Walk - Legacy Trail 2 - RSPB Lodmoor
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- From the entrance to Lodmoor take the right hand path parallel with the beach.
Depending on the time of year that you visit, the entrance to Lodmoor can be incredibly noisy. In summer you'll be greeted by sights, sounds and smells of over 50 pairs of common terns nesting on small shingle islands. In winter flocks of lapwing and Canada geese feed on the wet grass. Look out for shelduck, they breed here.
Stop at the viewing shelter ...
Whether or not the terns are in town (having come all the way from central and southern Africa), there will be plenty to see. Lots of waterfowl over-winter here, look for waders too. Even though it’s on the edge of town many rarities are found every year.Look up, past Lodmoor, and the land rises into the Lorton Valley largely protected and managed for the benefit of wildlife and people.
- Carry on along the path, parallel with the sea, turning left onto a main path called Beechdown Way.
The water gets deeper either side of you. See how the types of animal and plant change (and then when you look further into the reserve you ought to be able to tell which bits are shallow and which are deeper).
- Turn left at the end of the path walking on the grass verge along Southdown Avenue.
You get some great views of the reserve here, and the pools in front of you are the last to freeze (come here on a cold morning in winter and you should keep your eyes peeled for rare birds). For several years, bitterns, (a rare bird that looks like a brown heron and nearly went extinct from the UK) have been overwintering. This is a great spot to look for them. Kingfishers are also seen around here from time to time.
In winter, there are sometimes large flocks of starlings roosting in the reedbeds, and they coordinate themselves in large murmurations – a fantastic sight to see and hear.
Carry on along Southdown Avenue and when the road ends enter the reed bed.
This is home for many birds (male reed buntings with their black faces and white collars are easy to see all year round), but that is not all. Come along here at night and see Daubenton's bat flying over the water.
- Turn left at the crossroads (turn right and you can head up to Lorton Meadows) and you now have reeds either side of you.
One of the successes of Lodmoor is the breeding of marsh harrier. Rarer than golden eagles, these large birds of prey can be seen gliding over the reeds looking for prey, stay here for long enough and there is a good chance of seeing one overhead.
- Turn left when you can and start heading back towards the sea following the route of the Legacy Trail.
Here you get a great intimate feeling of how the habitat changes as you get closer to the sea. The reeds make way for a more open habitat. If you’re very lucky you may get sight of an otter, they've been seen in the ditch to the right of you. The more open areas are fantastic for close up views of birds you would normally need a telescope to see... look for little egrets (small white herons) as these stand out at a distance.