Lakenheath Fen RSPB

Image of Lakenheath Fen RSPB birding site

Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve is located on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, between Lakenheath and Hockwold cum Wilton. This reserve comprises a mixture of wetland and woodland sout of the Little Ouse, and forming part of a network of Fenland nature reserves which include Wicken Fen, Chippenham Fen and Woodwalton Fen.

Until 1995, when purchased by the RSPB, the land now forming the reserve was heavily farmed arable land (mainly carrots). Since then, the 740-acre site has been turned back into the reed beds and grazing marshes that would once have been common in the area.

Despite being created fairly recently, Lakenheath Fen is a haven for wildlife, and the number of birds seen at the reserve has increased significantly. The number of Reed warblers rose from four pairs in 1995 to 355 pairs in 2002. Reed buntings have increased from 6 to 87 pairs during the same period. Two pairs of Marsh harriers nested for the first time in newly created reed in 2002. Great crested grebes and Little grebes are breeding on the meres, and Water rails have nested in the new reeds. Bearded tits have stayed on the reserve throughout the winter, as have Bitterns, along with a Whooper swan roost. Common cranes have been found to be breeding at the fen for what is believed to be the first time in 400 years. Bewick's swan, Short-eared owl, Merlin and Hen harrier have also been known to appear at Lakenheath Fen.

RSPB Lakenheath Fen is home to a significant proportion of Great Britain's sightings of the Golden oriole. Though not resident, Golden orioles are recorded as summer passage migrants in Great Britain, and occur in small numbers on the South Coast of England and in East Anglia, with an average of 85 birds recorded annually. Eurasian golden orioles favour RSPB Lakenheath Fen and the surrounding Fenland in East Anglia due to the large number of poplar plantations.


From Lakenheath village, travel north on B1112 for about 2 miles (3.2 km). Go over the level crossing and turn left into reserve entrance. From Hockwold village, travel south on B1112 for nearly 1 mile (1.6 km), go over the river bridge and turn right into reserve entrance.

Access to the reserve is free for RSPB-members, but there is a charge for non-members.

RSPB Lakenheath Fen, Station Rd, Lakenheath, Brandon, Thetford, Suffolk. IP27 9AD

Species recorded

What you might see

  • Canada Goose

  • Greylag Goose

  • Mute Swan

  • Egyptian Goose

  • Common Shelduck