Dark sky over Magog Down

Top Resources

Car Park Opening Times

CURRENT: Summer opening:
beg April - late October    8am - 8pm

Winter opening:
late October - mid February:  8am - 5pm

Spring opening:
mid February - end March      8am - 6pm

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Annual Car windscreen stickers

All current Members and Friends are entitled to an annual car windscreen sticker declaring "I'm a Friend of Magog Down". These stickers have been helping us when we monitor the car park to determine how many of the thousands of visitors every month actually contribute to the upkeep (the answer was: very few!)

The current 2018-19 stickers entitle holders to free parking (charging started on 2nd January 2019). Do get in touch if you think you should have one but have not received it, or have lost it.

Bag it and Bin it!

There are ten bins for dog waste dotted around the site, and these are emptied by our contractor twice a week. The contract does not include picking up "stray" poo from the paths - we rely on responsible owners to bag and bin it themselves.

Courtesy of DogsTrust: "Scooper Hero" poster competition winner

Thank you for taking the time to place your own dog's poo in these bins, and thus helping to keep the paths clear for all visitors.

25 years on - how it began

The project started in 1989 when the land came on the market; the price of the land was £327,000. The Magog Trust was formed, and purchased the land in September 1989; it then initiated a programme of reclamation and development for long term conservation and recreation.
... Now, with average annual expenditure in the region of £90,000, continued support is required so that the work goes on...For much more on the history and background, go to 'About'

DO YOU KNOW THE RULES?

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So many people make regular use of the free Permissive Open Access on Magog Down, it is easy to forget that the whole area is privately owned, and access is permitted only within certain rules.

Why not read through the Rules of the Down before your next visit? (And see more detail here about recent changes). We also now maintain an FAQ to help in answering some common queries.

New Patron for The Magog Trust

The Trustees of The Magog Trust are delighted that Dr Robert Macfarlane, Fellow and Reader at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, has accepted their invitation to become a Patron of The Trust. 

robertmacfarlane_180Dr Macfarlane teaches widely in the English Tripos, chiefly in relation to ideas of landscape, nature, people, place and environmentalism. He is well-known as a writer, with prize-winning and bestselling books about landscape, nature, memory and travel including The Old Ways, The Wild Places, The Lost Words (with Jackie Morris) and Underland. The Gog Magog Hills and Magog Down are a landscape he loves, and about which he has written, and we are honoured that he has agreed to support The Magog Trust through his patronage.
Photo credit: Elly Lucas

Information for new Friend applicants

Please allow up to three weeks for postal delivery of your car stickers
- but expect an email within five days, and check your Spam if not seen.
PLEASE CONTINUE TO PAY AND DISPLAY UNTIL WE HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED.

We've had a huge number of applications since the car park charging went live in January. It's amazing to realise how many people visit Magog Down often enough to want to become Friends, and we continue to process applications in the order received. The Admin 'team' consists of just one person, so please be patient!

If you have not heard from us by email PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM!
We know that often our messages get filtered out, even when it is a simple reply, so do check in your Junk folder if you've asked for bank details in order to pay. Failing that, you can always call us: 07774 084595 and leave a message, we will get back to you.

Car Parking Charges began on 2nd January 2019

Do you know that:

  • Magog Down is run by a Charity – The Magog Trust
  • It costs around £50,000 a year to maintain

How many contribute to the costs of running and maintaining it? Friends and Members do, and their commitment is important to the charity.

  • To ensure its future we need the support of all visitors.

To encourage everyone who uses the Magog Down to pay towards these costs, the Trustees have decided to introduce a charge for car parking, except for Friends and Members. The parking charge is £3 a day.

The start date for charging was Weds 2nd January 2019autumn_woods_bench_453

Magog Down – a unique area for restoration and conservation

The Magog Down is an area for restoration, conservation and informal recreation on the Gog Magog Hills just south of the boundary of the City of Cambridge, off the A1307 road to Linton and on Haverhill Road, Stapleford.

Magog Down is owned and managed by the Magog Trust who bought it in 1989. It covers 163.5 acres of previously intensively farmed arable land. It is freely open to all, all year round.

