Changes to parking at Attenborough Nature Reserve

Changes to parking at Attenborough Nature Reserve

Richard Parkin

Since opening the Attenborough Nature Centre back in 2005, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has relied upon income from voluntary car park donations to contribute towards the running costs of the reserve, centre and our wider charitable delivery programmes.

In recent years the funding environment has become ever more challenging and despite focussed efforts to reduced costs, the level of income required to sustain our operations has inevitably increased. In 2019, following a major review of our income and expenditure, we conducted a thorough assessment of the options for generating additional income through car parking. This included a number of detailed observational surveys which highlighted that only 34% of visitors were contributing via our voluntary donation approach.

Having fully investigated and modelled the various options to increase donation levels, and piloting efforts including increased signage, the decision was taken that we need to move to a system of compulsory charging. In making this decision we were determined to ensure that this transition was handled professionally and our focus was to find a system that would generate the maximum level of additional income whilst ensuring that enforcement was handled sensitively.

Alongside the introduction of any new charging system we were also determined to ensure that members would not be obliged to pay additional charges.


We switch from donations to compulsory charging on 1st November 2021 – once some much needed improvements to the car park and work to reduce the likelihood of future flooding preventing visitor access to the car park and nature centre has been completed. Existing Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (NWT) members and permit car park permit holders are able to register their vehicles with us to avoid being charged. Staff and Attenborough volunteers will also be able to register their vehicles to avoid penalty charges.


To ensure that we are able to generate much needed income to invest in the reserve and our wider charitable delivery, car park charges will be enforced. However, we have chosen an operating model that does not rely on punitive enforcement.  Whilst the Trust could have saved money had we chosen a different approach, we were determined to choose a responsible delivery partner and we will be responsible for setting the terms of all future enforcement.


How much will it cost to park at Attenborough?

The cost of parking at Attenborough Nature Reserve remains at £3 for the day, with the first 30 minutes free. You can pay for your parking on site at one of our machines using card or cash or pay with your mobile phone. Just see signs in the car park for details. 

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust members who have registered their vehicles with us are exempt from parking charges on the reserve. See the below FAQ for more details. 

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Will Members be charged?

To say thank you for your ongoing support, all current Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust members will be exempt from parking charges at Attenborough Nature Reserve.

Members can provide registration details of up to two vehicles used by your household. We will hold this information securely so that registered vehicle/s will be recognised each time you visit the nature reserve. Members have been contacted with details of the registration process via post and e-newsletters. Members not currently registered to receive regular email updates should sign up via our website or contact

If you wish to make an additional donation to the Trust while at Attenborough Nature Reserve, please feel free to use the parking payment machines or our online donation form: Alternatively, treat yourself to a coffee and cake within the visitor centre – all profits go back into our charity!

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Will I get clamped?

Our operating partner Park with Ease does not operate a clamping policy. Penalty notices for non-payment of charges will be issued by post and there will be a clear and fair appeal process . Clear signage relating to the operation of the car park and charges will be prominently displayed on site.

How do I register my vehicle?

Existing members, permit car park permit holders, registered volunteers who work at Attenborough Nature Reserve, and staff are eligible for free parking and will have been contacted with instructions detailing how to do this. If you are eligible for free parking but have not received this information please contact

Will my permit count?

Annual parking permits will continue to be valid. If you are a permit holder, you are required to provide registration details of up to two vehicles used by your household. We will hold this information securely so that registered vehicle/s will be recognised each time you visit the nature reserve.

I’m an NWT member and I have purchased an annual parking permit within the last 12 months. If I am exempt from parking charges, can I apply for a refund on my permit?

Yes. If you have purchased an annual parking permit within the last 12 months, we will be in touch with you to discuss an optional refund.

I am a member of another local Wildlife Trust, will I have to pay for parking?

Each Wildlife Trust is an independent, small local charity. There is no formal reciprocal arrangement between Wildlife Trusts with regards to car parking charges. At Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, we are wholly reliant on income from our supporters to create a Wilder Nottinghamshire. Without them, we would not be able to restore wildlife and wild places across the county. We are therefore only able to extend the exemption from the car parking charges to members of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

Does the new parking charge apply to Blue Badge holders?

The charges will apply to all visitors, including Blue Badge holders, unless they qualify for exemption as an NWT Member, as the holder of an existing parking permit, as a member of staff or as a registered volunteer at the reserve.