Willow Tree Fen photographed by Sarah Craythorne

Reserves & Observatories

Willow Tree Fen Nature Reserve

West of Spalding

Discover Lincolnshire's lost fenland at Willow Tree Fen, a former arable farm now nature reserve brimming with wildlife. As the water returned, so did the wildlife. Look for shelduck, snipe and common spotted orchids.

Willow Tree Fen was once intensively farmed arable land, growing beans and cereals. The Trust purchased the site in 2009 and nature has recovered. Now a more traditional fenland landscape of shallow meres, seasonally flooded pastures, hay meadows and reedbeds, it is rich in wildlife.

Many iconic wetland species are now thriving including lapwing, redshank, skylark, water rail, marsh harrier, shelduck, snipe, greater water parsnip, hairy dragonfly, spined loach and otter.

In 2020, a pair of cranes arrived at Willow Tree Fen and bred on the reserve for the first time - a first for Lincolnshire for at least 400 years. To secure their future on the site, the nature reserve is closed to visitors when cranes are on site (usually around February - October). During this time, the car park is open as a crane viewing area. Our Crane Watch volunteers are on hand to show you the best place to view the cranes at a distance whilst causing minimal disturbance. Binoculars are recommended.

opening times

The reserve is closed whilst cranes are on site. During this time, a Watch Point is provided from the car park at the entrance to the reserve.

more information

Willow Tree Fen
Counter Drain Drove
West of Spalding
PE11 3JH