Low Barns Nature Reserve

Low Barns is a valuable wetland reserve and one of County Durham’s most important wildlife sites, located adjacent to the River Wear. The reserve has become important for wildlife due to the wide range of habitats including wet woodland, grassland, open water and river side, which are home to many different types of birds, mammals, plants and insects. However, Low Barns has not always been a haven for local wildlife. Originally farmland, the site underwent sand and gravel extraction until 1964 when the area was given to Durham Wildlife Trust and restored as a nature reserve. In 2003 a redundant sewage treatment works on the site was replaced with a new reedbed habitat and a boardwalk which enabled public access with minimal disturbance to wildlife. The site’s flat terrain and large accessible bird hides make it an ideal place to visit for everyone. The Visitor Centre has a coffee shop that sells light refreshments, books, gifts, locally made bird boxes and a full range of bird food and feeders from the award winning Vine House Farms. The centre and bird hides provide a wealth of information on how Low Barns was created and the wildlife it supports. Screens in the centre show images from the bird feeding station and bird boxes around the site, and there is a display of wildlife photography provided by the Low Barns Photography Group.
Red Kite © www.brianraffertywildlifephotographer/blogspot.com


Durham Wildlife Trust, Low Barns Nature Reserve, Witton-le-Wear, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 0AG.


  • Off road sections



  • Car parking
  • Cycle parking
  • Disabled
  • Pushchair


Facilities nearby: 

  • Accessible toilets
  • Cafe
  • Shop
  • Toilets