Leighton Moss boasts the largest reed bed in north-west England and is home to a wide range of spectacular wildlife including bitterns, otters, bearded tits, marsh harriers and red deer. Sitting within the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and on the edge of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District National Park, the reserve is in a stunning location.
The visitor centre and reserve are open all year round (except Christmas Day)
The Visitor Centre facilities offer a shop that stocks a wide range of birdcare and gifts; a café that serves main meals, snacks, cakes and hot and cold drinks. The toilets are situated in the visitor centre and includes an accessible toilet and baby changing area.
There is level access from the main entrance to:Visitor Centre Welcome hutVisitor centre toiletsVisitor centre cafeVisitor centre shopThe Holt (Education and Event space)HideoutPond dipping platform
There is level access from the car park to:Garden picnic areaWoodland picnic areaPond dipping picnic area
Access with steps
There are steps from the main entrance to:Dining Table
Travel by public transport
Travel by taxi
Taxis are not readily available at the station. If you require a taxi you will need to book this in advance.
All the details about the car park relate to the disabled car park. The main car park is across the road from the visitor centre, it is approximately 150m from the visitor centre entrance. From the main car park there is level access, there is a slope, the surface is loose gravel. The route from the car park to the visitor centre is 600mm wide at the narrowest point.
Path to main entrance
The main entrance is 2 glass doors which can be pushed or pulled open. These doors are usually propped open (except in cold weather). There are always RSPB team members around who can provide assistance if required.
The Visitor Centre is open 9.30am-5pm daily (we close at 4pm in December and January), we close on Christmas Day. The nature trails are open 24 hours a day, except Christmas Day.
We welcome assistance dogs in the Visitor Centre and on the nature trails. Water bowls for dogs are provided at the rear of the Visitor Centre
Dogs can come through the visitor centre (not in the cafe) and are permitted on the Causeway, which is a public right of way and the designated dog friendly route. Dogs are not permitted elsewhere on the reserve due to the sensitive wildlife.
Getting around inside
Chair lift to café
Ticket/ information desk
Visitor Centre Welcome hut
The Welcome Hut is located outside the visitor centre, before you go through the main entrance. There isn't a "desk" as such, the Welcome team will approach visitors and speak to them on the ground outside. We have a gazebo to provide some protection to visitors in bad weather.
The Welcome is staffed by friendly RSPB staff and volunteers, who can give you information, read out any literature and provide assistance if required.
Two Tramper scooters (pre-booking is recommended) are available for use around the reserve. These are free to hire but donations towards their upkeep are welcomed. These vehicles can access most of the reserve, except the path to Lower Hide. The Trampers should not be taken into the hides. There is room to park the vehicles outside the hides.
Visitors are welcome to use their own wheelchair and mobility vehicles.
Binoculars are available for hire. We also hire out pond dipping kits for families during the spring and summer.
There are a variety of events and activities available throughout the year. We make every effort to make these events accessible, and adapt them where possible on request, however some do take in ‘off trail’ areas on the reserve which visitors with limited mobility may find difficult: please ask staff for more details of events, including accessibility.
Things to See and Do
Visitor centre toilets
Simple lever lock on inside of door, large and easy to operate.
Wash basin on side wall
Tap with running water, lever type easy to operate (not pressure taps)
Soap dispenser and hand drier and toilet paper holder with toilet paper, within reach to side of WC
Sanitary waste disposal bin
Emergency alarm button, push to activate and pull to deactivate, at low level so can be reached from wheelchair or floor
There is a baby changing table and nappy waste disposal bin in the accessible toilet.
Visitor centre shop
There is a shop selling an extensive selection of bird food and bird care products, binoculars and telescopes, books, children’s products and gifts. This is located within the main Visitor Centre building.
There is step free, level access throughout. There is sufficient aisle space to provide access through the shop, although space is limited in some places within the shop.
The area is evenly and well lit by natural lighting and overhead lights.
