Our Reserves

Our small network of reserves provide a range of birdwatching opportunities, from hides overlooking wetland sites to open moorland, feeding stations and scrubland.

Our Reserves

Our small network of reserves provide a range of birdwatching opportunities, from hides overlooking wetland sites to open moorland, feeding stations and scrubland.

The Society wholly owns Walmsley Sanctuary, the first shooting-free sanctuary of its kind in the country. We also jointly own and manage three further reserves with Cornwall Wildlife Trust: Middle Amble Marsh near Wadebridge, Windmill Farm on the Lizard and Maer Lake, near Bude.

We also have management agreements for reserves at Drift Reservoir (west of Penzance), Stithians Reservoir (between Redruth and Falmouth) and Loveny (part of Colliford Lake on Bodmin Moor) with South West Lakes Trust, who are responsible for managing amenity and conservation resources of the reservoirs in the county.

Pillbox Landscape 1 LOW RES

Windmill FArm

Lying at the southern end of the Lizard peninsula, this secluded reserve is a great place to explore.

Walmsley sanctuary

The first shooting-free sanctuary of its kind in the UK, Walmsley is a special place on the edge of the Camel estuary near Wadebridge.

Maer Lake

This under-watched lake near Bude is well worth an explore.


Stithians Reservoir

The large expanse of the reservoir offers varied opportunities to explore, with well-placed hides to enjoy visiting waders, wildfowl and gulls.

Drift Reservoir

The UK’s most southerly reservoir attracts more than its fair share of scarce and rare waterbirds.

Birdwatching Hides in Cornwall

Cornwall has relatively few public birdwatching reserves. Various CWT reserves are open to the public, and the RSPB reserve at Marazion has viewing areas from the adjacent road and footpath access along the eastern side. Additional publicly accessible bird hides in the county include:
Burniere Hide

Situated on the Camel Estuary, this Hide at SW982740 is owned by the Society and is close to Walmsley Sanctuary. The path to the hide can be muddy so boots are recommended and unfortunately wheelchair access is not possible. Leave adebridge on the B3314 Rock to Port Isaac road, passing over the A39 proceed to the old narrow, traffic light controlled Trewornan Bridge and park in the lay-by to the right just before the bridge. Opposite the lay-by there are two gates; enter the field through the left hand one and walk along the field keeping close to the hedge on your right hand side. Beware of large holes.

Enter the second field and continue along the right hand side to the hide. Please do not walk on the Amble Dam itself, and please ensure that all gates are closed and secured after you.
Tregunna Hide

This hide is also on the Camel Estuary but is owned by Cornwall County Council.
Lower Tamar Lake

The Tamar Lakes are sign posted from both the A39 and from the Red Post Road. Situated at SS293112, the lakes are owned by South West Water and South West Lakes Trust. The hide is on the western side of the lower lake; however, the future of this area is presently in the balance due to problems with the dam.

The upper lake is also worth checking; especially when mud is exposed in the spring and autumn although there is no hide at present. Wildfowl appear in good numbers at the site in winter and passage birds include various terns, hirundines and waders. Rarities have included Baird’s Sandpiper, Wilson’s, Grey and Red-necked Phalaropes, White-winged Black Tern, Blue-winged Teal, Spotted Crake and Long-billed Dowitcher.
Crowdy Reservoir

Crowdy Reservoir Hide is near Camelford at SX147840; at the moment the hide is owned by South West Water/South West Lakes Trust and is not locked. Access is either via the footpath from the dam car park or the path along the edge of the woodland. The terrain is rough and unsuitable for wheelchairs.

An excellent reservoir at all times of the year. Breeding birds include Black-headed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Canada Goose, Lapwing and Grasshopper Warbler. Winter species include large numbers of wildfowl. Lapwing, Golden Plover and various birds of prey. Rarities at the site have included Wilson’s Phalarope, Goshawk, Baird’s Sandpiper, Black Duck, Franklin’s Gull, Pied-billed Grebe and Black-winged Pratincole.