Celebrating the first five years of a new nature reserve
Willow Tree Fen has been transformed from arable land growing beans and cereal to a more traditional fenland landscape of shallow meres, seasonally flooded pastures, hay meadows and reedbeds.
At one-time the south Lincolnshire fens were a wilderness landscape. However, very little of this wild fenland now remains. Occupying an area of 274 acres, the most significant remaining fragments of wild fenland are Baston Fen and Thurlby Fen Slipe nature reserves. Whilst these two reserves are important for the protection of rare and threatened species of wetland flora and fauna, they are too small to support some of the larger fenland birds and animals, and possibly too small to cope with a changing climate.
The purchase of Willow Tree Fen in 2009 increased Lincolnshire’s wild fenland by 200%. Significantly, the nearby River Glen and Counter Drain provide wildlife corridors between Baston Fen and Thurlby Fen Slipe and Willow Tree Fen.
Willow Tree Fen nature reserve is open at all times.
The main ‘T-shaped’ path is a hard surface farm track. The other paths are mown grass paths.
There is a forward car park for disabled badge holders.
Please note: Willow Tree Fen has been suffering from a range of antisocial behaviour, from cars racing down the track in the evenings to recreational drugs being taken in the bird hides/bottom car park. As a result we have decided to keep the barrier down and the track closed when we are not on site in order to reduce this type of behaviour and prevent it from increasing. The site still remains open to all visitors but parking will be restricted to the top car park when we are not on site.
We are sorry for the inconvenience this causes to visitors and will keep the situation under review.
How to get there
Willow Tree Fen is situated between Baston and Spalding on the road that connects the small hamlets of Tongue End and Pode Hole. The reserve can be seen on the north side of the road, midway between the two hamlets. The entrance is opposite Bank House Farm, from here take the small bridge over the Counter Drain and follow the track down to the buildings. There is a small car park. Please scroll down to see the Google Map. The grid reference is TF181213.
Do not follow the SatNav to get to the nature reserve – it will take you down a very rough track. There is no access to the northern part of Willow Tree Fen from the A151 or West Pinchbeck.
Dogs are permitted provided they are kept on a short lead at all times. Please clean up after your dog and take their mess home with you.
Schools and groups can visit the reserve on either a self-guided basis or led by a warden. Please contact headquarters for a group visit form.
The purchase and restoration of Willow Tree Fen was made possible with financial support from Natural England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership, Environment Agency and the members of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
Thank you to all our volunteers, supporters and sponsors.