Paxton Pits Dragonfly Hotspot
Paxton Pits Nature Reserve is a rich mosaic of wildlife habitats, with beautiful lakes, riverside, meadow, reedbed, scrub and woodland.
Paxton Pits Nature Reserve has been designated as a Dragonfly Hotspot in July 2020. A virtual launch is taking place throughout Dragonfly Week this year due to the pandemic and a celebration will take place on site in July 2021. Keep an eye on our events pages next year for full details.
Famous for its nightingales and cormorants – and host to a wide variety of other birds, insects, mammals and flora – you’re sure to have a great experience whatever time of year you visit.
Paxton Pits is situated in the Great Ouse valley in Little Paxton village, between St Neots and Huntingdon, and just off the A1. The nature reserve is managed by Huntingdonshire District Council in partnership with the Friends of Paxton Pits. It relies on you, its visitors and enthusiasts, for raising funds to improve the facilities and habitats for wildlife.
The Reserve is also home to the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire’s Environmental Education Centre. The Trust runs events for children and families, giving everyone the chance to get involved with wildlife whatever their age.
Paxton Pits is home to an impressive 26 species of dragonfly and damselfly. Well worth a visit throughout the summer and certainly worthy of the Dragonfly Hotspot status.
Take a virtual tour of Paxton Pits Dragonfly Hotspot:
Opening times, entry costs, facilities and directions
Nationally important species.
Bronze coloured dragonfly with a yellow triangular mark near the top of the abdomen. Vivid green eyes.
Image by Graham Taplin
Locally important species.
Main flight period is April to October.
Its dark wing spots make it easy to identify.
Image by Andrew Holloway
There’s loads to see at Paxton Pits all year round. It’s a well-loved place for bird watching, with many overwintering wildfowl and regular sightings of kingfishers – as well as the famous nightingales in spring. But you’ll also see plenty of other evidence of a healthy ecosystem here, including elusive mammals such as otters and weasels, plus a wide range of wildflowers, dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies in the summer.
Ensuring that Paxton Pits continues to be attractive to wildlife is an ongoing task. The HDC Rangers lead mid-week conservation work parties all year round. For more information and to find out if there are spaces for new volunteers, contact the Senior Ranger, Matt Hall, on 01480 406795 or e-mail
The Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, supported by Aggregates Industries and Huntingdonshire District Council Countryside Services, organise work parties on Sundays and Thursdays from September to March, as well as with some summer Sundays. Contact us for more information:
We need people to welcome visitors, provide information, refreshments and a friendly chat. Helping visitors to enjoy their time on the Reserve is a satisfying experience and only takes a few hours of your time. We operate a rota to open the Visitors Centre every day of the year, except Christmas Day. HDC are currently looking for new Visitor Centre volunteers, especially those who are willing to work weekends.
To find out more, please call the Visitors’ Centre on 01480 406795 and leave a message, read our Volunteering Opportunities form or contact HDC’s Volunteer Coordinator Russell Taylor at
Records and Surveys
Whether you’re a casual or regular visitor to Paxton Pits, the dragonflies which you see can add to our knowledge, especially if you tell us numbers and the locations of your records. Add them to the book in the Visitors’ Centre or email us at to have them added to the Latest Sightings blog.
- The Wildlife Monitoring Group undertake surveys of flora and fauna between Spring and Autumn.
- Dragonfly transect surveys take place once a month between late April and September.
We now upload our survey data to the national iRecord database. To explore our data, create a free iRecord account and search for Paxton Pits in the Activities menu.
Header image by Sophie F Baker
Contact InformationVisitor Centre
Paxton Pits Nature Reserve
T: 01480 406795