Holcot reflection
A view of Pitsford Water in the summer

Pitsford Water by Sarah Gibbs

Sunset over Pitsford

Covid-19 update: The Fishing Lodge Shop is closed during the national lockdown from 4 November - 2 December. See below for more information.

To ensure the safety of all users Lagoon Hide and Scaldwell Hide are closed until further notice as both hides require repairs. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

A gem of a reserve; a haven for wildfowl and migrating waders


5 miles north of Northampton

OS Map Reference

A static map of Pitsford Water Nature Reserve

Know before you go

181 hectares

Entry fee

Permit required - please see access details below.

Parking information

Small car park at entrance

Grazing animals


Walking trails

7 miles for complete circuit. Paths are mainly grass and can become muddy and flooded in winter. Wheelchair access to one of the hides (see below).    


Members of the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants can obtain a free permit to visit the reserve. Please contact the Northamptonshire Office on 01604 405285 or via Northamptonshire@wildlifebcn.org. Membership is just £3.50 per month or £42 per year and includes our award winning wildlife magazine.

Join us 

Non-members (including members of other Wildlife Trusts) can purchase a day ticket from Anglian Water at the Pitsford Water Fishing Lodge (opening times vary) - for £5 (£2.50 concessions) or £35 for a family season ticket for the whole year. If the shop is shut, day tickets can be bought at any time from a permit hut in the lodge car park.


Due to the lockdown, the Fishing Lodge shop is closed from 4 November – 2 December.

  • CARD PAYMENTS ONLY. For Nature Reserve Day Permits, Annual Permits and Fishing Permits, please call 01604 781350 – daily between 8am and 2pm.
  • CASH ONLY. For Nature Reserve Day Permits only, please use the self-service hut at the Fishing Lodge main gate

Disabled access

There are three disabled parking spaces at the fishing lodge (the lower car park near the water) and from there a 250m tarmac path leading to a hide which has windows that can accommodate viewing from wheelchairs with a good view of one of the three bays. There is a disabled toilet at the lodge. Please contact Anglian Water for the opening times on 01604 781350. 


Guide dogs only


Bird hides
Disabled toilet

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

One of our largest and most tranquil nature reserves, Pitsford Water Nature Reserve is the perfect place to 'get away from it all'. Explore the quiet pathways and mixed habitats of this beautiful nature reserve. Enjoy expansive views across the reservoir and visit the many bird hides dotted along the lakeshore.

Four main streams enter the reserve and their valleys form large bays of shallow water. During winter these provide excellent feeding and sheltering areas for wildfowl. As the water level drops in summer, stretches of mud offer feeding areas for migrating waders. These areas are quickly colonised by unusual plants not found elsewhere on the reserve, such as orange foxtail, mudwort and golden dock. On the waterside fringes, celery-leaved buttercup and beds of water mint add to the interest. The wealth of plants provide food and shelter for a range of mammals including harvest mouse, badger and brown hare.

The most conspicuous wildlife here is the birdlife. The whole reservoir was designated a SSSI in 1970, principally because of the large numbers of wildfowl. In winter up to 10,000 birds can be seen, including wigeon, gadwall, pintail and teal. Over 25 species of duck have been recorded as well as three species of diver and five of grebe. The scrub areas attract winter flocks of thrushes to their berry crop and over 40 species of bird are known to breed here in spring and summer, varying in size from heron to the tiny goldcrest. A feeding station ensures a good chance of seeing tree sparrow and many other small birds attracted to the seeds. The diversity of habitats provides food and shelter in spring for a huge range of migrant songbirds.

Pitsford Reservoir was built to supply Northampton with water in 1955. Today the Trust leases the northern section of the reservoir, managing the area for wildlife in partnership with the owners, Anglian Water. This designated area can be enjoyed by obtaining a permit.

Please scroll down to see a detailed map of the nature reserve. 
Please note the boundary map is for indication purposes only and does not show the Wildlife Trusts definitive land boundary.  

FOR ANY MEDIA ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT OUR COMMUNICATIONS TEAM:   communicationsteam@wildlifebcn.org or 01954 713500 and ask for comms team.

Contact us

Contact number: 01604 405285

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Location map