A warden of Brampton Wood is appealing for more volunteers to come forward and help protect the unique nature reserve.
George Cottam says the wood is home to more than 3,000 recorded species of animals and 340 species of plants and its history can be traced back almost 1,000 years, to the Norman conquest.
Today, the wood, which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, is managed by the Wildlife Trust together with a team of volunteers who keep conditions right for nature to thrive.
Mr Cottam, who lives in Brampton, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to live so close to a wonderful nature reserve, steeped in history, providing a home to an amazing number of plants and animals, and giving us the opportunity to walk in fresh air and tranquillity, amongst the natural world.”
The volunteer warden said that Brampton Wood was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086AD and belonged to the Norman conquerors until King John gave it to the Catholic church in 1215.
After passing from royalty, to nobility, and through several Huntingdonshire families, the wood was bought by the Wildlife Trust from the Ministry of Defence in 1992 and preserved for the nation.
The wood supports a wide array of wildlife throughout the seasons and it is also home to a number of rare butterflies, such as the black hairstreak, purple emperor and white admiral.
Mr Cottam said: “The wood is managed by a mixture of Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers, occasionally bringing in contractors. More volunteers are always welcome.
“We do a lot of coppicing, usually with a bonfire or two. We also need to keep the paths open and cut back scrub from important native plant areas. It is called the green gym, as it gives you exercise in the open air, while doing your bit for conservation, and having fun and meeting new people at the same time.”
Volunteers met every second Sunday in the month from September to March, starting at 10am. Anyone can join in but under 18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult. If you are interested in getting more information, call George Cottam on 01480 450809.