Attenborough | Nature Reserves | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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This beautiful complex of flooded former gravel pits and islands provides 360 acres of exceptional habitat for a wide range of plants, birds and other wildlife. The Nature Reserve is nationally designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the award-winning Nature Centre is an ideal gateway to this natural haven.

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Anyone wishing to support the care and management of this popular nature reserve can do so by clicking on the button below.

How to get to Attenborough

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Attenborough Nature Centre and Reserve are situated just off the A6005 between Beeston and Long Eaton (SK515339). Turn onto Barton Lane at the traffic lights at Chilwell Retail Park (McDonalds and Porcelanosa). Follow Barton Lane with the Village Hotel on your left, over the railway crossing and the car park is at the bottom. You can also follow the brown tourist signs from the A52 between the M1 exit at junction 25 and Bardill’s Garden Centre. For SatNav purposes use NG9 6DY.

Why not explore this nearby reserve? Chilwell Meadow


Click here to find out more about the award-winning Attenborough Nature Centre at the heart of the reserve.

We are being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue to improve the visitor experience and facilities at Attenborough Nature Centre and are very keen to get your feedback. Please help us by taking part in this survey

Attenborough Nature Reserve was established in 1966 and opened by Sir David Attenborough. It owes its current appearance to gravel and sand extraction and careful restoration work. Extraction began in 1929, and still takes place today just upstream of the nature reserve. The material left over after the extraction process formed the various islands and shallows which, together with the open water, created a mosaic of habitats that are attractive to many different birds. Between the ponds are drier areas of scrub and grassland as well as native willow trees.

The reserve is best known for its birds. The area is an important site for winter wildfowl and often holds a high proportion of the county's shoveler and diving ducks, with larger numbers of mallard, teal, and occasionally wigeon. Scarcer wildfowl such as sawbills and sea ducks are recorded regularly and cormorants are common. All the British grebes have been recorded. In the spring and autumn, many migrants birds pass through and the Delta area attracts a wide range of waders in small numbers including the iconic bittern. In the summer, the breeding birds include great crested grebe, shelduck, little ringed plover and common tern. A substantial population of reed and sedge warblers, and some rarer species such as grasshopper warbler, may also be present.

As well as discovering the birdlife of Attenborough, lots of other wildlife can be found on the reserve. In the spring and summer the reserve is a hive of activity with butterflies visiting the many wild flowers and dragonflies and damselflies hunting and patrolling the water’s edge. Foxes, voles, shrews, harvest mice, otters and bats also make their home here in the reserve.

If you Love Attenborough Nature Reserve you can help us care for it by donating via the button below.


Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers work hard to maintain and develop the diverse habitats at Attenborough. This includes maintenance of the footpath network and public areas, as well as designated areas of restricted access (such as the Delta Sanctuary) where the diversity of habitats and associated flora and fauna must be maintained. Much work has been done around the reserve to create new reedbeds and extend existing ones, and to re-landscape specific areas of the reserve to attract and encourage more wildlife.


The Nature Centre is a great place to discover more about the reserve and its wonderful wildlife, as well as enjoying the interactive displays, shop and café facilities. Attenborough’s three hides (one of which is raised for the perfect vantage point) are ideal places to observe the birdlife without disturbing their peaceful habitat.
There is ample car parking and the majority of the reserve is wheelchair-accessible. Visitors can follow one of the two signposted walking routes around the reserve, or join in one of the regular guided walks.

We are being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue to improve the visitor experience and facilities at Attenborough Nature Centre and are very keen to get your feedback. Please help us by taking part in this survey

Why not visit the Nature Centre website for more information:

Opening times

Access to the Nature Reserve: 7am-dusk

Nature Centre opening times:

SPRING & SUMMER (April – October)
Weekdays: 10am – 5pm
Weekends & Bank Holidays: 9am – 6pm
AUTUMN & WINTER (November – March)
Weekdays: 10am – 4pm
Weekends & Bank Holidays: 9am – 6pm
Christmas Eve 10am - 3pm
Only closed on Christmas Day
(Times subject to change)


Events at Attenborough

Beeston Wildlife Group Walk

Saturday 23rd June 2018

Join the group for a guided walk around Attenborough Nature Reserve. 10am - 1pm. Meet in the car park.
Contact: Nigel Slater 0115 916 6518 or Martin Butler 07847 015 151
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News from Attenborough

We’re being supported by funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Thursday 26th January 2017

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is delighted to receive funding again for its woodland wildlife experiences for children and families during 2017.

Find out more


Another first for much loved Nottinghamshire nature reserve

Thursday 1st September 2016

Attenborough Nature Reserve continues to reveal new species thanks to the eagle eyed staff.

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Attenborough Exhibits Michael Warren Originals

Tuesday 19th April 2016

Renowned wildlife artist to hold special exhibition to raise funds for work at much loved Attenborough Nature Reserve over 50th Anniversary weekend.

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Springtime is here at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Thursday 24th March 2016

Shake off those winter cobwebs and get back to nature this April with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. There is a packed schedule of events with a variety of activities suitable for the whole family and wildlife lovers of all ages and interests are encouraged to get involved and try something different.

