Category Archives: Events

CNHS talks in November

Thursday 9th November: A biodiverse city
6:45 p.m. in the David Attenborough Building and online
Guy Belcher, Biodiversity Officer for Cambridge City Council, will talk about the City’s Biodiversity Strategy.

Thursday 16th November: Fieldwork: A Dendrochronologist’s
perspective on Science, Life, and Adventure

7:30 p.m. online
Paul Krusic will speak on the challenges of finding trees that have not been disturbed by humans, from which a pristine record of environmental change is captured in the annual variations of tree growth. Where do such forests exist and what does it take to get there? These forests are where he does his research, from the Himalaya to the
Tropics, using dendrochronology to learn more about environmental history and how it relates to climate change.

Thursday 23rd November: The life of the Cam: In sickness and in health
6:45 p.m. in the David Attenborough Building and online
Stephen Tomkins, from the Cam Valley Forum, will talk about what he has learned from trying to help improve our local river. Over abstraction and other changes have been harmful – we have a very sick river: abused by our own un-natural history. Wetland wildlife has a huge capacity to bounce back from near extinction, but that requires much more of all of us to help it improve.

Thursday 30th November: How the Andes influence Earth’s climate
7:30 p.m. online
Morag Hunter will talk about the interaction between the uplift of the Andes and carbon dioxide budgets in the atmosphere. She will describe the geology and outline the chemical weathering of the rocks found in the Cañete Basin, western Peru.

Talk Thursday 12th

Dr Mark Collins will give the first talk in the CNHS autumn programme on Thursday 12th October at 6:45 p.m.

The speaker is the author of Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World and Chair of the Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust. He will give an illustrated talk about the Trust’s conservation activities in Borneo, Bhutan, Fiji, Australia, Jamaica and elsewhere, news about an upcoming conference on the Apollo butterflies and their relatives worldwide, concluding with a detailed appraisal of the existential risks facing the British Swallowtail in the Norfolk Broads, and what options we have to keep the species safe.

This talk will be in person, in the David Attenborough Building, Pembroke St, Cambridge CB2 3QZ

It will start at 6:45 p.m. Please arrive in good time or you may not be able to get into the building.

ALL WELCOME Members free; non-members £2

The talk on Thursday 19th October will be online at 7:30 p.m.

People power for nature: the challenges and the opportunities

Peter Exley has worked for the RSPB, for over 25 years, on building peoples’ support for nature, from campaigns to communities. He is currently involved in making the charity’s 170 nature reserves more visitable. In his talk he will look at the barriers, issues and opportunities, and why understanding people is essential to saving nature, using examples of projects he has worked on, from saving seabirds on islands to creating new nature reserves in the Somerset Levels.

Online via Zoom. Members will be emailed login details nearer the time.

To be added the mailing list for events: email mailings [at]
To become a member: click here for details.

24th September field studies

There is a CNHS field studies visit to Hobson’s Park on Sunday, September 24. This is one of our monthly visits to the broad area of Great Kneighton, also known as Clay Farm. The visits are designed to record the flora and fauna of the area and to introduce it to participants.

This visit will concentrate on plant galls and lichens. There are many gall causers and the first step is to identify a plant stem or leaf that looks a bit odd. Lichens are harder to identify and we’ll probably be restricted to a few common lichens unless an expert comes along as well. We’ll also record anything else of interest that we see.

Meet at the Trumpington (Foster Road) stop on the Guided Busway (TL451547), at 2:00pm. [Note this is not the P&R stop]

We will walk through the community garden to Hobson’s Park, where we will make a circular walk. All welcome, suitable for beginners.

For those that find grid references difficult try which allows you to use other co-ordinate systems.

Autumn events

Field studies

The field studies in the Great Kneighton area,including Hobson’s Park and the Addenbrooke’s site, continue but there have been some changes to the dates. They now are:

September 24 – field studies, galls & lichens, 2pm
October 15 – field studies, fungi, 2pm
November 5 – field studies, bryophytes, 11am

Details of meeting places will be circulated to those on his mailing list by Jonathan Shanklin. To join the mailing list please email him via webmaster [at] to be added to the list. He points out that Outlook has started to reject CNHS emails as spam for several members. If you are not receiving our weekly emails it is up to you to check with your service provider and adjust your settings.

In addition to the field studies, there is a Fungal Foray at the Botanic Gardens on October 14th.

Autumn talks

These will recommence with an in-person talk, in the David Attenborough Building, on October 12th. More details will be posted soon.

Talks will then be alternately on-line via Zoom and in person. The in-person talks are October 12th and 26th, and November 9th and 23rd.

A Seasonal Social is being planned for December 7th.

Climate action via citizen science!

