Peterborough Stepping Stones

Peterborough Stepping Stones Project - Hampton Nature Reserve, Orton Pit © Buglife

The Peterborough Stepping Stones project has helped secure the future of the areas highly threatened biodiversity by restoring 25 hectares of brownfield habitat in Peterborough.

Populations of 7 UK BAP Priority invertebrates and reptiles, and a further 40 invertebrates listed in the Red Data Book (including the Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Large Garden Bumblebee, Jumping Weevil, Common Lizard, Grass Snake and Slow Worm) have all benefitted from the Peterborough’s Stepping Stones project.

Buglife worked with project partners Froglife, O&H Hampton, Phillip Parker Associates and Hanson Brick to learn more about the wildlife found at the Hampton Nature Reserve and the Whittlesey Brick Pits, by carrying out wildlife surveys, habitat management and public engagement to raise awareness of these important wildlife areas.

Hampton Nature Reserve

Orton Pit forms part of Hampton Nature Reserve managed by Froglife, on behalf of O&H Hampton. Orton Pit is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and an SAC (Special Area of Conservation), which denotes its international importance.

Extensive clay extraction carried out between the 1940s and 1990s has created a series of linear pools and spoil heaps. This varied topography now supports a mosaic of habitats including short sward species rich grassland, rough grassland, scrub, aquatic vegetation, pools and ponds.

These habitats created as part of the brick-making process, now support a wide variety of wildlife including water beetles, dragonflies, butterflies and bees; great crested newts and rare aquatic plants – bearded stoneworts.

The main habitat management task on the reserve is to control the amount of colonising scrub to maintain the open habitat structure.

Whilst scrub is an important element of the habitat mosaic it can become dominant and encroach on the species rich grasslands and shade many of the pools and ponds.

Please visit Froglife for further information about Hampton Nature Reserve.

Wildflower rich grassland_Hampton Nature Reserve © Buglife Wildflower rich grassland_Hampton Nature Reserve © Buglife

Whittlesey Brick Pits

Similar to Orton Pitt, the history of the Whittlesey Brick Pits is clay extraction and brick making dating back to the early 1900s.

Buglife worked closely with Phillip Parker Associates in 3 distinct areas: King’s Dyke Nature Reserve, Bradley Fen and Central Pit North No 2; which all form part of the Whittlesey Brick Pits complex.

The 70ha Kings Dyke Nature Reserve alone supports approximately 2000 species of invertebrates including 23 species of butterfly and 19 species of dragonfly. As well as invertebrates the reserve is nationally recognised as an excellent site for birds, fossils and flora.

Buglife carried out a range of habitat management including wildflower meadow creation, and grassland management (cutting and collecting arisings) to improve species diversity, selective scrub clearance. We also created numerous ponds, ditches and shallow scrapes providing habitat for aquatic invertebrates and terrestrial invertebrates with aquatic life stages such as dragonflies and damselflies.

Please visit the Kings Dyke Nature Reserve web page for further information about the reserve.

Meadow creation work at Whittlesey Brick Pits Meadow creation work at Whittlesey Brick Pits

The Peterborough Stepping Stones project was funded by WREN.  Project partners included Froglife, O&H Hampton, Phillip Parker Associates and Hanson Brick.

Help us to stop the extinction of invertebrate species

Become a member

From £3 per month, membership directly supports our vital conservation work. In return you receive member benefits and our bi-annual Buzz magazine.


Donate to support us

Our work would not be possible without your support. Bees and other invertebrates need help to reverse the catastrophic declines in their numbers. Please donate today and together we can restore vital habitats and rebuild strong populations of invertebrates in the UK.

Make a donation today

Engage with our work

Follow us on the social networks, or sign up to receive our email newsletter so we can keep you up-to-date with our work.