Barford Road Pocket Park is a 45 acre (18 hectare) site bounded by Eynesbury Manor housing estate and the River Great Ouse. The park has several types of habitat, including grassland, wild flower meadow, woodland, hedgerow, reedbed and flatland.
The park can be found just off the Ouse Valley Way footpath at Eaton Socon Locks, just a few minutes’ walk from Ernulf Academy (Formerly St Neots Community College), the Leisure Centre and Tesco at Eynesbury
Our leaflet [PDF, size unavailable]has a map, directions and lots of information about the wildlife you can see throughout the year.
There are no indoor facilities at the site.
There is a fitness and play area close to the Chapman Way entrance.
The park has a number of hard-surfaced footpaths suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and some benches so you can relax in the lovely surroundings.
There is a boardwalk through some of the reedbed around the conservation lake and a woven willow hide where you can observe the wildlife.
Wildlife and management
Areas of the park are managed in different ways, depending on the benefits to the wildlife.
Fencing running along the conservation lake has created a sanctuary for nesting birds and wild flowers. This fencing has allowed a nesting pair of little ring plovers and great crested grebes to breed successfully, as well as the more common mallards, swans and tufted ducks. Skylarks have moved in from surrounding fields and reared chicks on the rough grassland.
There are three areas of wild flower meadows which are cut in rotation to maintain a variety of different stages of plant growth. The results are a large wild flower range including ox eye daisy, comfrey, field scabious, common (hedge) wound-wort, marsh wound-wort and salsify (which is related to the carrot). The variety of flowers maintains a high number of invertebrates, which in turn improves the small mammal and bird numbers.
There is a wide variety of birds on the site, including reed buntings, reed warblers, sedge warblers and many others. There is also a lizard colony and grass snakes.
Huntingdonshire District Council’s Countryside Service runs work parties every other Wednesday when volunteers help the site ranger with outdoor practical tasks. This can involve vegetation clearance, path maintenance and grassland management.
Site checks involve walking around the park along a set route and checking that the parts of the park are intact, for example, benches are not broken and paths are not worn out.
If you would like further information, please contact Russell Taylor (Volunteer Co-Ordinator), download an application form [DOCX, 61Kb] or pick up an application form from the Visitor Centre at Hinchingbrooke Country Park or Paxton Pits Nature Reserve.