There are several nature reserves in the Spalding area, all open to the public. They are a great place to enjoy the open air and take a walk in the wide open fenland spaces.
Vernatts, Local Nature Reserve, Spalding
An area that used to be a fishing lake, shooting ground, as well as the path of a disused railway, just a short walk from the town centre. It is carefully managed to encourage wild plants, insects and animals to the area. There is a beautiful wild flower meadow, wetland, reed beds and a pond along with a woodland area, where it is possible to spot Deer, Snakes, Water Voles, Butterflies and rare wild flowers.
There are three entry points to the Reserve.
- The foot path opposite Park Road, on Pinchbeck Road.
- By crossing the playing field at the end of Chiltern Drive, off West Elloe Avenue.
- Take the footpath along Vernatts Drain, from Sharp’s Bridge, on Pinchbeck Road.
Arnolds Meadow, or The Arnold Smith Memorial Reserve. Spalding
Close to the east side of the Coronation Channel, this 6.5 acre, triangular shaped nature reserve, is home to a hay meadow, a lake, several ponds and a bird hide. It is entirely man made, and managed by The Lincolnshire Wild Life Trust.
The hay meadow is partly flooded in the Winter, and the ponds are monitored by voluntary reserve managers who use kayaks to keep records of nests and wildlife for the RSPB and other organisations.
171 species of plants, 73 species of birds and 17 species of butterfly have been recorded there.
Entry point is on the left of Childers South Drove, after crossing the Bailey bridge over the Coronation Channel from Pecks Drove, Clay Lake, Spalding.
The site is accessible for wheelchair users, who are accompanied by another person
Willow Tree Fen Nature Reserve.
Willow Tree Fen was purchased by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust in 2009. The land, previously used to grow arable crops, becomes waterlogged during wet periods, and has been restored into a typical fenland landscape, increasing the area of Lincolnshires remaining fenland, by 200%
Linked to remaining remnants of wild fen by the River Glen and Counter Drain, it is hoped that the new 228 acre area will provide homes for some of the larger fenland birds and animals who are unable to colonise the smaller Baston Fen and Thurlby Fen Reserves.
There are areas of grazed grassland, reed beds, shallow seasonal fenland meres and pools and two bird hides. Three routes of varying lengths are way marked around the reserve. There are also toilets, a classroom and an interpretation building
The site can be accessed on the right of Counter Drain Drove. The continuation of The Delph, Pode Hole, Spalding. The Macmillan Way passes through the site.
GPS co-ordinates : N 52º46.596′, W 0º15.013′
Deeping Lakes Nature Reserve, Deeping St James.
Opened to the public in 2004, Deeping Lakes Nature Reserve is a complex of flooded gravel pits, which have been allowed to return to nature. Carefully managed by a team of volunteers, the 166 acre site includes a lake and that has been been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The lake was excavated during the late 1800s, while the two smaller areas of lakes and pools were excavated during the 1990s as part of the Welland Bank Quarry. The Lake is noted for its wildfowl and waterbirds.
The way marked route around part of the site, passes three bird hides, overlooking the lakes, and also takes the walker along the bank of the River Welland.
The reserve can be accessed from the B1166. One kilometre south of the manned level crossing at Deeping St James. Or, the B1166 Welland Bank, Crowland Road, from Spalding. The entrance is on a very sharp corner, and the carpark is 400m down an unmade road. No toilets.
GPS co-ordinates: N 52º39.402′, W 0º15.043′
While you are in any nature reserve it is important to follow the countryside code. This includes:
- Keep to the footpaths.
- Keep dogs on leads and always clean up after them.
- Do not pick or disturb any plant or animal.
- No fishing.
- No fires.
- Take all your litter home or put it in a bin.