Nature Reserve, free entry
Cut off from the rest of the washes by a busy railway line and enclosed by parallel floodbanks - this reserve has its own distinctive habitat. The network of deep and shallow ditches host many locally and nationally rare beetles. The sandy railway embankment even has a few species you would normally only find on the brecks, possibly introduced with imported sand when the railway was built. Along the southern margin of the reserve the Back River contains nationally scarce plants such as fringed water-lily and grass-wrack pondweed. The site is very good for birds, so sit a while with your binoculars and you might be lucky enough to hear snipe, redshank and sandpipers, and catch a glimpse of a peregrine as it stirs the alarmed waders into a pulsating airborne flock.
Open all the time
Dawn to Dusk.
TL 206975 52.56246 -0.22226
In Peterborough. As for Newt Ponds, but take left at roundabout. Take right turn in to South Street at mini roundabout. Turn right at traffic lights into Coneygree Rd, then second left into Thistle Drive, and second right into Wessex Close. Turn immediately left onto unsurfaced track into car park. Walk past lock keeper’s cottage and down to edge of river. Cross over at bridge, not the sluice.