Family walk: RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes

A wildlife safari for explorers of all ages at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes nature reserve.

This former gravel quarry has been amazingly transformed by the RSPB into a thriving nature reserve with miles of beautiful walking trails.

Star bird species include bitterns, marsh harriers, hobbies and lapwings, but on a good day there’s no end to what you might spot. Herons, kingfishers, barn owls, cormorants, and even seals that make the long swim inland form the Norfolk coast can all be seen here; plus a supporting cast of thousands of ducks that change with the shifting seasons.

There are almost too many trails to pick from at Fen Drayton, but this route takes in what I think are some of the most picturesque pathways, lakes and bird hides. To be honest though, once you’re on the reserve you can’t go wrong because the whole place is great.

You can travel to Fen Drayton either by car, bike, on foot, or on the local guided busway because the reserve has its own stop. If you park in the official car park, it’s worth making the short walk to the River Great Ouse, with lovely views across to the village of Holywell. And if you visit in autumn or winter, look out for amazing starling murmuations near the car park at sunset.

This really is a wonderful place.

Pushchair access: If your pram is robust with big wheels you can use it on a lot of the reserve, but be warned that Fen Drayton’s pathways get very muddy throughout the winter and after periods of heavy rain. If you can get away with it, leave the pram in the car!

Dog owners: dogs are very welcome at Fen Drayton, but don’t forget this is a nature reserve so keep them under close control. And beware the guided busway that runs through the middle of the reserve, with buses often travelling at high speeds.

Download the route: click here to download this route for free in the ViewRanger app, then follow it on your phone, smartwatch or tablet using the app’s active GPS features.

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