RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes: enjoy an abundance of wildlife at this huge wetland reserve
This lovely reserve is a wonderful place to walk and enjoy nature.
Address: Fen Drayton Lakes, Fen Drayton Road, between Fen Drayton and Swavesey
Opening hours: Open at all times
Entry prices: Free, donations appreciated
Parking: Free car park
Public transport: Guided busway request stop within reserve
Toilets: Portable toilet in car park
Hides: One, plus viewing shelters
Accessibility: Partly accessible by wheelchair, pushchair and bicycle
Dogs: Allowed on public footpaths and bridleways only
The massive site was once a gravel workings. It’s now a complex of lakes and riverside meadows beside the River Great Ouse and the guided busway track, with associated cycle path, runs through the site and stops in the middle of it.
It is home to a wide array of species, with hobbies, terns, kingfishers and an array of dragonflies in summer and large numbers of ducks, swans and geese on the lakes in the winter.
Starling murmurations are also common here in winter - and can often be seen against the setting sun: a beautiful spectacle that makes this site worth a visit in itself.
Winter also brings short-eared owls, which have typically favoured one of the fields on the approach road, often giving terrific daytime views.
Occasional rarities turn up here too. In 2016, for the first time in about eight years, marsh harriers successfully bred on the reserve.
If you are fortunate, bitterns can also be seen. More commonly, its a very good place to spot little flocks of bullfinches.
There is one hide overlooking a huge lake and several viewing screens, with one offering disabled access.
A new shelter has been built next to the car park, with a picnic area, and it’s a lovely spot to watch the sun go down.