Wildlife

Wildlife at Amwell Nature Reserve 

Amwell Nature Reserve, HertfordshireBanded Demoiselle

Amwell Nature Reserve is situated south of Ware and is managed by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. It supports internationally important numbers of wintering wildfowl and is one of four sites in the park that combine to form the Lee Valley Special Protection Area (SPA). There’s plenty to see during the summer too, with breeding birds and dragonflies galore. The reserve includes a mosaic of lakes, rivers, grasslands and woodlands.

Spring through to autumn is a good time to see wading birds, particularly Redshank and Little Ringed Plover which breed here. Common and Green Sandpiper are regular visitors in autumn when water levels are dropped and may be joined by rare waders such as Wood Sandpiper.

In winter the lakes support large numbers of wildfowl including Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Pochard. Teal are also seen feeding in the shallow margins of the lake. Smew are regular winter visitors. The reserve provides an excellent opportunity to see wintering Bittern. Check out the James and White bird hides for elevated views over the reedbeds.

Amwell is one of the best sites in the park for dragonflies and damselflies with 19 species breeding here. The dragonfly boardwalk trail on Hollycross Lake enables you to get close-up views from May to September. Close-by there’s a small meadow of Marsh Orchids, flowering in early June.

In summer there’s a Common Tern colony nesting on special rafts on Great Hardmead Lake. Look overhead for birds of prey including Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and in summer, Hobby. During spring and autumn you may be lucky enough to see an Osprey flying through.

The main viewpoint provides a panorama of the site with views of a heronry and reedbed feeding station. In winter, the Gladwin Hide provides great views of an impressive gull and Jackdaw roost.

Access information

There’s limited car parking available on Amwell Lane, a quarter mile walk from the main viewpoint. Access for wheelchairs (avoiding a railway crossing) is via the towpath, from Ware or Stanstead Abbotts. 

Further information can be found on the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust website (opens in a new window).

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