We have been sent information about an Earthwatch Europe event at the Five Trees Tiny Forest in Chesterton. It’s on Friday 11th August, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and the organisers say “We will be counting bugs and butterflies, measuring trees and enjoying being among the young saplings! The data collected will feed into future understandings of urban tree planting and re-forestation, ensuring best practice is rooted in science.”

The Five Trees Tiny Forest can be accessed from Fen Road or Cheney Way. The exact location is : 52°13’16.6″N 0°09’11.2″E/

The event is FREE and can be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. You can join for an hour, half an hour, or the entire event, it’s flexible and completely up to you.

For more details, and if you want to register, go to Eventbrite:

White Fen Bioblitz

On Saturday 8 th July, the National Trust are having a Bioblitz at White Fen, just north of Anglesey Abbey.

The idea behind a BioBlitz is for wildlife experts and the wider public to work together to find and identify in the area as many species of plants and animals as possible. The records collected during a BioBlitz form part of a genuine scientific survey of the area. The event is an informal and fun way for young people and other members of the public to learn alongside experts and
share and develop their enthusiasm for nature.”

From 8.00am – 4.00pm they will finding and recording wildlife with local experts and the wider public.

Activities timetable:
8am Moth and small mammal traps open.
10am Bird/Birdsong Walk
11:30am Dragonfly Walk
2pm Plants/Wildflower Walk

Access instructions (provided by the National Trust)

There is limited parking at White Fen – follow White Fen Droveway.
From B1102, drive through Lode village (Lode Road becomes High Street becomes Station Road becomes Fen Road), turn right along
White Fen Droveway (CB25 9HE) and follow to the ‘T’-junction at the end, turn right and you will come to a sign saying White Fen and
a line of bollards along the cycle path – parking is just beyond the bollards.

Why not cycle or walk to us – the Lodes Way (NCN11) crosses White Fen.
What Three Words:

Magog Down visit 15th June

On Thursday, June 15 we will visit Magog Down. Rather than concentrate on the chalk grassland, we will quickly climb the hill and look at some of the arable margins on the east side. The heatwave, drought or cold snap of last year seems to have suited many ruderal species, so we might find some of the rarer plants not seen for a while.

Meet at the noticeboard by the cycle stands at 6:30pm.

It is a relatively easy cycle ride, though there is a hill! Continue past Addenbrooke’s, the Babraham Road P&R and the roundabout and turn right about half way up the hill.

June events

The Hobson’s Conduit Trust are holding their 5th BioBlitz on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd June. It will be at at Darien Meadow, bordered by Hobson’s Brook, by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Emmanuel College. On Friday evening and Saturday morning Trustees will conduct guided walks along Hobson’s Brook and Conduit, while experts lead a programme of mini field expeditions.

The guided walk along the Hobson’s Brook, at 5pm on Friday 2nd June will be for those who wish to find out more about the Hobson’s Brook/Vicars Brook system and the problems of urban drainage.  It will be led by Dr. Steve Boreham, the expert in all local matters geological, hydrological, and ecological. Meet at Darien Meadow off Long Road. The full programme is here.

The Cambridge Flora Group have a visit to Devil’s Ditch planned for Wednesday 7th June. Details will be circulated by Jonathan Shanklin to those on his list.

On Saturday 17th June Guy Belcher and Vic Smith (Cambridge City Council Biodiversity Officers), and Iain Webb, (Wildlife Trust) will be leading a guided walk of the grassland restoration trials on Coldham’s, Barnwell, Stourbridge and Midsummer Commons. Meet at 2pm by the Cromwell Road /  Coldham’s Lane junction on Coldham’s Common, The route on foot will be a mainly off road loop between the sites. It will aim to return to Coldham’s by 4.30. People can obviously drop off or join as they wish.

The Cambridge Group of the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs & Northants have their annual visit to East Pit to enjoy the chalk grassland flowers on Monday 26th June. More information on the Trust website .

Grassland restoration

On 17th June there’s a guided walk of the grassland restoration trials on Coldham’s, Barnwell, Stourbridge and Midsummer Commons. It will be led by Guy Belcher and Vic Smith (Cambridge City Council Biodiversity Officers), and Iain Webb, (Wildlife Trust) . 

Meet at 2pm by the Cromwell Road /  Coldham’s Lane junction on Coldham’s Common and walking a mainly off road loop between the sites. Aiming to return to Coldham’s by 4.30. People can obviously drop off or join as they wish.

104th Conversazione Friday 14th & Saturday 15th April

The Cambridge Natural History Society’s annual Conversazione, takes place in person in the Elementary Laboratory of the Department of Zoology. Displays from local organisations and naturalists will be set out, in the Elementary Lab of the Department of Zoology, with most exhibitors present in person to discuss their displays with visitors.

ALL WELCOME, suitable for all ages, DO COME ALONG – admission free.

Opening times:

Friday 14th April 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Saturday 15th April 10:00 am to 5:00 pm