Find out more


Wildlife Trusts Reserves Come 1st & 2nd in Britain’s favourite nature reserve

Thursday 4th February 2016

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is proud to announce that it’s Attenborough Nature Reserve has been chosen by voters in LandLove Magazine’s Awards as Britain’s second favourite nature reserve.

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The eyes have it

Monday 11th January 2016

A species of flatworm, so new to science it doesn’t even have a name yet, has recently been confirmed at the Attenborough Nature Reserve, near Nottingham…..

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Wildlife Trust Wetland Wildlife Weekend

Thursday 19th November 2015

This weekend, Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd November 2015 is the Wildlife Trusts Wetland Wildlife Weekend.

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Much loved nature reserve gears up for another ‘Bioblitz’

Monday 15th June 2015

Staff and volunteers at Nottinghamshire Wildlife’s Attenborough Nature Reserve are gearing up for their annual wildlife surveying spectacular, an event known as a Bioblitz. The aim of the two day event is to gather data on a range of wild species, from plants and insects to birds, mammals and fish to help ensure that the site is in good heatlth and to help shape decisions about the future management of the site. Speaking about the Bioblitz, Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “Survey records are the starting point for all good conservation work. We need to know what species are living on a site in order to be able to make informed decsions about how it should be managed. On an established nature reserve such as Attenborough, regular species surveys help us to check if management is working and helps us spot positive and negative trends in species populations. If we notice that a species is on the increase this may be a sign that management is working or if we note species are in decline we can sometimes do more to help them. The other real benefit of Bioblitz events is that people get to see, enjoy and learn about a wide range of species.

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Bittern Young at Attenborough!

Tuesday 9th June 2015

Wildlife Trust hopes that first time breeding success could be the start of a mini bittern population boom.

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Join us as we celebrate 10 years of success at Attenborough Nature Centre

Friday 13th March 2015

Join Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust as we celebrate 10 years of success at the Attenborough Nature Centre. Our ‘birthday’ weekend on March 21st & 22nd will be packed with family friendly activities and great opportunities to enjoy the site’s wildlife.

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Rare Bat roost found at Attenborough

Thursday 10th October 2013

A rare migratory bat, the Nathusius’ pipistrelle, has been discovered roosting for the first time in Nottinghamshire.

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Tern up for the books

Thursday 12th September 2013

The arrival of a rare white-winged black tern has caused real excitement at Attenborough Nature Reserve in the past few days.

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Fact-sheets for Attenborough

Attenborough Nature Reserve Visitor Information

Attenborough Nature Reserve Visitor Information

Click to download a printable Visitor Information pack, including a map showing the layout of the nature reserve and walking trails.

Download Factsheet


Attenborough photo gallery:


Atmospheric Attenborough

A video highlighting the sights and sounds of our atmospheric Attenborough Nature reserve, created by one of our wonderful volunteers Russell Bingley[].

For more information about Attenborough please go to

Watch the full clip on YouTube


Attenborough Nature Reserve Aerial Video

An Aerial video of Attenborough Nature Reserve filmed by Stuart Eggerton and Suzanne Hemsley.  Filmed with a radio contolled model glider and a GoPro video camera.

Music by Kevin MacLeod

For more information on the reserve please go to

Watch the full clip on YouTube


Bridge over Troubled Water - Building the bridge over the floods to Attenborough Nature Centre 2012

When staff at Attenborough Nature Centre, Nottingham, arrived at work on Tuesday 27th November, they were in for a big surprise…flooding overnight had created a 30 metre lake, blocking access to the popular tourist attraction. Despite having to close for the day, our staff fought back, determined that the Centre would not be inaccesible for much longer. So, armed with only a few pairs of wellies, in only 2 hours,…

Watch the full clip on YouTube


Birds galore! Attenborough Nature Reserve - view from Kingfisher Hide

Ever wondered what you’ll see if you sit in a bird hide at feeding time? This wonderful video captures the view from Attenborough Nature Reserve’s Kingfisher Hide, as the birds enjoy the feeding table. Attenborough is one of over 70 reserves managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Find out more:
Thanks to for this lovely video. Jack is one Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s volunteers.

Watch the full clip on YouTube


reed warbler cam at Attenborough Nature Centre

Attenborough have rigged up a camera on a reed warbler nest playing live in the cafe.  There are 5 eggs and we expect them to hatch any day.

Watch the full clip on YouTube


grebe dance

Great Crested Grebes courting ritual from Attenborough Nature reserve,

Watch the full clip on YouTube


Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Promotional Video

A short film about the work of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. The film was shown as part of the Community Channels Untold Stories series. It was produced under the Volunteer Films scheme,  in which small charities are given the opportunity to work with volunteers in the TV and Video production industry.

Watch the full clip on YouTube


Bittern at Attenborough Nature Reserve

Footage of the rare and elusive bittern taken by Paul Wetton at Notts Wildlife Trust’s Attenborough Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Nottingham in January 2010. This bird is one of up to seven bitterns have been spotted at Attenborough Nature Reserve in early January 2010. Reserve spokesman Tim Sexton said: “It is extremely exciting news for the reserve as they are probably the most rare bird in the UK.…

Watch the full clip on YouTube


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