s.

The village has a public house called The Anchor.  There is also a fencing company, a tool hire and a conservatory village. On the edge of the village, a derelict industrial site that used to house a paper mill has been redeveloped to provide modern housing on an island in the middle of the River Great Ouse, between the lock and the weir stream.

Little Paxton's Queen Elizabeth Playing Field has two football pitches, a cricket pitch and a floodlit multi-purpose games area.

A variety of water sports, including waterski, jet ski, and sailing are available on the lakes at Little Paxton. With suitable permits, fishing is allowed in some of the gravel pits and on the river Great Ouse in Little Paxton.

The gravel pits coming to an end of their life and the creation of the reserve have played a key part in Little Paxton’s improved prospects, with the site proving to be an attraction, not only for villagers but also bringing in visitors from outside the community who enjoy the wildlife as well as the activities put on by the reserve team.

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Unlike many other local communities, Little Paxton was not named in the Domesday Book but was lumped in under Great Paxton, then the much larger village, with 69 households which was considered large for the period, three mills and a church.

William the Conqueror’s niece Countess Judith owned the land in the Little Paxton area and there were a number of fisheries on the Great Ouse which can be traced back to 1544.

Village Notes Paxton Pits Nature Reserve 

The nature reserve opened in 1989, taking advantage of workings which had become exhausted, providing lakes and woodland which, together with the adjacent Ouse floodplain, have formed a natural habitat for wildlife, including cormorants, nightingales, grebe, duck and geese.

Paxton Pits Nature Reserve.

Paxton Pits Nature Reserve. - Credit: ARCHANT

It provide a rich mosaic of wildlife habitats, with beautiful lakes, riverside, meadow, reedbed, scrub and woodland. It is open for visitors all year round. 

Famous for its nightingales and cormorants – and host to a wide variety of other birds, insects, mammals and flora – you’re sure to have a great experience whatever time of year you visit.

The Visitor Centre, which is normally open for for refreshments, books and friendly expertise, is currently closed. The toilets are open every day from 11am-3pm.

The nature reserve is managed by Huntingdonshire District Council in partnership with the Friends of Paxton Pits. It relies on you, its visitors and enthusiasts, for raising funds to improve the facilities and habitats for wildlife.

The Reserve is also home to the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire’s Environmental Education Centre. The Trust runs events for children and families, giving everyone the chance to get involved with wildlife whatever their age.