The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, and nature reserves are at the heart of their mission. These priceless spaces are crucial to the RSPB’s conservation work and their aim to inspire everyone to get close to nature.
Here’s our selection of VisitEngland-recommended RSPB reserves to help you discover the delights of the wildlife near you.
RSPB Arne, Wareham, Dorset
Covering more than 565 hectares of the striking Arne peninsular on the Isle of Purbeck, RSPB Arne remains one of the few places in the UK where all six of the UK’s native reptiles can be found.
RSPB Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve, Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire
The chalk cliffs of Bempton make an ideal habitat for a huge range of seabirds, providing one of the country’s top wildlife spectacles – the biggest English mainland gannetry. Enjoy incredible views from six safe cliff-edge viewing platforms.
RSPB Dee Estuary – Burton Mere Wetlands, Cheshire
This assortment of freshwater wetland habitats, mixed farmland and woodland is teeming with wildlife. Explore the trails and bring your binoculars – as well as being fantastic for birdwatching, the summer months also boast an abundance of butterflies.
RSPB Dungeness Nature Reserve, Lydd, Kent
Dungeness is the third most biodiverse site in the country and is home to the largest expanse of shingle anywhere in the world. Explore the two-mile circular trail around the reserve to experience an internationally important community of plants and animals.
RSPB Frampton Marsh Nature Reserve, Boston, Lincolnshire
Situated on the Lincolnshire shore of The Wash, summer is a wonderful time of the year to discover Frampton – the saltmarsh is alive with colour throughout the warmer months. Look out for wading birds and hunting marsh harriers.
RSPB Lakenheath Fen Nature Reserve, Thetfold, Suffolk
These former carrot fields are now a magical wetland home for kingfishers, cranes, otters, watervoles and more. Forming part of a broader network of wetlands across the fenland region, Lakenheath Fen’s extensive reedbeds are a haven for biodiversity.
RSPB Leighton Moss, Carnforth, Lancashire
From extensive reed-fringed wetlands to mixed woodland, wildlife ponds and coastal saltmarsh lagoons, Leighton Moss’ diverse habitats mean that there are amazing sights to see all year round. Bring a picnic, hire binoculars or enjoy a guided walk.
RSPB Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve, Pulborough, West Sussex
With beautiful views across the South Downs, this lowland wet grassland is home to some wonderful wildlife. Pulborough is one of the top sites in the UK for dragonflies – head to the ponds and ditches and listen out for their clashing wings as they tussle over the prime perches.
RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve, Purfleet, Essex
Not far from the busyness of the capital, Rainham Marshes protects over 400 hectares of low-lying grazing marsh – one of London’s very few remaining ancient landscapes. Get even closer to nature with a number of hides, join one of the family activities, or hire a bicycle to explore sections of the reserve.
RSPB Sandwell Valley Nature Reserve, Birmingham, West Midlands
RSPB Sandwell Valley is a fantastic place for families to have fun together outdoors. Spot wetland birds from the Lakeside Lookout, go bug hunting, or simply enjoy strolling around this bewitching urban green space which flourishes with wildlife.
RSPB Saltholme Nature Reserve, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
Saltholme is the perfect place for beginner birdwatchers. Get up close to water rail, yellow wagtails and terns in the hides and screens, or choose one of the trails to discover what makes this wetland such a special environment.
RSPB Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
Once part of Norfolk’s sea defences, Titchwell Marsh is now home to a diverse range of resident and migrant seabirds and an abundance of marine life. The reserve boasts five signposted trails, enabling visitors to fully experience this breathtaking landscape and the creatures it provides a home for.