**We are pleased to say that the barriers are now open each day for vehicle access. The coffee shop is now open as a takeaway service every day from 10am - 4pm. The toilets in the visitor centres are also open.**
The reserve is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has become important for wildlife due to the wide range of habitats including wet woodland, grassland, open water and river side, which are home to many different types of birds, mammals, plants and insects.
However, Low Barns has not always been a haven for local wildlife. Originally farmland, the site underwent sand and gravel extraction until 1964 when the area was given to Durham Wildlife Trust and restored as a nature reserve. In 2003 a redundant sewage treatment works on the site was replaced with a new reedbed habitat and a boardwalk which enabled public access with minimal disturbance to wildlife.
The site’s flat terrain and large accessible bird hides make it an ideal place to visit for everyone.
There are three lakes and interconnecting streams, a number of mature ponds with extensive reedbeds and a wet pasture. The small ponds on the reserve are excellent for viewing damselflies and dragonflies such as the striking southern hawker, and also support amphibians such as common frog and smooth newt. The lakes and open water support good numbers of wildfowl, including overwintering bittern, and kingfishers are regularly seen.
The woodlands and grasslands on site add to the diversity of bird life throughout the year, from spectacular displays by flocks of roosting starlings to snipe, flycatchers and tawny owls.
There are several very well appointed bird hides across the reserve that are open to all visitors, and DWT members are able to purchase a key so that they can access the site out of hours when the wildlife is at its best.
Patient visitors may be rewarded by sightings of otter, fox, roe deer and stoat. Plant life is extremely rich and too numerous to list but as a result there are good numbers of butterflies on site, including dingy skipper and small copper.
Low Barns Nature Reserve has a flat terrain and a network of surfaced paths
The reserve, a great place to visit, has flat terrain and a network of surfaced pathways linking the bird hides allowing easy access for all visitors. The visitor centre on the site offers a coffee shop, web cam viewing of the bird feeders, wildlife photography displays, and local crafts. A great place to visit at any time of year.
Entrance to the reserve is free but we suggest a donation of £2.50 for parking for non-Durham Wildlife Trust members.
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
- Very Good24
- wildfirejcLydd, United KingdomFantastic place - over 20 different birds within an hourFriday, 13th September 2019The weather was pretty wet - but sitting in a hide, watching about 20 species of different birds flying in and out - around the feeders within the first hide was exceptional. The reserve is well... Read full review
- 764graemehDurham, England, United KingdomTrip Type:CouplesRecovery takes timeThursday, 6th August 2020It never ceases to amaze me: How Nature survives in the Wild; When you look at little Chicks with Mum: All, so Meek and Mild! Rain, Storm, Wind and Cold with only Shrubs and Trees to Protect; Whilst... Read full review
- weldonwaresDarlington, United KingdomTrip Type:Friends getawayLovelyWednesday, 25th November 2020Went for a walk last Sunday to get some fresh air into our lungs and a bit of exercise and chose Low Barns as I had never been before. The weather was not great so we didn’t want a huge long walk so... Read full review
|2021 (1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2021)|
* Car park barriers now open from 9.30 – 16:30 – Visitor Centre, office and café still closed.