Fen Drayton Lakes began life as a flooded sand and gravel quarry next to riverside meadows. Now a huge variety of wildlife is drawn to the area, including Otters, dragonflies, ducks, swans and geese. There's something to see (and hear) all year round at this Cambridgshire nature reserve.

The reserve stands at one end of a string of wetlands and fens that runs for 25 miles (40km) along the Great Ouse floodplain. It's made up of a variety of habitats, including open water and wetland mixed with grassland, scrub and woodland.

The RSPB has been looking after Fen Drayton Lakes since 2007. We’ve been transforming the lakes and meadows into an even better home for nature. We’re creating more wildlife-friendly features, such as sheltered bays around the lake edges and shallow pools or “scrapes” in the wetland margins. Here ducks and other waterbirds can rest and feed.

Where there was once just bare sand and gravel, you can now hear the sounds of nature again, and watch Great Crested Grebes performing their astonishing courtship dances, against the backdrop of blue lakes, lush, green meadows and the wooded fringes of the river valley.

You’re never far from water and wildlife here; it surrounds you wherever you wander. Explore the woods and catch glimpses of secluded bays and pools. You won’t be able to miss majestic Mute Swans on the lakes, but you’ll need to look a little harder to see the many colourful insects. The riverside meadows are alive with nature – reeds rustling, birds warbling, grasshoppers chirping and bees buzzing.

This site was awarded funding by the Thalia WB Community Fund through the Landfill Communities Fund 2023.

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