Saltfleetby National Nature Reserve

Location Details


east of the A1031
between Saltfleet and Mablethorpe

The site is located on the coastal dunes to the east of the A1031, between Saltfleet and Mablethorpe. There are seven car parks offering access to the reserve.

The nearest train stations are in Cleethorpes (20 km to the north) and Skegness (25 km to the south). Both stations are served by Central Trains.

There are bus services from Cleethorpes to Saltfleetby, and from Skegness to Mablethorpe.


There is a wide range of accommodation in the area. For more details contact Visit Lincolnshire.


The site can be enjoyed all year, although there are some recommended visiting times: May-June for dune flora, May-October for migrant birds, and the winter months for wildfowl.

Natural England organises many events at the Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes, including nature rambles, bird walks and activities for children (some suitable for wheelchair users). These events are free and pre-booking is not required.


Rimac Trail: a short easy access trail suitable for wheelchair users that also includes two viewing platforms with tactile interpretation panels. The trail gives access to the dunes and freshwater marshes and provides views across the saltmarsh. To download a trail guide click here.

Churchill Lane Trail: this trail will be open in October 2005. The route comprises two trails, Oliver's Trail, a one km circuit, and the Coastguard Trail, a two km circuit. Both explore the freshwater marshes and dunes, while the Coastguard Trail also takes in the beach area. To download a trail guide click here.

Seaview Trail: this comprises three trails that explore the reserve's meadows, dunes and saltmarshes. Wildlife interest on the trails includes meadow flowers, butterflies, wading birds, wildfowl and the natterjack toad.


Guided tours can be arranged for group visits. Contact the Reserve office for details by telephoning 01507 338611.
Between May and September there are public toilet facilities (including facilities for disabled users) at the car park in Rimac (on the A1031, near Saltfleetby All Saints). Alternatively toilet and refreshment facilities can be found in Saltfleet and Mablethorpe.

The following aids are available for loan. Please contact the Reserve office for details:

a self-propelled wheelchair (24 hrs notice is needed prior to visit);

braille and large print leaflets;

an audio tape narrated by Bill Oddie. This can be obtained from either the Reserve office or - complete with a portable tape player - from the Prussian Queen public house at Saltfleet by St Clements.


On the dunes, spring and early summer see species such as mouse-eared hawkweed, cranes-bill, storks bill and cowslips supporting a range of butterflies, including the recently re-established brown argus.


Much of the fore-dune is covered with dense scrub, with sea buckthorn, hawthorn and elder being the dominant species. This provides breeding habitats for a variety of birds, including whitethroat, dunnock, linnet, willow warbler and chaffinch. During the winter the fruits of this scrub are an important food source for many birds, especially fieldfare and blackbirds. These birds are hunted by resident sparrowhawks and owls, with hen-harriers also on the prowl.

The freshwater marsh area - with pools and dykes created by English Nature (now Natural England) - supports many interesting insects and plants, including water plantain, water parsnip, yellow flag and marsh orchids. Among the insect fauna are 11 species of dragonfly and damselfly, various water beetles and a water spider. The marsh area is also home to horse leeches, water voles, water shrews and the rare natterjack toad.

On the saltmarsh and foreshore a variety of specialised plants provide food, shelter and nesting cover for a range of birds, including meadow pipit, skylark, redshank, oystercatcher, ringed plover and little tern. In the winter months, flocks of Brent geese, shelduck, teal, wigeon and many waders feed here.

Occasionally grey and common seals haul out on low tides in this area, although they are wary of people and will quickly move off if approached.

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