Breathtaking walk on the Nottinghamshire border almost nobody knows about

There were plenty of bird hides on the site
-Credit: (Image: Laycie Beck)

Now that the rainy days are starting to clear up (sort of) and the warm weather is rolling in, many of us are looking to spend more time outdoors. Whether going on a family stroll, taking the kids on a bike ride or taking the dog for a lengthy walk, there are plenty of stunning landscapes to explore across Nottinghamshire.

However, on the edge of the county border, there is a hidden gem nature reserve that most people don't know about. Located in a small village called Besthorpe, a few miles from Newark and the Lincolnshire border, the Besthorpe Trent Vale Reserve is a haven for wildlife.

The site is run by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and is a former industrial site that is now home to all sorts of wildlife, including a large variety of birds. Once you are on A1133, you will see signs for the nature reserve just as you reach the edge of Besthorpe, but beware as after the turning it's not long before the road becomes single-track and extremely bumpy.

Besthorpe Trent Vale Reserve is a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust site
Besthorpe Trent Vale Reserve is a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust site

Drivers should take their time on the road, as it is more like a farmland path, but eventually it will take them to a car park, probably big enough for a dozen cars. The reserve is a lot larger than how it first appears at an estimated 70 hectares, full of open water, wildflower meadows, bird hides and grassland.

We decided to have a walk around the site, and after parking up it wasn't long until I was surrounded by nature. The wildflower meadows were stunning and in the distance, I could see a dozen sheep or so lounging around the grass.

I also found one of the bird hides, which was right on the water and had loads of helpful information sheets. Rather than the water just being a large pond it was nice to see that it had a few little islands in it as well as reedbeds and some ducks.

It was incredibly quiet and peaceful, and the views of the water were breathtaking. The path around the reserve was also fairly flat, and the part I went on was definitely accessible so could be used by wheelchair users or those with pushchairs.

Some of the wildflowers on the reserve
Some of the wildflowers on the reserve

There were also a few signs saying that dogs are welcome as long as they are on a lead at all times. I was the only person that had a car in the car park and I didn't see anyone else during my visit, but I'm sure a lot of the local residents of Besthorpe must walk to the site to enjoy it.

It would be far too tempting to have something like that on your doorstep and not want to go out and explore. From all of the bird hides I could see it also seems like it is a great place for keen bird watchers and wildlife photographers.

According to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the best time to visit the site is between April and July. As I visited in June, I would be inclined to agree with this as all of the flowers had bloomed and the ground was relatively dry and easy to walk on. However, I can imagine like most places it can get rather muddy and unstable in wet weather and the winter months due to all of the wetland areas.