College Lake Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre near Tring
Once a chalk quarry, College Lake Nature Reserve, visitor centre and cafe near Tring in Hertfordshire, has been restored over the last 20 years into a mix of different habitats. As you enter the reserve one of the first sights to greet you is the wide expanse of open water and marshland.
Visitor Centre - College Lake has a brand new visitor centre with a large hide overlooking the marsh area. Refreshments are available in the cafe. Toilet facilities available.
Visit the College Lake website, click HERE.
The marshland is perhaps the most important of the reserve's homes for wildlife, as in the summer it supports a number of breeding waders. These include lapwing and redshank, both of which are rare species. In the lake, common terns nest on specially created islands. In the winter, the inhabitants of the water change, and wintering wildfowl, such as wigeon and teal, from Scandinavia and beyond, use the wetlands for feeding and roosting.
Elsewhere on the reserve, chalk grassland is alive with colour during the spring and summer as a wide variety of flowers come into bloom. These support a range of insects, including a number of rarer butterfly species such as the small blue. Rough grassland provides a home for breeding skylarks, as well as shelter for small mammals, which in turn feed birds of prey such as kestrels and barn owls.
Woodland, scrub and hedgerows are widespread across the reserve, and support a wide variety of wildlife, including finches and tits. In the winter thrushes such as fieldfare and redwings feed on the berries.
An unusual feature of College Lake is the Cornfield Flowers project. Started in the 1980s, College Lake was one of the first places in the country to actively conserve these rare and beautiful flowers, and now produces a glorious show of colour every year during June and July.
Another unusual feature of College Lake are the bird hides which have been transformed into 'works of art' by local artists and school children - come and see if you can spot them.
Opening times: March - October, 9.30am - 5pm. November - February, 9.30am - 4pm
We are sorry but due to the very sensitive nature of the wildlife at College Lake we do not allow dogs.
Parking: on site (bear right as you enter the site), disabled parking near the courtyard.
Toilets (including disabled & baby changing facilities) available in the courtyard and visitors centre.
Picnic benches next to the Barn.
Last Updated: 8 Mar 2016