It has two meadows sown with wild flowers and grasses native to chalk grassland. Six woods, planted between 1990 and 1992, with 24,000 native British trees. It is seeing the return of ground-nesting birds, like the skylark, and native flowering plants like the cowslip...read more

A community space for all to enjoy

Some of the activities enjoyed at the Magog Down include:

  • Fun for all the family - From flying kites and picnics in the summer to the toboggan runs of winter, the Down is just the place for a family day out all year round
  • Health & recreation - Whether out for a stroll, a walk with the dog or a slightly more energetic jog, the rolling fields and stunning views make this the perfect setting.
  • Flora and fauna - With a wealth of native trees, shrubs, meadow grasses, flowers and associated wild life, this restoration area is a must whether you are a keen amateur or a seasoned enthusiast.
  • Agricultural use - About one-third of the land is farmed under a standard arable crop rotation by contractors. Sheep are grazed in the paddocks on the South Down. Part of the site is managed under Entry Level Stewardship and part under Higher Level Stewardship under the guidance of Natural England.This helps in the overall aim of the project - to recreate a chalk grassland typical of more than a century ago.

Jane's Piece Boardwalk:  "What an improvement!"

In January 2017 a 27-metre long section of Boardwalk was laid along the permissive path known as "Jane's Piece". It was such a success that before the end of 2017 we installed a further 60-metre length.  The total cost of materials and installation so far is a little over £15,000, and we are inviting donations to Sponsor the existing boards (they work out at £40 each!) and to raise further funds to extend the walk along the remainder of the chalk bank.boardwalk_jan2017_scaled_250

One of our Friends who visits regularly and has kindly donated was most enthusiastic about what an improvement it's made, saying: 
"On numerous occasions I have seen people having difficulty with the rough and sometimes slippery terrain and think this new installation will make it safer and more accessible."

As well as improving access, the boardwalk will prevent further damage to the chalk ground beneath it, thus protecting the precious flora in the bank next to it.

Any donations, large or small, are welcome. You can use our generic form and just mark your donation "Boardwalk" OR you can Donate via CAF if you want to pay by card or Direct Debit. Thank you!

Bags of Help at Tesco

Great news we have been rewarded our grant request of £2,900 in order set up this additional in terms of fencing, gates and seating. On top of this there will be annual costs of grass cutting and dog bin emptying.

Thank you for your support.

During January and February we were one of three charities looking to receive money from the local "Bags of Help" scheme. Supporters voted for us using their blue tokens in any of the Tesco stores in and around Cambridge. tescobagshelpsmaller
See more about the project in this News item. We will now finish the project with the installation of a couple of picnic benches and some notices.

Wildflower of the Month

There are many wildflowers to be found growing on Magog Down throughout the year. Do read about some of them in our Flowers at the Down pages.

woolly_thistle_with_bee_180This August, among others watch out for Cirsium eriophorum, or Woolly Thistle, and maybe count the bees?

Follow us on Twitter

larrybird2_60We now have a Twitter account, you can follow us there for news and updates.

Next Working Party

The next Volunteers' working party will be on Wednesday 4th September, 2019 - led by Rangers Claire and Nick Beale. Planned task yet to be decided. Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.  All Welcome!

Meet at 2 pm in the car park and bring stout boots and gloves.

The next Bird Club walk will be on Saturday 7th September 2019.

The next meeting is due on Saturday 7th September: meet in the car park at 8am; we walk for about 2 hours. If the forecast is bad, it may be delayed to the following week - follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.  All welcome, sorry no dogs.

Privacy Policy

Do check out our Privacy Policy here for the details regarding how we process personal information.

Join us

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It costs around £50,000 per year to maintain the accessible parts of Magog Down, including the Ranger service, twice-weekly dog-bin emptying, regular grass cutting, fence and gate repairs, and forestry activities (not counting the cost of farming our arable section).

Grants and investment income do not fully meet these costs, so the Magog Trust looks for additional support from each visitor to the Down. Please become a Friend to help us look after this special piece of countryside, year after year.
 

Other News Highlights

First Snow for five years

snow_10dec_thumb_60December 2017 brought the first sledging opportunity since January 2013 read more...


Sponsor the Boardwalk

giftaidappicon_60The Jane's Piece Boardwalk is hailed as a welcome addition, and we invite donations  read more...


Counting Butterflies

commonblues_mating_60Detailed results of the latest butterfly monitoring and method used are now available read more...


Ash Dieback update

ash_dieback_thumbnail_60This disease has swept East to West across Europe, affecting the woods in Magog Down read more...


The Big Scoop

big_scoop_logo_60Volunteers collected un-bagged dog poo, and why you should NOT "Stick and Flick" it here! read more...

REMINDER: Magog Down is a Drone-free Zone!

drone180_180Flying of drones (UAV) is not allowed over or from Magog Down unless for a defined project with written authorisation by Trustees of The Magog Trust.

Aircraft have always been forbidden, and in June 2015 the rules were updated to specifically exclude drones as well. We ask all visitors to abide by the Rules of the Down at all times. Thank you!