Ponds and Water Life
Stow cum Quy Fen

A look at the Ordnance Survey Explorer map number 226 will show the area of Stow cum Quy Fen about 3-4kM east of Milton. In this area there are more than 15 long, thin ponds indicated, as well as a few smaller ponds of different shape.

The fen is a designated SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) managed by English Nature.

These long ponds are the flooded remains of Coprolite mines; the "coprolites" were extracted for use as fertilizer, and the flooded ponds are the remains. A Google search for "Coprolite pits" will yield some interesting pages if you are curious! It's an interesting area, very good for walking, and the ponds are a water feature unique in the Cambridge area.

Now coprolites generally are fossilised excreta. What was mined here apparently was a phosphorus and iron rich stratum: it was far too extensive to be true coprolites!

You can get to the fen by a short walk either from Horningsea, Lode (at the back of Anglesey Abbey or at map ref 533 630 where there is a footpath, part of the Harcamlow way) or from Quy. Possibly a good place to park (but don't tell them I suggested it!) is in the car park of Anglesea abbey - round the back of this, up behind Quy Mill is the Millstream, along which there is a delightful walk which leads onto other walks along the old railway line and across onto Quy Fen.

It's going to take a while to investigate all the pits, so, if you can help, please contact me.

Place Map RefDetails
515 627small pond
513 628Coprolite pit with great botanical interest
523 627Small pond
523 629Coprolite pit.
520 627Double pit

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Last modified: Mon, 26 Mar 2018 09:19:28 BST
Page first published 4th November 2002
Page written and © by Richard Torrens