The nature reserve is open to visitors at all times.

Some of the trails and public footpaths are suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs and can be accessed using a Radar key, but other sections have squeeze-gates, steps and stiles. Please speak to a ranger or volunteer for advice about routes and weather conditions.


The car park is next to the Visitors' Centre and holds around 40 vehicles. Coaches need to book in advance.

Visitors' centre

The Visitors' Centre is open from approximately 10am to 5pm most days (except Christmas Day). Please note that as it is run by volunteers, we cannot guarantee it will always be open. The voluntary wardens can answer any questions you have to help you get the most from your visit. You can also pick up information leaflets and maps of the reserve and other local attractions.

In the centre you can also find:

  • a range of light refreshments

  • an up-to-date sightings board/book – feel free to call in at the end of your visit and tell us what you’ve seen

  • a viewing window of the feeding station and the meadow, equipped with binoculars and telescopes

  • a children’s corner with activities for younger visitors

  • bird food and Paxton Reserve Honey for sale.


Toilets are located at the Visitors’ Centre. They are open every day and during the evening when there are events or visiting groups.

Disabled access

There is disabled parking in the car park and wheelchair access to the Visitor’s Centre and toilets. There is also one disabled toilet. Some of the reserve is suitable for wheelchairs via Radar gates, including the Hayden Hide, but other sections have squeeze-gates, steps and stiles.

Many of the paths, such as the Heron Trail and around the Hayling Lake, are accessible to wheelchairs but can become muddy during wet weather. Radar keys are sold in the Visitors’ Centre.

There is an electrical wheelchair which you can borrow from the Visitor’s Centre free of charge - you will need to leave your car keys as a deposit. Please ask the rangers if you would like to use this.

What to wear?

We recommend you wear wellingtons or stout walking shoes in wet weather, especially when using the Meadow Trail, the River Trail, the Sailing Lake trail or the Ouse Valley Way. The Heron Trail remains relatively dry in all but the worst weather conditions.