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Mickle Mere

Sitting in Mickle Mere's single wooden hide, whether alone or with other birdwatchers, it's hard not to feel a quiet sense of anticipation.

At 41 acres, this glistening mosaic of wet meadows, open water and sedge fringed ditches, is by no means as big as reserves such as Lackford Lakes.

But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in interest, with a rich variety of birdlife visiting the site all year round – from geese and waders to the odd white tailed eagle.

Lying in a valley next to the River Black Bourn, part of what was once a corridor of grazing marshes running from Elmswell to Euston, the very existence of Micklemere is something of a fluke.

When the Ixworth bypass was built in the early 1990s across the north west corner of the site, a new sluice network to connect the ditches to the river failed to work, resulting in regular floods. What was once improved grazing marsh with little wildlife interest soon became the wonderful wetland habitat we have today.

Although Micklemere’s creation owes much to luck, the restoration and management of the site – through the creation of islands and scrapes – has seen numbers of breeding, wintering and passage birds soar. During the winter, teal, wigeon, gadwall and shoveler are frequent visitors, while passage birds include greenshank, bar-tailed godwit, black tern and ruff. In the summer, shelduck, redshank and lapwing all breed at the reserve. The patient (and the lucky) might also get to see Micklemere’s reclusive otters.

The site is easily reached and always open, with parking available close by at Pakenham Water Mill. Turning right out of the car park, the entrance to the reserve is 100m away on the right hand side of the road (the hide is in view).

Due to the site’s size the hide is the only way of experiencing the Micklemere, so don’t expect a long walk – but do expect to be won over by a genuine wildlife gem.

 

Mickle Mere trail map - click to view

Mickle Mere has benefited from a gift in the will of Bill Payne.

 

Species and habitats

Habitats
Wetland
Species
Lapwing, Kestrel, Little Egret, Reed Bunting, Water Mint, Otter, Water Vole

Nearby nature reserves

Black Bourn Valley
3 miles - Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Market Weston Fen
7 miles - Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Knettishall Heath
7 miles - Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Near Ixworth
Ixworth
Suffolk
IP31 2NB
Map reference
TL937696

GPS Info
Follow brown sign to and park at Pakenham watermill. Pedestrian entrance on the left 100m south of carpark.

Great for...
birdwatching
overwintering birds
spring migrant birds
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
17.00 hectares
Status
County Wildlife Site
Access
Yes

Good access to hide all year round, wheelchair and pushchair accessible. The hide is wheelchair accessible along a short path from the road
Parking
Pakenham Watermill 100m from the hide
Dogs
No dogs allowed
Grazing animals
yes
Reserve manager
Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01284 728541

Downloads

Factsheets and guides for your visit