Know before you go
Parking informationFree car park. Donations welcome. Opening hours are 9:30am - 5:00pm (summer) and 9:30am – 4:30pm (winter). Vehicles left in the car park outside of opening hours will be locked in.
Grazing animalsSheep, sometimes cattle. Dogs must be on a lead at all times for the protection of our livestock and wildlife.
A number of paths run around the reserve. These are unsurfaced and can be rough underfoot, with a number of narrow kissing gates, so aren't suitable for wheelchairs or mobility scooters. We're in the process of upgrading the access network so that wheelchair-users and those with limited ability can enjoy the site.
Wellies are recommended in winter months and wet periods.
Take a look at our Reserve Map to find your way around.
Visitors can access the site outside car park opening hours but will need to park in the layby opposite the entrance gate and walk onto the site from there. If the gate is locked visitors are requested not to park in surrounding lanes to access the reserve. Please do not park in front of the gate as 24 hour access is required for emergency and other large vehicles.
During regular opening hours, please use our own on-site car park. Take a look at our Car Park Map to find it.
Lunt Meadows can also be reached by public transport on bus number 133 from Waterloo Interchange.
When to visit
Opening timesThe site can be accessed openly but car parking opening times are restricted (see above).
Best time to visitYear-round
About the reserve
This spectacular wetland nature reserve, nestled along the meandering River Alt in North Merseyside, wasn’t always the wildlife wonderland it is today. Between 2012 and 2014 it was intensively farmed arable land, and only when it was bought by the Environment Agency for development as a flood storage reservoir (that would double as a nature reserve) did Lunt Meadows become a real destination for bird-lovers.
Spring and summer see the water burst into life as breeding waders flock to the reserve in huge numbers. Lapwings, redshank, dunlin and oystercatchers jostle for position with herons and egrets – we have even had little ringed plovers and avocets breeding at Lunt Meadows. But these aren’t the only water birds to put on a show. Other sightings have included everything from teal, gadwall and ruff to snipe and black-tailed godwits.
Sedge and reed warblers call from deep within the reeds, while if you turn your eyes skyward, you might be lucky enough to spot marsh harriers, barn owls, sparrowhawks or peregrine falcons. Don't miss a winter visit to see our famous short-eared owls hunting over the fields in broad daylight. There is no mistaking that golden face and huge yellow eyes.
If you can tear your eyes away from the birds, make sure you check the watery channels beside the paths for our good friend ‘Ratty’. We are, of course, talking about water voles, and Lunt Meadows has a thriving population within the wet grassland. You can stay up to date with all wildlife sightings on the Lunt Meadows Facebook page, but please note that this isn't run by Lancashire Wildlife Trust.
As well as a nature reserve, Lunt Meadows is a fascinating archaeological site home to one of just a few surviving Mesolithic settlements. Head to the National Museum of Liverpool website for more information about the site’s history and the exciting finds unearthed by archaeologists.
We are over the moon to be able to continue developing Lunt Meadows for the wonderful wildlife that lives here with help from the Landfill Communities Fund through the Veolia Environmental Trust. In December 2020, we also received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to launch 'the Mesolithic and Modern Life' project at Lunt Meadows, a 5-year project aiming to enhance the visitor experience of the site while continuing to improve the habitats for wildlife. This is a partnership project between 5 local organisations (the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Crosby Soroptimists International, the Museum of Liverpool, the Environment Agency and University of Chester, Department of History and Archaeology) and you can find out more about this exciting project by watching the Lunt team's online talks on our Youtube channel.
Of course the reserve also wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of our fantastic volunteers who meet weekly, rain or shine, for practical on-site tasks. Our practical task groups are full at the moment but if you would like to be part of this amazing journey, register your interest as a volunteer and we can get in touch when spaces become available.
PLEASE VISIT RESPONSIBLY
We want our staff, visitors and volunteers to be as safe as possible at Lunt Meadows, so please remember to stay socially distant from those outside of your household or bubble, and please wear a mask or face covering in the enclosed hide. Thank you!