After a run in of nearly a decade we’re delighted to say that the reserve is now formally open to the public. With over 200ha of wetlands in place the project is already bursting with wildlife – so well worth waiting for!
The promoted access for visitors is via Needingworth where two waymarked trails begin. One trail leads to the reedbeds (a 10km round trip), the other to Barleycroft Lake (8km) - from where you can also reach Berry Fen. These routes are quite long and a little rough in places so they might appeal to you if you’re looking for a more adventurous day out. Full details are on our Facilities page. We have one or two tweaks still to make around the place so please bear with us while the finishing touches go in. We think you’ll find lots to look at though – Ouse Fen always seems to have lots of birds about!
Better still the reserve is already home to breeding bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tits – key species for a top quality reedbed reserve. Over the spring and summer we held two male boomers. This follows last year’s nesting success by a lone female bittern. This summer also brought the first successful nesting by marsh harriers in the reedbeds with 4 nests and the increase to 5 pairs of bearded tit. We held over 250 pairs of wildfowl, breeding waders like lapwing, redshank and oystercatcher with ringed and little ringed plover too. Nearly 70 pairs of reed bunting filled the reedbeds and there were more than 30 pairs of skylark in the grasslands with breeding corn bunting, grasshopper warbler and turtle dove nearby. So plenty to see.
We’re not stopping there either. Earthworks by Hanson are already underway on the seventh mere started last year (that’s a shallow/reeded lake), which will be the biggest yet. Meanwhile staff and volunteers will be planting the fifth and sixth meres with thousands more reeds seedlings to bring more reedbed into life.
Ouse Fen should be a great place for birds of prey, waders and wildfowl flocks this autumn and winter - see the Seasonal Highlights page for more. And there’s always the chance of a rarity showing up! Don’t forget - we have a guided walk coming up in October - checkout the Events page.
Come and see for yourself what the fuss is all about.
For more info see our web pages, here you can find full details on wildlife, directions, trails and facilities.
Just spent a happy two hours walking the Barleycroft Trail. Would love to see more places to sit and take in the view.