For day 165 of 365 Days Wild I visited Langford Lowfields Nature Reserve in the company of my Mum, Millie Thom. It was a lovely place for a morning walk. Situated in a village not far from our own, it’s practically on our doorstep. Despite this, we have never actually been inside its bounds – though we have discovered entrances to it during other walks.
The Langford Lowfields Nature Reserve is a former sand and gravel quarry site in the Trent River Valley that has since been flooded to create new wetland habitats. Transformation began in 1989 and since then it has undergone a long-term transition to become a major East Midlands RSPB reserve. Public access has been possible since 2017.
The site is managed by the RSPB in partnership with Tarmac and is a flagship program to showcase how wetland habitats can be created on a large scale. There are already 35 hectares of developing reedbeds, making it the largest reedbed habitat in the East Midlands, plus wildflower-rich meadows, areas of scrub, and a mature woodland. Quarrying continues in the area, continually adding new wetlands as work moves on. Another 35ha of wetland habitat was added to the site in 2017 and 2018 as former pits were flooded. Over the next few years these will succeed into reedbeds, perfect for wading birds. Ultimately, once all of the quarrying work in the area is complete, it is estimated that the reserve will be approximately 170ha in size.
Wildlife highlights from the reserve include bitterns, brown hares, bearded tits, marsh harriers, avocets, and wintering wildfowl, as well as mumurations of starlings. There’s a frequently updated board at the entrance that tells you what you might be able to spot.
If you fancy paying to visit Langford Lowfields Nature Reserve, access is from Cottage Lane in the Nottinghamshire village of Collingham. The postcode for your satnav is NG23 7RF. It is open from dawn until dusk all year round and entrance is free, though a parking donation of £1 for less than 2 hours or £2 for more than 2 hours is suggested. There is a public footpath from the car park that passes through the woodland and along the boundary path. Once you are within the reserve there are several different paths that you could follow depending on how energetic you’re feeling. The Langford Lowfields trail is 4.5 miles in length, the North Trail is 1.5 miles, and the Cromwell Trail is 1 mile. Alternatively, if you’re wanting a longer walk you could also join the Trent Valley Way, a footpath that follows the course of the River Trent along its entire 166 mile length. Whilst cycling is not permitted past the Beach Hut near the entrance to the reserve, the Sustrans 64 cycling trail, that connects Nottingham with Lincoln, is also accessible nearby.
During non-covid times you can hire pond dipping equipment from the Beach Hut – perfect for if you have little ones who you’re introducing to nature. There’s also a fascinating bug hotel.
Of you’d like to know more about Langford Lowfields Nature Reserve you can check out the RSPB website here.
Are there any nature reserves local to you that you like to visit? Let me know in the comments below.