In light of the Government’s guidelines, we have taken the hard decision to close nature reserves and/or paths where, due to high footfall, it is not possible to safely observe social distancing.

As a result, the paths around Skew Bridge and Ditchford Lakes have now been closed.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.

The majority of our nature reserves remain open with free access, including the rest of the Nene Wetlands, which can be accessed using the path next to AJ cycles.

Reserve Access Guidelines


Central to the Nene Valley is the Nene Wetlands nature reserve, a unique one square mile of wild and man-made habitats, managed for wildlife and people.


Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre
The Boardwalk
Rushden Lakes
NN10 6FA

OS Map Reference

SP 938 679
A static map of Nene Wetlands

Know before you go

270 hectares

Parking information

Please note there is a 5 hour parking limit at Rushden Lakes

Grazing animals

Highland cattle, sheep

Walking trails

Many wide, smooth trails for walking.



Wheelchair and pushchair friendly. Mobility scooter available for hire at the Visitor Centre.


Under effective control


Visitor centre
Picnic area
Disabled toilet
Baby changing facilities
Outdoor play area

When to visit

Opening times

Visitor Centre 10am - 5pm

Best time to visit

10am - 5pm

About the reserve

The Nene Wetlands is part of the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area. Four Wildlife Trust nature reserves - Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows, Ditchford Lakes and Meadows, Higham Ferrers Pits and Wilson's Pits are now linked up with Skew Bridge Lake, Delta Pit and Higham Lake - flooded gravel pits, wet meadow, wet woodland and reedbed at the heart of the Wildlife Trust's Nene Valley Living Landscape.

This extensive series of shallow and deep open waters are surrounded with a wide range of marginal features, such as sparsely vegetated islands, gravel bars and shorelines, and habitats including reed swamp, marsh, wet ditches, rush pasture, rough grassland and scattered scrub. This range of habitat and the varied topography of the lagoons provide valuable nesting, resting and feeding conditions to sustain nationally important numbers and assemblages of breeding and wintering birds.

Twenty thousand waterbirds use the wetlands every year, for breeding, for their winter quarters or as vital stopping points on their long migration routes, from as far away as Arctic Russia and southern Africa.

Our new Visitor Centre - a low-lying wooden, grass-roofed building on the edge of Skew Bridge Lake - is hugely symbolic for the Wildlife Trust BCN. A first visitor centre for the Trust's three counties and a wonderful opportunity to engage with an entirely new audience coming to experience the retail park at Rushden Lakes. Visitors will experience an adventure at a place where wildlife, industrial history and modern retail culture come face-to-face. The Trust's visitor centre officially opened in July 2017, and is open 10am-5pm every day except Christmas Day.

Outdoor play specialists Flights of Fantasy have created 14 beautiful wildlife sculptures in a trail along the edge of Skew Bridge Lake. Designer Russell Bowlby's creations also include interactive installations in a Wildlife Discovery Area - an abandoned barge and an otter holt. Carefully positioned trail cameras around the lake deliver footage to screens in the visitor centre (e.g. images from the heronry on Delta Lake - not publically accessible), and with the boathouse of Canoe2 just next door, access to the lakes - with portage on to the river Nene - couldn't be easier.

Maps of the reserve are now available to buy from the Nene Wetlands' Visitor Centre.

Download the Nene Wetlands reserve map.

Scroll down to see the reserve boundary. Please note the boundary map is for indication purposes only and does not show the Wildlife Trusts definitive land boundary. 


Contact us

Location map

Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre

Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre

Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre

The Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre hosts regular events and activities. We have a wonderful shop on the Rushden Lakes boardwalk, plus a Discovery Play Area, sculpture trail and education area. Welcoming staff and volunteers will explain the work of the Trust at the Nene Wetlands and answer any questions. Why not pay us a visit?


Events coming up at the Nene Wetlands

Wildlife restoration at the Nene Wetlands Nature Reserve has been supported with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Heritage Fund Logo