Work is set to start in late summer 2024 to transform a former Lincolnshire golf course into the National Trust’s first coastal nature reserve in the Midlands.

A strip of land at Sandilands, near Sutton on Sea, will become a wetland nature reserve featuring open water, islands, reedbeds and ponds along with walkways and boardwalks.

Bringing the landscape back to its natural roots, there will also be swathes of grasslands and sand-dunes to attract local wildlife and migratory birds.

Plans also include a multi-purpose, and carbon neutral, visitor hub, where both the exterior and interior will be designed to complement the nature reserve and surrounding area.

Best known for its seaside towns, which have been popular holiday destinations for generations, Lincolnshire’s less-well-known natural coast offers hidden gems and wildlife spectacles.

It stretches from Donna Nook in the north – one of the best places in England to see grey seal pups up close during winter months – to RSPB Frampton Marsh, a wildlife rich nature reserve on the Wash.

As well as coastal walking, it is also a big draw for bird watchers with a range of species to spot, from waders and hunting marsh harriers in the summer to returning brent geese in autumn and thousands of black tailed godwits in winter.

Sandilands, which has a natural golden sandy beach that stretches for miles, also sits under The East Atlantic Flyway, a bird migration superhighway which covers the UK’s internationally important east coast wetlands.

Used by millions of birds when they migrate in the autumn and spring, Lincolnshire offers some of the best bird watching spots along the route with its coastal reserves providing spectacular sights along the high-flying avian highway.

The National Trust – which acquired the site in 2020 and opened a temporary outdoor cafe in 2022 – aims to create a year-round haven for wildlife, and while work will be phased, the whole reserve and visitor centre is expected to be completed in 2025.

For more details about the new National Trust reserve which is supported by the Connected Coast Town Deal with a £2m investment, visit

Artist impression of welcome hub © Jonathan Hendry Architects
Impression of wetland habitats created by project © National Trust, Peter Farmer
Artist impression of areas created and enhanced st Sandilands © National Trust