Loder Valley Nature Reserve

Get closer to wildlife in our 150-acre nature reserve, home to 300 plant species as well as dormice, badgers, kingfishers, butterflies and more local species.

Loder Valley Nature Reserve

Wildlife abounds in this haven of peace and tranquillity where you can observe nature at its finest. 

Dormice, wildflowers, the marsh tit and butterflies flourish in the Loder Valley Nature Reserve. Kingfishers can often be seen beside Westwood Lake. 

The reserve consists of a matrix of habitats including wetlands, meadows and Wealden woodland. Bird hides allow you to view a wealth of species including herons, ospreys, hobbies and little egrets. 

Nature trails 

Red trail 

A beautiful walk around part of the Ardingly Reservoir, which passes through woodland and meadowland. There is a specially-built sandy bank that attracts breeding kingfishers.  

The Hanging Meadow shimmers with wonderful wildflowers in spring and summer and rich insect life – just as it was before the invention of modern herbicides.   

Green trail 

A more strenuous walk, almost entirely through woodland. Steep woodland slopes lead to impressive views across the valley. The undergrowth of brambles and hazels provides dense cover and food for the native hazel dormouse. You might spot one of the 300 dormouse nesting boxes in the reserve, monitored by Wakehurst rangers as part of our support for The Dormouse Recovery Programme.  

Pick up a trail map from the admissions kiosk on arrival to the gardens to help discover the Loder Valley for yourself.

Visiting the reserve 

A permit is required to visit the reserve and a map is essential – please ask at the admissions kiosk for more details.

Sensible shoes should be worn – and a pair of binoculars and a camera would be a good addition for your visit. Photography here must be for personal use only. 

Please be respectful to all wildlife you encounter. It is an offence to knowingly disturb kingfishers close to their nests during breeding season.  

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