Summerseat Nature Reserve

The pond at Summerseat nature reserve
A small tortoiseshell butterfly drinking from forget-me-not

Scott Petrek

A fox standing in the bushes and looking into camera

Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Wonderful wildflowers, dazzling dragonflies and magical mammals call this fascinating nature reserve home.


Railway Street,
Near Summerseat Garden Centre

OS Map Reference

SD 793 146
A static map of Summerseat Nature Reserve

Know before you go

7 hectares

Walking trails

Good footpaths on-site.


No general access. Contact the Reserve Manager for more information.


No dogs permitted

When to visit

Opening times

Open by arrangement.

Best time to visit

Spring to Summer

About the reserve

Lying on Summerseat Island, nestled in a bend of the River Irwell, Summerseat Nature Reserve is a mosaic of rich woodland, sun-dappled glades and biodiverse wetland.

Bullfinches flit between oak, willow and poplar trees that stand proudly alongside towering Scots pine and flourishing ash and birch plantations. Woodcock lie expertly camouflaged on the ground, and you never know when you might accidentally startle one of these weird yet completely wonderful birds into the air.

Summerseat Nature Reserve’s two ponds are the perfect place for insect-spotting. Broad-bodied chaser, southern hawker and common hawker dragonflies jostle for position on the lush vegetation with large red and emerald damselflies. Amphibians swim beneath the surface; smooth newts and palmate newts searching for tasty insects and crustaceans.

Though secretive, there is always a chance you could spot roe deer and foxes nipping through patches of wildflowers into the woods; rainbow-bright knapweed, musk mallow, tansy and yellow rattle waving in their wake. Wood mice and shrews scuttle through the undergrowth, and when night falls, rustling leaves herald the arrival of hedgehogs, while pipistrelle bats chatter overhead.

Contact us

Kim Coverdale
Contact number: 01282 704605