Visiting our Nature Reserves

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Visiting Nature Reserves

Cooper's Hill - Dave McKay

Nature reserves are refuges for wildlife

We look after more than 100 nature reserves across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. A vast array of wildlife thrives in these vital refuges due to the unique habitat they offer and our management work to keep the conditions right.

Read more about our reserve management and why it is so crucial

Each reserve has a unique character. There are meadows, fens, ancient woods, river margins, lakes and old gravel pits and much more. You can visit a reserve near you or discover one that will show you something new.

We love nature and we want others to love it to. 

We offer free public entry to our reserves (unless it is unsafe to do so, or if there is a risk of irreversible damage to wildlife). We just ask all visitors to follow our reserve access guidelines.

Reserve Access Guidelines

  • Stick to the paths - Straying from the path is a threat to ground nesting birds, can cause damage to emerging plants (such as bluebells) and can increase chances of getting ticks or Lyme Disease (both for humans and for dogs!)
  • Dogs permitted in some areas under close control (read more about dogs on reserves)
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Take your litter home - it can be useful to bring a bag for it.
  • But nothing else! - Please don't forage or take wild plants home with you.
  • No drones - they can distress the birds! (more information below)
  • No commercial activity without consent - email us to find out more

Guidelines in response to Covid-19

  • Only visit reserves by foot - Please respect Government advice not to undertake non-essential travel/car journeys
  • Practise social distancing (at least 2m from others). Turn back if this is not possible without straying from the path. 
  • Avoid touching infrastructure such as gates, benches and railings as the virus can exist on surfaces.

Springtime also means...

  • It's lambing season! - please watch for livestock signs and always keep dogs on leads in these areas. 
  • Ground nesting birds may be hidden in long grassy areas - take extra care to stay to the path and keep dogs on it too.

Click to find out why we don't allow drones

For the safety and enjoyment of other visitors, and to protect wildlife from disturbance, please do not fly unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) or other remote-control flying devices in our nature reserves without permission.

The use of drones is overseen by the Civil Aviation Authority and is an area where regulation is currently developing. Drones require permission and licensing to operate, and operators must have sufficient training and insurance to use them safely and responsibly.

Our reserves are important areas for wildlife and many of them are used for breeding. These sites are sensitive to disturbance; for instance, birds may feel threatened by drones and abandon their nests.

We do obtain drone footage of our reserves to assist our conservation work, but it is done by our own licensed operator, or with our permission if we are confident the operator is licensed and insured and that wildlife will not be injured or disturbed. If you have any questions about drones on our nature reserves please contact communicationsteam@wildlifebcn.org.

No drone zone

No drone zone

You can help

You can help us continue to care for our nature reserves as a volunteer or as a member of the Trust. We rely on volunteers to help with a lot of the vital management work needed –  we could not achieve success for local wildlife without the massive contribution that volunteers make. If you're interested in giving some time to help wildlife find out more on our volunteering pages

You can also help our nature reserves to survive and grow by becoming a member or making a donation to our work.