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Environment and Energy


Overarching aims

To be a leading organisation within the sector in limiting negative and, where possible, having positive direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity and natural ecosystems so that the University's practical performance in this area matches its aspirations to be a global leader in conservation and food security research.


In the expert opinion of the Ecological Advisory Panel, that no construction refurbishment or maintenance work on the estate has a net negative impact on biodiversity and that, where possible, the impact is net positive.

Rural estate

The University owns approximately 65ha of woodland, including Madingley Wood - a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) - and the historic woodlands surrounding Madingley Hall. The University’s forestry and agricultural land is managed by Estate Management's Rural Surveyor. The farm and forestry land is predominately located near Cambridge, Madingley, Lolworth and Lord’s Bridge.

The University’s rural estate contains several habitats and species identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority list:

  • lowland meadows
  • lowland mixed deciduous woodland
  • sites suitable for the Great Crested Newt, Water Vole, Otter, Pipistrelle Bat, Song Thrush, Grey Partridge, Skylark, Bullfinch, Turtle Dove and other farmland birds, and Brown Hare.

Madingley Wood

Madingley Wood is an ancient woodland and one of the longest-studied ancient woods in Europe, with research records going back over 350 years. It is closed to members of the public but is used by University departments for specialist woodland research.

800 Wood

800 Wood was officially opened to the public by the then-Chancellor of Cambridge University, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, in April 2009 to mark the University of Cambridge’s 800th anniversary. The 10ha new woodland was designed to complement the adjacent Madingley Wood SSSI.

A variety of native tree species were selected, including ash, oak, and hazel. A woodland public footpath in the shape of a figure of eight runs through the wood, and the woodland has been designed to retain views east across to Ely as the trees mature. 800 Wood contributed 50% towards the county’s Local Habitat Action Plan which aimed to create 20 hectares of new woodlands by 2010 to link up to ancient woodland clusters.