Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve

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    About Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve

    Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve is a park that offers a delightful escape into a thriving natural habitat rich in wildlife, diverse landscapes and heritage. The circular route from Manor Court Farm takes visitors on an hour-long walk through scenic fields, woodlands, and rivers - perfect for an escape into the countryside.

    Formerly pasture land, these fields were quarried for sand and gravel by Hanson between 2007-2014. Once quarrying ceased, the site was redeveloped with 2km of footpaths, bridges and boardwalks and three bird-watching hides installed, giving great views across the floodplain, with information boards explaining how the site was created. Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve opened to the public in 2016 and has already gained a reputation as one of the best places for bird watching and natural history in Buckinghamshire.

    The nature reserve is designed to quickly fill up with floodwater when the River Great Ouse floods. A number of spillways throughout the park bring floodwater in at the west end, and this then flows through the system, eventually running out of spillways downstream. This means that at times of high water, parts of the nature reserve are not accessible – but typically, the water drains away within a couple of days. (If you are visiting during periods of high rainfall, please check the water levels before you set off). This dynamic water system makes the site even more appealing to wildlife as the wet/dry margins of the lakes attract a great variety of wetland birds in winter and invertebrates in the spring and summer.

    Wildlife

    In winter, a great variety of wildfowl assembles on the two main lakes with species including Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallard as well as less common species like Goosander and Pintail. In spring and early summer a variety of wading birds visit the site on migration with a few such as Lapwings and Redshank staying to nest. Other notable birds include Cuckoo and several species of Owl.

    What to look out for:

    1. Little Egrets and Grey Herons fishing throughout the year
    2. Breeding wader birds in the spring and early summer
    3. Colourful damselflies and dragonflies on sunny summer days
    4. Basking and swimming Grass Snakes from the spring through to the autumn
    5. Wintering ducks from late summer through to spring
    6. Bats at dusk on warm summer evenings
    7. Hunting Barn Owls and Little Owls
    8. Secretive otters, if you're very lucky, all year round!

    A team of Volunteer Rangers patrol the park and are happy to answer questions you may have. As the site is very sensitive and home to many nesting birds and other secretive wildlife, please ensure that dogs are kept on a lead whilst walking through the nature reserve.

    Please dress appropriately when visiting our Nature Reserve especially during the summer months when insects are likely to be present.

    Facilities

    There are no public toilets in this park.

    Free parking is available at car parks at Manor Farm Court, MK12 5NN (off Old Wolverton Road) and Haversham Road.

    There are several bird hides on site where you can sit and admire the wildlife at the reserve.

    Accessibility 

    Surfaced footpaths lead you from the car parks to the accessible circular route and bird hides, where you can discover more about the history of the nature reserve and its wildlife. There are several gates along the route and benches along the path by the river. Max gradient 5.6%

    Other paths that cut through the reserve are more informal, loose gravel paths that may not be suitable for some wheelchairs.

    The reserve is situated in the River Great Ouse floodplain and is expected to flood, so may not be fully accessible at all times - before your visit check the current water level.

    River in Heavy Flood

    The River Great Ouse is currently in heavy flood. The Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve is not accessible to the public today. The car park at Haversham Road will be flooded so, if you do choose to visit, there are good views from the car parks at Manor Farm Court.

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    Facilities at Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve
    • Parking

    • Bird Hide

    • Livestock Grazing

    How to get here

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