This is probably the finest surviving example of the alder carrs of the southern Wolds

This is probably the finest surviving example of the alder carrs of the southern Wolds, growing in small valleys created by streams cutting down through the soft Spilsby Sandstone into the Kimmeridge Clay below. The feature is also represented in the Snipe Dales and Sow Dale reserves. The upper slopes on the sandstone have an abundance of bluebells and red campion, but below the spring line on the impervious clay the ground is permanently wet and the woodland consists chiefly of alder and willow, which have been traditionally coppiced. Marsh-marigolds carpet this woodland floor in spring. Moschatel is also abundant, and there are both native species of golden-saxifrage: the opposite-leaved and the much rarer and rather finer alternate-leaved. In more open places there is a tall herb community, with yellow iris, giant horsetail, meadowsweet and angelica. There is a rich and varied bird fauna. 

Management aims are the restoration of woodland cover in one area of the valley, the restoration of a coppice cycle, and the removal of sycamore, which has become over-dominant in places.


Nearest postcode: PE23 4AS

Please note - postcodes are for the nearest registered address as we are unable to get postcodes for nature reserves. Please use the maps provided here to locate the entrance to the reserve.


Nearby nature reserves

Sow Dale
2 miles - Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Furze Hill
3 miles - Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Snipe Dales
4 miles - Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

North of the A16 between Spilsby and East Keal.
Map reference
TF 385648
Great for...
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
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Opening Times
Open at all times
11.90 hectares

Terrain can be difficult, please contact the Trust for access information.
Walking information
Please keep to the waymarked route. There is no circular route: it is necessary to retrace your steps. It is not a suitable reserve for visits by large numbers or anyone with disability.
There is room for parking on the right-hand verge after a sharp left bend close to a Trust notice.
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01507 526667


Factsheets and guides for your visit