The Reserve

A nature reserve like no other!

Watchtree Nature Reserve is a 205 acre haven for wildlife and people. Featuring flower rich meadows, old and new woodland, miles of hedgerow and wetland habitats this a place for everyone. Wildlife is perfectly at home here and we have abundant Brown Hares, the European protected Great crested Newt, numerous breeding birds, interesting moths, stunning butterflies, secretive bats and incredible dragonflies.  The nature reserve is situated within much of the former RAF Great Orton airfield (1942-53) and you can still spot airfield construction dates etched into the concrete by servicemen as you explore. The Nature reserve is easily identifiable from miles away by the wind turbines located here. More recently, this place was used during the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001 – and even today much of the  site underground is a complex network of drains, pumps and  containment walls. So, if you thought this was any ordinary nature reserve you could be forgiven.

Today we manage the reserve for conservation, education and public access. Did you know that when we first opened the doors in 2006 we had less than 500 visitors and by 2017 we had over 30,000 visitors per year!

Open everyday (except Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/Boxing Day) we can offer exciting walks, various nature trails and orienteering courses, cycling with many bikes and styles to choose from, an environmental education service for school groups, two bird hides, a visitor center serving freshly made coffee and so much more. Even if you cant visit you can still help. Become a member today and help us to manage this site for wildlife and make it an even better visitor experience.

Note: Membership allows access when the reserve is closed to the general public.