Most goods are within easy reach, but some goods are on high shelves. Some products (such as bags of bird food) are heavy (up to 12.75 kg) The Retail Team are on hand to provide assistance.
Place to eat and drink
Visitor centre cafe
There are upright chairs without arms and the clear table height is 70 cm. Children’s high chairs are also available. All seating can be moved to provide access for wheelchair users.
Lighting is primarily from overhead lighting with some natural light from windows and skylights.
The outside seating is made up of chairs and tables, all seating can be moved to provide access for wheelchair users.
Food and drinks are ordered at the till point. If assistance is needed to carry the trays then staff are available. Hot food is served to your table.
We try to source food locally and the café has been awarded ‘Bronze’ by the Soil Association. We do provide for different dietary needs, please ask a member of the catering team about ingredients if you have any food allergies.
Our day to day menu is available on all tables and specials are shown on a blackboard. Staff can assist by reading out the menu if required.
The Holt (Education and Event space)
Furniture in The Holt can be re-arranged giving ample room for a large wheelchair to manoeuvre and turn.
The area within the Holt is evenly and well lit with overhead lighting.
There are large print information displays in the Holt that can be clearly viewed from a seated/child’s eye position.
Getting around outside
Designated Walking Trail
Grisedale hide and Tim Jackson hide, have drop forward windows. These are not heavy but may drop forward further than is anticipated. Both hides have larger window areas, the top windows are fixed with smaller windows below which drop down outwards onto a bracket. There are four lower viewing areas and a bay area with large fixed windows. The bay gives better turning room for wheelchair users. There are movable benches in both hides. Larger mobility vehicles should be parked outside of the hide.
Designated Walking Trail
Lower Hide is located at the end of a path off the main Causeway. This path is narrow and not considered fully accessible (no designated passing places and quite narrow path in places). The path to Lower Hide is accessed via a gate off the Causeway.
Designated Walking Trail
This trail is a boardwalk, it is 2000mm wide with passing places.
The boardwalk has gripped panels and hand rails at the start where the height is raised.
Designated Walking Trail
The Coastal Trail is separate to the main reserve, it is 1.5 miles from the main car park. There is a separate car park here. The car park access has a 2m height restriction. We recommend driving to this car park as the pedestrian route is along a road with no pavement.
The are no designated accessible spaces in this car park. The route from the car park to the hides is 1200mm wide or more
TIm Jackson Hide
Eric Morecambe Hide
Garden picnic area
The Hideout has moveable benches, accessible for all users with a view to the bird feeding station. The Hideout space has wooden flooring with grip slats included.
Woodland picnic area
Pond dipping picnic area
The Skytower is 9m high and has 48 steps to access the top, with 3 landings situated at 16 steps, 24 steps and 32 steps. There is a handrail on all the stairways and barriers with narrow mesh to prevent any falls.
Pond dipping platform
The pond dipping platform is used by school groups during term time as part of the education offer at Leighton Moss. At weekends and during school holidays in Spring and Summer pond dipping kits are available to hire at the Welcome hut.
The pond dipping platform is a wooden board walk area with fencing along the edge and space to get to the waters edge to pond dip. We request that parents accompany their children at all times when taking part in this activity. All school group pond dipping sessions will be accompanied by our Learning team staff and volunteers.
Customer care support
Two electric Tramper wheelchairs are available for use, free of charge, but donations towards their upkeep are welcomed. They need to be booked before use and training is provided before first use.
The rear entry doors leading from the garden area through to the lobby and onto the shop are push button electric accessible doors, with low positioned push buttons for access.
Emergency evacuation procedures
Emergency exit signs are illuminated and emergency lighting will be activated in the case of a power cut. Many of the staff are trained fire wardens and will check the building on activation of the alarm to provide evacuation assistance if needed.
Customer care support
Some members of the team have had Dementia Awareness training and training regarding visual impairements.