Rye Meads RSPB Reserve (RSPB)
Reserve Name Rye Meads RSPB Reserve
Managing Authority RSPB
3 km (1.8 miles) from A10 and 9.5 km (6 miles) north of M25 (J25) in Hoddesdon. Follow signs for Rye Park into Rye Road.
Parking & Toilet Provision
The car park is tarmaced, although it does have potholes and large puddles appear in wet weather. Accessible toilet facilities off the reserve 100 m from car park, always locked so ask for key at the reserve reception.
Opening times: daily 10 am – 5 pm (closed Christmas and Boxing days).
Charge for non-RSPB and Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust members: Adult -£2.50, child – £1, concession – £1.50, family – £5.
Description of Habitat & Facilities
This is a reserve well suited for disabled birders.
This a great reserve for the novice, as the birds are really close and you don’t have to trudge miles to get to the hides. The short circuit will give you four hides (5 if you can climb the 12 steps to the East Hide) in a 1.2 km round trip with benches along the way. If you push onto the Herts hide this will add another 1km to the total, but the path here can be very wet, making it impassable for wheelchairs. Unless something has been spotted there, this hide can be skipped.
The boardwalk through the reed bed is designed to allow everyone to get right out into the reed bed where you will find yourself surrounded by the song of breeding Reed and Sedge Warbler. From here you can watch the annual battle between the Cuckoo and the Reed Warbler.
The North Hide is a must, as this gives the best views of Kingfisher in the country. It overlooks an artificial nesting bank, where the resident Kingfisher pair raises brood after brood every year. There are perches barely 20 metres from the Hide where the kingfisher rests, before entering the burrow. I’ve seen them wash, preen and mate. They are so close you can even tell the sexes apart. And if that isn’t enough, there is a Kestrel nestbox up on the pylon, which is inhabited most years. You have to climb steps to this hide, but there is a wheelchair accessible viewing area at ground level. Winter sees plenty of wildfowl including Teal and Goldeneye. Snipe are resident, but Jack Snipe is seen most winters. Green Sandpiper return from September.
The Future: barring any hitches during the planning application process, Rye Meads will be transformed in spring next year! A brand new, fully accessible, Visitor Centre (with, joy of joys, toilets!) will be opened sometime between April & May 2002. The centre will boast views of the wet meadows where Lapwing, Snipe & Redshank breed and a new trail to join the existing one via a new hide which currently overlooks a scrape (reeds have been planted). This year we were treated to good views of Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover and up to 4 Little Egret. This part of the reserve is not currently open to the public, but those who come to one of our Guided Walks are usually treated to a sneak preview! The Reserve will have it’s own dedicated Car Park, and generally the facilities will be upgraded.
Description of Trails
1 Nature trail fully accessible only in dry weather – The concrete paved path from the car park to the reception (60m) can be difficult for people with poor sight. While the paths on the reserve are reasonably ok, the hides could be improved and a few more benches put in.
Number of Hides 6
Description of Hides [By name or number]
5 accessible hides
Date Last Updated