Paxton Pits Nature Reserve is open to the public all day, every day. A detailed map in the car park shows the trails and public footpaths around the reserve. Leaflets and maps are available from the Visitors' Centre.
Where to walk
There are three guided trails. Pick up an illustrated trail leaflet at the Visitors' Centre, or download the HDC leaflet (pdf, 767Kb).
The Meadow Trail, around the wooded small lakes and meadow of the southern part of the Reserve. This trail is especially good for wild flowers, dragonflies and other insects in the summer. It is about 1½ miles long, includes squeezegates and a set of steps and takes about an hour to walk.
The Heron Trail, north of the Visitors' Centre. This trail is particularly good for watching birds, especially in spring and winter, and includes two hides: the Hayden Hide overlooking the cormorant and heron colonies, and the Kingfisher Hide overlooking one of the best lakes to see ducks in winter. The Trail is about two miles long and takes around 1½ hours to walk. It is mostly wide and hard-surfaced. Most buggies can use the three kissing gates, while wheelchairs can gain access using a RADAR key.
The River Trail, which uses the Ouse Valley Way and parts of the Heronry and Meadow Trails. This Trail takes in many of the best features of the other Trails and also provides wonderful views of the River Great Ouse. It is 3½ miles long and takes about two hours, though there is a short-cut which reduces it to one mile/45 minutes. This Trail includes one set of steps.
In addition, there is a waymarked permissive footpath around the Sailing Lake and the A1 Lakes. In spring and early summer, it provides views of a rookery, a colony of common terns and breeding waders. It is a fairly narrow, often wet, footpath and not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies. The circular walk from the car park takes about 75 minutes.
The Ouse Valley Way runs along the eastern edge of the reserve, and, as it emerges from the northern end of the Reserve, allows viewing of Washout Pit and the southern end of the Island Pit, which holds large numbers of wildfowl during the winter.
Red hexagons - no entry (private land or special conservation area)
Orange trails - public or permissive footpaths (does not imply a right of way)
Yellow pentagons - bird hides (please keep quiet!)
Access gates can be opened with a RADAR key (one can be borrowed from the Visitors' Centre)
Map reproduced from Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service, © Crown copyright