Squirrel at Lodge Nature Reserve

The Lodge is the national headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The RSPB administers a 545-acre plot of woodlands and sandy heath with trails and wheelchair access to hides for bird and animal observation.

What to See

Star species at The Lode include the great spotted woodpecker, the spotted flycatcher, the green woodpecker, the hobby, and the nuthatch. In December and January the estate is home to hordes of finches in the farm fields, and winter thrushes abound from January - March. In summer you will see hobbies over the heath areas.

There is more to see than birds, however. In spring the woodlands are lush with bluebells, snowdrops and daffodils. The formal garden areas are at their best from May when the azaleas and rhododendrons come into flower. The heather flowers in August, and in autumn there are over 600 different varieties of fungi.


The story of The Lodge really begins in 1851 when the estate was purchased by Captain Sir William Peel. Before Peel's arrival, the estate was mostly open heathland. Peel began to plant large plantations of trees and built a cottage in Swiss style. The cottage now serves as the gatehouse and shop.

Captain Peel died of smallpox during the Indian Mutiny of 1858 and the estate passed to his brother Arthur Wellesley Peel. It was Arthur Peel who built The Lodge, the main house, in 1870. The land was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence in WWII and used as a storage depot for munitions. In 1961 the RSPB bought The Lodge estate and opened it to the public.

There are formal gardens around The Lodge, with a wide variety of trees, including sweet chestnuts, weeping birch, and fine old cedars. There is a modern terraced fishpond on the south of the house, and two small, walled gardens thick with wisteria and clematis, plus a Victorian terrace. An Iron Age hill fort stands within the estate.

About Lodge
Address: The Heath, Potton, Sandy, Bedfordshire, England, SG19 2DL
Attraction Type: Garden
Location: One mile SW of Sandy towards Potton, off the B1042
Website: Lodge
Email: thelodgereserve@rspb.org.uk
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Location map
OS: TL191 485
Photo Credit: Cameraman, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

Biggleswade Castle - 2.5 miles (Castle) Heritage Rating

Moggerhanger Park - 3.4 miles (Historic House) Heritage Rating

Shuttleworth Collection - 3.4 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Swiss Garden - 3.8 miles (Garden) Heritage Rating

Roxton Congregational Church - 4.5 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Edworth, St George's Church - 5.2 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Little Barford, St Denys - 5.2 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Willington Dovecote and Stables - 5.3 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating

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