Nunnery Lakes Reserve

Nunnery Lakes Reserve

The BTO’s Nunnery Lakes Reserve is a County Wildlife Site which lies to the south of Thetford between the Rivers Thet and Little Ouse. It follows a series of lakes created by old gravel workings, and contains a rich variety of Breckland habitats within a relatively small area. These include dry, sandy heathland, wet woodland and flood meadow, which are home to a remarkable range of resident and seasonal wildlife.

Around sixty species of birds breed here (DOCX, 198.75 KB)  and many more overwinter or pass through (DOCX, 197.21 KB) . Notable species include Water Rail, Curlew, Barn Owl and Kingfisher. There are Water Vole, Otter, Grass Snake, Common Lizard and a wide variety of butterflies and dragonflies. Several scarce Breckland plants occur here, including Tower Mustard and Mossy Stonecrop. The Nunnery Lakes Discovery Trail is a series of interpretation panels to guide you around the lakes, and a leaflet is available from BTO reception during office hours, or for download - Reserve Discovery Trail Leaflet (PDF, 300.04 KB) . You can also download a Discovery Trail photo ticklist (PDF, 331.43 KB) of wildlife you might see around the Discovery Trail. We hope you enjoy your visit.

BTO Reserve map - boundaries and paths

Select image to enlarge.

Access to the reserve

The reserve is open during daylight hours and free for people to visit and quietly enjoy the countryside. Apart from Arlington Way, paths are unsuitable for wheelchairs but access can be arranged by contacting info [at] bto.org in advance. There are three entrances, each with an information panel and map.

A path runs along the River Thet from Arlington Way across a meadow to Nunn’s Bridges, where there is parking beside the Little Ouse. The path continues south along the Little Ouse to a second bridge where a left turn, away from the river, leads to a kissing gate on the right, and a track which runs to the lakes. From the car park at the BTO, Nunnery Place leads to a track to the river, and beyond the bridge the kissing gate to the lakes is on the right.

General Information

• The nearest toilets are on Nunnery Place at the back of the BTO (during office hours only)

• The distance from the Nuns’ Bridges to the Lakes and back is about 3kms/1.5 miles.

• It is advisable to wear walking boots.

• BTO reception is open 9am–5.30pm Mon–Thurs and 9am–5pm Friday.

• All paths are way-marked.

• Please keep all dogs on a lead.

Support the Reserve

Got a few hours you could spare? Why not become a Friend of the Nunnery Lakes Reserve and get involved in looking after and improving Thetford's wonderful nature reserve.