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Photographs shown above:  © Nigel Sprowell (photos 2 & 3) and © Roy Allen (photos 1 & 5)

This 7 acre (2.8 hectare) reserve includes native tree species and beds of phragmites reed mixed with sedge, plus the remnants of the once-worked Osier Beds.

Whether you are enjoying the peaceful setting, or photographing the wildlife, we hope you enjoy your visit.

Holt Island


The island today

The island today provides a wide range of habitats. When the Osier beds were abandoned the area became overgrown, which changed its appearance and attracted different wildlife. Now it is managed to maintain and encourage a range of plants, insects, birds and mammals. There is a raised boardwalk, which makes the Reserve accessible to prams and wheelchairs and there is plenty of seating, some with picnic tables. The Holt cabin, complete with bench seating, a nature table, books and children's activity sheets and displays is worth a visit.

Plants and wildlife

The island’s plants, which include yellow flag iris, purple loosestrife, comfrey and nettles, provide food for caterpillars of the tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral butterflies.

More willow has been planted in recent years, mainly in an area near the start of the circular boardwalk. This is at a certain height to stop the Muntjac deer eating the new shoots. The willow is harvested in the autumn, after the leaves have dropped, and is used for a variety of projects from living willow structures to baskets and natural chairs.

Birds and insects

You can see Kingfishers on the backwater and the scrub provides excellent cover for Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Reed and Sedge Warblers. The island is home to small mammals, such as voles and shrews. Larger mammals such as foxes, badgers and Muntjac deer live in the dense undergrowth. The open river, ponds and muddy puddles, together with the tree cover, ensure a colourful display of dragonflies and damselflies during the summer months and an ever-present range of insect life.

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