RSPB Blacktoft Sands

Animal-Centred Attraction


Hiding on the south bank of the River Ouse where it widens to become the Humber Estuary is our magical reserve, Blacktoft Sands.

A wonderful variety of wildlife, from birds of prey like marsh harriers to mammals like hares and water voles, makes its home here.

From our wheelchair-accessible hides, you can get spectacular views about them going about their business, resting, playing and raising families.

In spring look out for marsh harriers performing aerobatic displays and amazing food passes. Also watch elegant avocets raising families on our pools.

In summer look out for the first flights of our young marsh harriers and get close up views of wading birds as they stop to feed on our pools before migrating further south.

Look out for signs of autumn during October, as pink-footed geese return to spend the winter in the Humber and hundreds of ducks appear on our lagoons.

Winter brings an amazing bird of prey roost with marsh harriers and perhaps hen harrier gathering over the reeds before dusk. Also a great time to watch barn owls hunting for prey from our hides and to catch a glimpse of a roe deer in the reeds.

Also throughout the year, look out for wild ponies grazing the reserve. They are creating the ideal conditions for our breeding and wintering wildlife.

Each season is different, and with every visit, you'll spot something new. So don't delay - plan a visit to Blacktoft Sands and see what you can find.

Opening Times

Open daily (except Christmas day) from 9am – 6pm (or dusk if earlier). The reception hide is open daily from 9am - 5pm through April to October, and at weekends from November to March.

We bet you'll never forget the excitement of your first glimpse of the elusive bittern and the sound of its haunting mating boom. And who could fail to be enthralled by our marsh harriers reeling high above, performing breathtaking courtship displays?

Spring and summer is such an exciting time. See rare and beautiful avocets and lapwings on the pools, while you listen to the melodic, chattering sound of smaller birds in the reedbed. Spot water voles feeding along the edges while dazzling dragonflies whizz by.

Winter brings stunning aerial displays from hunting birds of Prey, and hundreds of ducks fleeing the cold Arctic weather. Fantastic views of hen harriers and marsh harriers swooping low over the reeds chasing teals and wigeons are definitely no to be missed.


Type Price
RSPB/WEX members £0.00
Child non-member £1.00
Adult non-members £4.00
Family non-members £7.00


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