Winter Sunset from the Down

Top Resources

Car Park Opening

CURRENT: Winter opening:
beg. November - mid February:  8am - 5pm

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

Summer opening:
beg April - mid September    8am - 8pm

Autumn opening:
mid September - end October  8am - 6pm

Parking Charges

A parking charge of £3 per day is in force. This was introduced on 2nd January 2019.  There are two ticket machines one for coins only, and the other takes cards or contactless.

Parking had been free on Magog Down since the site was first opened to the public in 1991. Our car logger indicates an average of 200 vehicles per day visting the site all year round.

A ten-year grant from Natural England to provide free access finished in October 2018, and so in order to ensure that all visitors are contributing towards the upkeep of the site, the car parking charge was introduced.

Parking will remain free for Friends and Members whose subscriptions are up to date. Display of the current "I'm a Friend" car sticker will be required. (Check this News item to confirm which stickers are valid.) To become a Friend, click on the link below.

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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.

DO YOU KNOW THE RULES?

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So many people make regular use of the 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.

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 decided to introduce a charge for car parking, except for Friends and Members. The parking charge is £3 a day.

As of November 2020, there is now a second ticket machine which takes cards and contactless payments; the coins-only machine still remains.littletreeshillmackerelskybywandleburywoods_453

Information for new Friend applicants

Please allow up to three weeks for postal delivery of your car sticker/s
- 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 2019, and a fresh surge since the post-lockdown re-opening in May 2020. 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 - though again, please be patient.

Monthly Working Party: first Wednesdays at 2pm

The conservation volunteers meet on the first Wednesday of every month, meeting at 2pm in the car park.  Please bring stout gloves and boots.

Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

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.

GROUND NESTING BIRDS

skylark_250Skylarks (like the one in this picture) and various other species choose nest sites on the ground, including corn buntings, meadow-pipits, lapwings, plovers, various waders and game birds, Their nests usually consist of mere scrapes or depressions in the ground, sometimes left exposed, sometimes covered by grass or undergrowth.

These nests are, therefore, highly vulnerable to disturbance by humans and dogs, as well as natural prey, and if disturbed will probably be abandondoned – a sad sight. Please take care!

Magog Down has several pairs of skylarks over the downs and at least two pairs of partridges, another ground nesting species, have been spotted. Skylarks tend to choose their nest sites in tussocks of grass anywhere in the fields, while partridges site their nests close to a hedge or bush as a rule; these are usually well concealed.

We Showcase Your Photos

pasqueflower_anthonytwist_closeup_250We're always delighted to receive pictures taken on and from Magog Down.

In springtime one of our Friends spotted this Pasque Flower among the plentiful Cowslips on North Down. Our Your Photos page in the Gallery is there to showcase some of the pictures from our visitors. If you'd like to send in any you have taken, you can use the dedicated email address: photos 'at' magogtrust.org.uk 

We can't promise to use them all, and we do rely on you kindly allowing us to use them for free. We will always credit you by name, unless of course you tell us that you don't want that.  Maximum size we use for the website is 1000 pixels wide.

Wildflower of the Month

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

hawthornsquarecrop_60This November and December, among others watch out for Cratsegus monogyna, or Hawthorn.

Privacy Policy

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

Seen something suspicious?

Any unusual or suspicious behavour you encounter when visiting Magog Down should be reported to the Police.

Call 999 if you are reporting a crime that is in progress or if someone is in immediate danger.

Call 101 to report crimes that are not an emergency. The local policing team is Sawston [link goes to their contacts page].

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.
 

Follow us on Twitter

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

Bird Club on Saturday 4th April under review

The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday 4th April, meeting in the car park at the earlier time of 8am; walks last about 2 hours.

Given the fast-moving situation of the Covid-19 outbreak, we will review the situation as to whether this can still safely take place, and confirm either way as soon as possible.

Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Other News Highlights

Soggy "Sunday Stroll"

20190728_sunday_stroll_1_238Rangers Claire and Nick led walkers on a guided tour of Magog Down despite inclement weather read more...


Lost and Found policy

lostproperty_60In response to Cambs Police's revised policy, we have updated our own  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!