Media Release 23 APRIL 2020


The Great Ouse Valley Trust fears for our beautiful landscape

Nightingale - Copyright Nigel Sprowell



To whom it may concern

This week a Nightingale sang. Not in Berkeley Square (although it may do again soon!) but in Godmanchester Nature Reserve. It was recorded by Great Ouse Valley Trust trustee Phil Rothwell who spoke of his emotional reaction as the amazing liquid song with its soaring pin and contrasting low jug notes poured from deep within a thicket, just a few minutes from his front door. For a rarely seen, shy bird this sound is truly amazing and has to be heard to be believed. It has lifted hearts for generations and particularly during times of crisis. For Phil it was a moment of pure joy and for a minute or two he forgot his Covid-19 worries. If you have never heard this iconic bird perform then you can listen to Phil’s recording on the GOVT Facebook Page or we can send you the file by WeTransfer.

For more and more people whose normal life has been turned upside down and for whom enormous worries loom large, the healing power of nature has become very significant. Our enforced restrictions, limited travel and more available time has resulted in increasing numbers of us really appreciating the natural world in our locality for the first time. And especially at this beautiful time of year in glorious weather. With less traffic and other general noise diminished some people are hearing birdsong for the first time.

But this may all change. If the Cambridge and Peterborough Mayor has his way, his Local Transport Plan, which includes a major new road and enormous elevated road bridge cutting through the site where the Nightingale sang, would destroy the peace and value of this fragile section of the Great Ouse Valley forever. And future generations would then only hear the song of a nightingale electronically. We cannot allow this to happen.


Please contact Graham Campbell, Chair of the Great Ouse Valley Trust, for interview at or on 01480 394933 or 07952 754763 and/or make an appointment to come and listen live to the Nightingale with Phil Rothwell!


Godmanchester Nature Reserve is managed by The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. Contact or 01954 713500

The Great Ouse Valley Trust (GOVT) is a charity (registration number 1179977) formed in October 2018 with the charitable objective:

“To promote for public benefit the conservation, restoration, and enjoyment of the landscape, wildlife and heritage of the Great Ouse Valley and environs in the county of Cambridgeshire.”

Members include local councils, the local Wildlife Trust, individuals and environmental groups. Visit  

The Trust’s Vision recognises the Great Ouse Valley is a fantastic place to live and visit, with off the beaten track areas to explore by foot, cycle or horse.  The area is nationally recognised and valued for its wildlife, leisure, natural and heritage attractions which contribute to the county’s natural green spaces.  This is achieved by GOVT being the catalyst which brings national organisations, local communities and individual people together for the common good.

GOVT’s mission covers:

  • Enhancement of landscape – increased biodiversity
  • Promotion - sense of place, tourism and local economy, health benefits
  • Protection – active conservation and campaigning
  • Access for all – residents and visitors, disabled
  • Partnerships and alliances: groups working together
  • Increased engagement – education, volunteering