BioBlitz Cambridge 2014 | Institute of Continuing Education skip to content

Institute of Continuing Education


BioBlitz is a nationwide initiative that engages people with biodiversity, inviting you to get directly involved in surveying and monitoring your local wildlife and green spaces.

Starting at 5pm on Friday 27 June 2014, experts, volunteers and members of the public raced against time to count as many species of animals and plants as possible in the beautiful grounds of Madingley Hall on the outskirts of Cambridge.

Activities included moth trapping, butterfly hunts, minibeast hunts, pond-dipping, early-morning bird walks, tours of the gardens, and more.

Survey results

Despite the wet weather, 381 different species of animals and plants were recorded, including two species of bats (Common and Soprano Pipistrelle), 17 species of birds, 68 species of moths and butterflies, eight species of dragonflies and damselflies, 29 species of other insects, 18 species of slugs and snails, and 238 species of plants! The event was well-attended with around 270 members of the public coming along on the day and 20 experts taking part.

This wealth of species found in a relatively small area shows how diverse the UK countryside can be for wildlife and how important it is to conserve our natural environment.

Read the full report on BioBlitz 2014 (PDF, 202 KB)

Thank you to everyone who attended!

About Madingley Hall

Madingley Hall is an elegant 16th-century manor house and home to the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education. It is set in eight acres of gardens and grounds, including flower borders and lawns, a topiary garden and meadows. The grounds are teeming with wildlife, and treasures such as Adder’s Tongue Ferns and Twayblade orchids make Madingley their home.

Programme of events

Garden walk

Friday 27 June 17.00–18.00
Saturday 28 June 10.45–11.15 and 15.00–15.45

Explore the intriguing gardens with staff from Madingley Hall and find out more about the plants and trees in the north garden, the meadow, the topiary and the walled garden, including interesting species in the medicinal border and around the chalk mound. Suitable for all ages.

Bumblebee survey

Friday 27 June 17.15–18.45
Join Dr Lynn Dicks of the Department of Zoology and learn how to identify some of the most common species of British bumblebee. We'll search for bumblebee nest sites and monitor bees feeding on site. Come and help add as many species as possible to the 2014 BioBlitz list. Suitable for all ages.

Bats about bats

Friday 27 June 21.00–22.00
Join ICE biologist Dr Ed Turner to find the bats in the area using a bat detector and discover how to identify the different species by the calls they make. Suitable for ages 12+.

Moth trapping

Friday 27 June 23.00–00.30
After the sun goes down the skies come alive with a variety of moths, large and small. Discover some of the diversity of these important insects with Roger Northfield and Alex Summers. Suitable for ages 12+.

Bird walks

Saturday 28 June 05.00–05.45 and 06.00–06.45
Visit Madingley in the early morning to hear beautiful birdsong. Join this workshop with Peter Holden to learn about bird identification and how to recognise different species from their song. Suitable for all ages.

Moth trap release

Saturday 28 June 10.00–11.00
Discover the diversity of British moths as we release them from the trap in which they were collected overnight with Roger Northfield and Alex Summers. Suitable for all ages.

Slime and shells: a slug and snail survey

Saturday 28 June 10.15–11.15 and 12.15–13.15
Join Dr Richard Preece, curator of Malacology at the Zoology Museum, and Dr Tom White to find slugs and snails that you'll be used to seeing in your garden, as well as some of their more unusual cousins. Beat last year’s count and find more than 40 species! Suitable for all ages.

Mini-beasts in grasslands

Saturday 28 June, half-hour sessions at 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 14.00, 15.00 and 16.30
With Dr Alex Dittrich. Suitable for all ages.


Saturday 28 June 11.00–12.00 and 13.30–14.30
Discover the butterflies of Madingley Hall and how to identify them with Dr David Lees of the Department of Zoology. Join Dr Lees to survey butterflies, moths and their caterpillars. Suitable for all ages.

Owl pellets dissection

Saturday 28 June 11.00–12.00
Join Peter Holden and analyse owl pellets to discover what species of animals have been eaten by these birds. Suitable for ages 5+.

Rooks, jackdaws and crows: what's the difference? And how clever are they?

Saturday 28 June 11.15–12.15 and 14.15–15.15
Join our experts Dr Gabrielle Davidson and Dr Alison Greggor to discover the answers by looking at behaviour, size, shape and plumage colour. Then put your knowledge to the test by surveying the corvids in the grounds and taking a look in at the jackdaw nest boxes. Suitable for all ages.

Tree tour

Saturday 28 June 12.00–12.45
Join Richard Gant, Head Gardener at Madingley Hall, for a walk around the grounds to find out more about the fascinating trees on site. Suitable for all ages.

Butterfly and insect walk

Saturday 28 June, half-hour sessions at 13.00, 13.30, 14.30, 14.45, 15.30 and 16.00
Join Dr Ed Turner and Dr Jake Snaddon to survey the butterflies and insects living in the grounds at Madingley Hall. Learn how we can record insect life and add to the big species count. Suitable for all ages.

Drawing wildlife and wild spaces

Saturday 28 June 13.15–14.15
Join artist Angela Wade in this practical drawing session inspired by the magnificent gardens at Madingley. Learn techniques and take home your own picture of the BioBlitz. Suitable for all ages.

Pond dipping

Saturday 28 June 14.15–15.15 and 16.00–17.00
Come along and discover what creatures can be found in, on and around Madingley Hall pond with Dr Frances Dipper. Suitable for ages 5+.

Who was involved?

The BioBlitz was run by the Museum of Zoology, the Institute of Continuing Education and the University of Cambridge Public Engagement team.

Event date

Friday, 27 June, 2014 - 17:00


Madingley Hall
CB23 8AQ