Linford Lakes Nature Reserve

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    About Linford Lakes Nature Reserve

    Linford Lakes Nature Reserve, at Great Linford, was established as a wildfowl research centre in 1970 following decades of mineral extraction in the area. Previously known as Hanson Environmental Study Centre, The Parks Trust purchased the site in 2015 and it is now known as Linford Lakes Nature Reserve and Study Centre. The site continues to be used as a nature reserve and a base for environmental education. It is widely regarded as the most biodiverse site in Milton Keynes.

    This site is only open to permit holders - annual permits can be purchased here.


    The 37 hectare site consists of a large lake, reedbeds, wet woodland and several small meadows interlaced with a number of smaller lakes and ponds. Four bird watching hides are located giving fine views of the wildlife and beautiful scenery. The lakes attract a good variety of wildfowl and passage wading birds and breeding birds include Barn Owl, Cuckoo and Common Tern. In early spring, one of the islands supports a thriving heronry and good views can be obtained of Herons and Little Egrets on their nests. In winter, rare visitors include Bittern, Great White Egret and Short Eared Owl. The woodland and meadows support a wide variety of mammals including Water Shrew, Otter, Harvest Mouse and hedgehog and a dedicated group of volunteers studies the mammal populations. Foxes, deer and badgers may sometimes be glimpsed on early morning visits. Linford Lakes is also known for important populations of insects, especially dragonflies and moths.

    Friends of Linford Lakes & Open Days

    For non-permit holders, the Friends of Linford Lakes (FoLLNR) run Open Sunday events on the third Sunday of each month, so members of the public can visit the site for free on those days and see if it is for them. Outside of the bird nesting season, a circular 1.5 mile walk around the whole nature reserve is allowed, taking in a stretch of the River Great Ouse where even more species may be observed. For more information about the Friends of Linford Lakes click here.

    Please note, Open Days are currently suspended due to the situation around COVID-19, however there are a range of events taking place with The Parks Trust's Outdoor Learning Team. Find out more in our what's on section.


    Toilets are available in the study centre, these are accessible only during certain events.

    Free parking is available outside the visitor centre for events and permit holders.

    Other Visitor Information

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

    Dogs are not permitted on this site (with the exception of assistance dogs).

    FAQs: Linford Lakes Nature Reserve Permits

    Facilities at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve
    • Parking

    • Bird Hide

    • Permit Required

    How to get here

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