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RSPB Rye Meads, Hertfordshire

By Paul Brackley

Kingfisher - RSPB Rye Meads, Hertfordshire. Picture by Andrew Howe.
Kingfisher - RSPB Rye Meads, Hertfordshire. Picture by Andrew Howe.

RSPB hides overlooking artificial nesting banks for kingfishers.

RSPB Rye Meads, Hertfordshire

Address: Rye Road, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire SG12 8JS

Opening hours: 9am-5pm except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Gates closed outside these hours

Entry prices: Free to members; £3 per car for non-members

Parking: Yes

Public transport: Rye House station is about 360m away, and the Old Highway bus stop is 660m away

Toilets: Yes, open 9am-5pm except Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Refreshments: Yes, hot and cold drinks and snacks available in visitor centre

Hides: Eight, plus more in adjacent HMWT reserve

Accessibility: Three trails, all of which are suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs

Dogs: No dogs, except registered assistance dogs

If you love kingfishers - and, let’s face it, why wouldn’t you? - then this is the site for you.

A fabulous, family-friendly wetland reserve by the River Lee near Hoddesdon, Rye Meads is hugely popular with birdwatchers, photographers, walkers and schools alike.

The reserve features eight hides, with more in the adjacent Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) part of the site, which is accessed via a one-way gate.

Two of the RSPB hides overlook artificial nesting banks for kingfishers. One of these banks has been in use for years and gives visitors reliable and fantastic views of kingfishers as they fish and enter their nesting holes to feed their young. Common terns nest on rafts during the summer, along with noisy black-headed gulls, and there are plenty of warblers on show. You can often heard the explosive sound of the Cetti’s warbler too. Butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies can be seen at close quarters in the summer, while feeders by the visitor centre give close-up views of garden birds. Winter brings with it snipe, green sandpipers, shovelers, gadwalls and tufted ducks.

There are activities for children, including pond dipping sessions, and Explorer Backpacks can be loaned for free from the visitor centre.

For more information visit the RSPB Rye Meads website.


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