Lunt Meadows nature reserve has reopened after heavy rainfall caused the River Alt to burst its banks.
Lunt Meadows isn't your ordinary nature reserve. As well as a spectacular haven for wetland wildlife and a peaceful retreat for people seeking solace in nature, Lunt Meadows is a flood storage reservoir. Able to store and slow the flow of water from heavy rainfall and the adjacent River Alt, Lunt Meadows protects local communities living nearby.
So, given that the reserve is actually designed to flood, why did we close it following last week's rain storms?
Why did Lunt Meadows have to close?
Over the weekend of 3 October, the River Alt over-topped the flood spillway into the reserve and with levels exceptionally high in the river, also breached its banks in several locations along the reserve boundary. This caused some damage and instability along the bank which made the area dangerous for visitors and needed repairing as soon as possible.
Is Lunt Meadows now safe to visit?
Yes, Lunt Meadows nature reserve is now open to the public again, but we've made some changes to keep you safe while The Environment Agency works to repair the bank.
Though the damaged areas of the bank have now been reinforced, the bank itself is still unstable and The Environment Agency is working to repair it further, to make this less likely to happen again. Barriers have been put in place while this work is carried out – these prevent access to the river bank from Lunt Meadows nature reserve and will keep you safe during your visit.
Are any other parts of the reserve restricted?
The rest of Lunt Meadows nature reserve is open to the public, so you can still pop by to look for rare wading birds, enjoy the peeping of hundreds of lapwings or simply breathe in beautifully fresh air in a stunning wild place.
If you aren't sure where you can walk around Lunt Meadows at the moment, the map below highlights where routes are restricted to the public for safety reasons (barriers are clearly marked in red).
Please refrain from accessing the river bank until it is safe enough for us to re-open the nature reserve in full. There is still so much to see and we're so grateful for your patience.
If you're new to Lunt Meadows please remember that dogs are permitted on-lead only, and that no bins are present on-site. Please take your litter home with you to keep this nature reserve special for both people and wildlife.