Magog Down with dark sky



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With annual expenditure now around £90,000 required to maintain the Magog Down including resourcing the Ranger Service, Dog-Bin Emptying, Farming and Forestry activities as well as administration, the Magog Trust is reliant on support from each visitor to the Down as well as grants, donations and income investment. Please become a Friend to help us look after this special piece of countryside.

Gog Magog Hills
Farm Shop and Cafè

cartshedSitting on the A1307 opposite the turning to Magog Down is the Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop and café where you are welcome to have a rest and a drink.

Tell us what you think

We'd like to hear about your experience at Magog Down. Please email us.

Singing Trees - whatever next?!

At Magog Down this winter, thanks to the generosity of several Friends and Members of the Trust, we will be planting some ‘Singing Trees' in the hedge on the western border of the arable area. 

Iyellowhammer_60t is true that, should you walk along the perimeter path next spring, you are unlikely to hear a rendering of the Hallelujah Chorus - corn_buntingbut what you may be able to hear is bird song, particularly the songs of the Magog yellowhammers and corn buntings; these birds choose hedge trees from which to proclaim their fitness to breed and to warn potential competitors to stay away. The Trustees saw such trees in place at Hope Farm in Autumn last year, and are delighted to be able to put some in place here on Magog Down.

We will be planting a range of attractive flowering trees - Crab apple, Rowan, White beam, Cherry Plum - not only to promote song but also to provide pollen and nectar for bees and other insects, and later in the year berries to help the birds survive the winter. The western hedge is about 500m long and the trees will be about 20m apart.

We would be delighted to receive additional donations towards the cost of purchase, planting, and ongoing upkeep of these new trees. If you would like to contribute then please download and return our Singing Trees Appeal donation form.



View of a hedge containing Singing Trees at Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire. Hope Farm is owned and run by the RSPB.


Magog Trust - 25 years on

Barnes Copse was planted this spring on Magog Down. The name acknowledges the part played by Joan Barnes and her husband Ray, at the outset of The Magog Trust, the company formed to purchase 163.5 acres, on the Gog Magog Hills, now known as Magog Down. Picture shows Joan Barnes in front of the newly planted copse.


The 25th anniversary of this purchase was celebrated on 28th September, with a gathering of Friends, Members and guests, in The Granary.  Niki Williamson, from the RSPB, and Philip Oswald, gave talks reflecting the status the land has reached with talks on Birds in the Agricultural Environment and Chalk Grassland. For, although Magog Down is now an area widely used for recreation from walking, with or without dogs, to running and kite flying it is also an area of conservation to which have returned birds, mammals, insects, flowers in an environment of new woods, hedges and grassland.

How it began

The agricultural land was advertised for sale at Easter 1989 for £327,000; it was the inspiration of Colin Davison, Vicar of St Andrew’s and Christopher South, journalist and broadcaster, to seize the opportunitgog_certificate_180y and suggest its purchase to make the land available to the public of Cambridgeshire. With the support of that public, who purchased 3,000 ‘gogs’ - nominal parcels of land - along with grants from local councils, including one for £90,000 thanks in part to Harold Holt, SCDC councillor and head of Stapleford Community School, donations from businesses and, moreover, support and enthusiasm, the purchase went ahead following a last minute interest free loan from Edmund Vestey of £100,000. Downland Fairs, Teddy Bears’ Picnics, Plant Fairs and other fund raising events followed.

Such a scheme, for conservation and recreation, was innovative and there have been trials and tribulations along the way. ... read more

Car Park Opening Times

Winter opening:
October 26th - mid February:  8am - 5pm

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

Summer opening:
beg May - late October    8am - 8pm

News Highlights

Our Winter Visitors

fieldfareProbaby the best place in the local area to see migrant birds such as fieldfare and redwing is on Magog Down ... read more

Dog walkers abound

survey_thumbnail_60Our visitors survey in July revealed that a majority of visitors are dog walkers who come regularly ... read more

Orchid marks milestone

spotted_orchid_sqr_60In July this year a Pyrimidal Orchid flowered for the first time in the 25 year history of Magog Down... read more

Shelford Feast

bees_thumbnail_60Our stall at the Shelford Feast in July was buzzing with interest! ... read more

Easter bird count

skylark_60At Easter we asked visitors to help us by recording all the various species of birds they saw on their walks ...  read more

New Hedge and Trees

tree_planting_0503141The planting of a new hedge across the site was completed on 19th February... read more

Why does it cost so much?

Our incoming Treasurer explains in this article where our money comes from and how much we have to spend... read more


Notice to Members

The Annual General Meeting of the Magog Trust was held on 11th October 2014. Full accounts for the Financial year to 31st March 2014 have now been posted on the Magog Trust page.