Lackford Lakes


general information

General Information

Lackford Lakes is a wildlife oasis with a landscape of lakes, reeds, meadow and woodland. There is wildlife in close-up all year round from iridescent kingfisher and dazzling dragonflies to elusive otter. Wildlife in close up all year round In spring, listen to the sound of singing birds with the arrival of nightingales and warblers from Africa. The first bees and butterflies start to make appearances on bright spring days. Later in summer, the reserve is alive with damselflies and dragonflies. Swallows and martins sweep over the surface of the water feeding on small flies.

The lakesides are busy with nesting great-crested grebe, tufted duck and water rail. Bright stems of purple-loosestrife, common fleabane and gipsywort create colour at the water's edge. Gold and red colours mark the coming of autumn and the arrival of a wide range of wildfowl. Birds including shoveler, lapwing, goosander, bittern and goldeneye depend on the lakes during the winter months.

Enjoy coffee, cake and kingfishers!  Lackford Lakes visitor centre is open 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. With stunning views across the nature reserve from our upstairs gallery, you can enjoy the great outdoors in comfort, whatever the weather.

"Lovely place to see kingfishers" 
  • Large car park in front of visitor centre
  • 6 km of trails & nine bird hides. View trail map
  • All weather paths offer year round access
  • Coffee shop & picnic area
  • Toilets - wheelchair access and baby changing facilities
  • Family activities - come into the centre for free spotter sheets and to find out about our regular events
  • Binocular hire
  • School visits, led by our Education Officer
  • Sorry, no dogs


Special Offers

More Info

more information

More Information

Lackford Lakes is 121 hectares of wetland, woodland, scrub and sandy heath created from former gravel pits. A nature reserve with year round importance for wildlife, it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its birds and dragonflies. 


Lackford Lakes is a wildlife haven created after gravel digging in a unique partnership between CEMEX and Suffolk Wildlife Trust. It was enlarged in 2005 with a grant from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund and legacy gifts to the Trust. This inspiring nature reserve shows what can be achieved for wildlife when industry and conservationists share a vision and work together to fulfil it.


Lackford Lakes is a good place to see birds at any time of the year. Residents like kingfisher, water rail and pochard are joined by seasonal visitors. A winter visit is rewarded with flocks of wildfowl and a large gull roost. More species arrive in spring, including sedge warblers, nightingale and little ringed plover. In high summer look for hobby hunting over the lakes or buzzards soaring overhead.

Bird species list 2016

Bird species list 2015

BTO monthly bird list


A walk during the summer months is puncuated by flashes of colour. The larger hawker species hunt around the lakes whereas banded demoiselle prefer the fast flowing streams.

Dragonfly species list

Butterflies and moths

Butterfly species list

Moth species list

Flowering plants

A variety of wetland plants grow around the margins, including yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife. Areas of marshy ground support other wetland species such as southern marsh orchid and hemp agrimony. Vipers bugloss, common storksbill and other plants that are adapted to dry conditions grow on sandy ground.

Lackford Lakes meadows plant species


Lackford Lakes is home to many different mammals. Secretive otters fish in the streams and lakes. Stoats and weasels are easier to spot as they dart across the paths hunting for mice, voles and rabbits. You are most likely to encounter muntjac deer, but roe and red deer are also present.

  • categories


    • Outdoor Activities
    • Walks & Picnics
    • Wildlife & Nature


Babies (0-1), Toddlers (1-3), Pre-Schoolers (3-5), Juniors (5-13)


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