Nestling in the heart of the Rusland Valley, between Windermere and Coniston in the Lake District,Hay Bridge Nature Reserve is a special place. Because it is privately owned, access to the Reserve is limited to members of the Hay Bridge Nature Reserve Society, or by arrangement with the Warden.
Woodland, pasture, open tarn, fen, raised bog, riverbank, fell; such a diverse range of habitats, in such a relatively small area, leads to an equally diverse and varied range of flora and fauna.
Hay Bridge has been established as a nature reserve for thirty years. Originally designated as a wildlife reserve and deer sanctuary by Helen ‘Tissie’ Fooks, in memory of her husband, the reserve is now owned by the John Strutt Conservation Foundation (JSCF), who manage their land to maintain and enhance the diverse range of habitats.
Both the JSCF and the Hay Bridge Society are registered charities, with the twin aims of education and conservation. Now as tenants of the JSCF, the Society’s members have access to the Reserve, subject to some restrictions, and have use of the Study Centre building, which houses rest room and drink making facilities (Members’ Area), as well as a substantial ‘Interpretation Centre’ for the natural history of the Reserve, the Rusland Valley and the Furness Fells beyond.