Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR has played host to many rare birds and big migrant days through the years.
Having a prominent position on the east coast, the reserve is well-placed to be the first stop off point for many migrant birds and the joy of going for a walk and not knowing what you could find is always an exciting prospect.
Reserve and wildlife enquiries
Delphine Suty (Senior Reserve Manager)
0300 060 3900
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Matthew Blissett (Outer Humber & Coast Warden)
Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes National Nature Reserve is comprised of an 8km stretch of foreshore, saltmarsh, sand dunes and grassland. The NNR is located between the village of Saltfleet to the north, and the seaside town of Mablethorpe to the south.
One footpath runs the whole length of the NNR, following the dunes throughout, but there are many well walked desire lines and permissive paths in the dunes, although these are not always the easiest terrain for walking. With an easy access trail and short walk options, Rimac is the best destination for visitors with limited mobility.
There are five main access points onto the NNR, with car parks of varying size located at each of these. These car parks can be found by turning off the stretch of B1200 between Saltfleet and Mablethorpe. Unless stated otherwise below, parking is paid for by following a voluntary donation scheme, with details of this new scheme soon to be found in all car parks. Payments are made through the Ringo app or phone service, with proceeds going to the NNR. Car park locations are listed below with What3Words locations for each;
Dogs are permitted on the NNR, but all dogs must be kept on a short lead (maximum 2 metres) in sand dune and saltmarsh areas between 1st March – 31st July.
Dogs are to be kept under close control on the open beach between Churchill Lane and Mablethorpe North End, but a lead is not essential here.
Throughout the rest of the year, dogs are to be kept under close control, unless on-site signage states otherwise. We also ask visitors to stick to the main paths.
Livestock may be found on the dunes throughout the year, but all access gates into areas being grazed will have clear signage on with emergency contact numbers of who to report any problems to.
Open access year-round.
entry & prices
Lincolnshire County Council charge for parking at Mablethorpe north end between April and September, but it is free for the remainder of the year.
Saltfleetby - Theddlethorpe Dunes
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
The trust is an incredible local wildlife conservation charity looking after nearly 100 nature reserves and helping to give wildlife a voice, and inspiring people of all ages to take action for wildlife.
find out more about Saltfleetby-theddlethorpe dunes
what species and habitats can you find?
Visible migration here isn’t always as spectacular as the numbers and variety experienced at Gibraltar Point, but movement of finches, pipits, waders, raptors and seabirds can be evident depending on weather and time of year.
Habitats include beach, sea, sand dunes, saltmarsh, freshwater marsh, grassland, reed, scrub, woodland, freshwater and brackish water.
Wild geese, scoter and divers on the sea, winter wildfowl, snipe, jack snipe, woodcock, marsh harrier, hen harrier, merlin, rock pipit, snow bunting
Ring ouzel, whinchat, wheatear, passage waders on scrapes/lagoons
Cuckoo, turtle dove, skylark, meadow pipit, whitethroat, grasshopper warbler, roosting gulls and terns (mostly sandwich terns), passage waders
Yellow-browed warbler, pied flycatcher, goldcrest, thrushes, scarce and rare migrants, whooper swan, skuas over the sea
useful hints and tips
Parking at Rimac and walking a 4.5km loop to Paradise Lagoon provides the best overall circuit with all the main habitats covered, including Sea View washlands and Quarry hill overview.
Recent sightings can be found on notice boards in all the car parks listed
Visiting during spring and autumn after easterly winds can be good for passage migrant birds
Visible migration and seawatching is often best from the southern end of the reserve, either Crook Bank or Mablethorpe North End
The NNR size, layout and areas of dense scrub can be difficult, but it’s often best to stick to a fairly small area and take a slow walk to see the most
Visiting on a high tide often gives best views of waders and seabirds
Paradise Lagoon (W3W here) is a good place to look for passage waders at the right time of year when muddy edges are exposed
Quarry hill at Rimac is a good vantage point, with views across the saltmarsh and dunes
The dunes at Mablethorpe North End are best for seawatching and visible migration
The willow hedge on the landward side of the dunes from Rimac up towards Brickyard Lane can be a good place to look for migrants, especially on a sunny afternoon
include easy access trail (Rimac), interpretation panels and notice boards. In the local area there are pubs including Crown Inn and New Inn (Saltfleet) both of which serve food and Windmill garage (Saltfleet) for fuel and snacks.