Visitor Centres

In line with Government guidance Durham Wildlife Trust’s visitor centres at Low Barns and Rainton Meadows will be closed from 4pm today (Monday 23rd March). There will be no vehicle access to both sites during this time as the Trust’s offices located in the centres are also closed. 

Access to the sites is available on foot but please respect any parking restrictions if you are visiting and do not block either the highway or barrier gate. In order to protect our sites as much as possible, for security reasons vehicle access is no longer available to those members with barrier keys. We hope that you can understand our reasons for taking these steps.

The situation will be monitored closely and information updated on this page when circumstances change. As ever, the Trust appreciates your continued support, without which we could not continue our vital work in protecting and conserving wildlife from Tees to Tyne.

If you need to get in touch, you can still contact us on 0191 5843112 or mail@durhamwt.co.uk

 

Our two visitor centres provide thousands of people with unique wildlife experiences each year.

As bases for our conservation and education work, the centres at Low Barns and Rainton Meadows are hives of activity. To find out What’s On at each Visitor Centre head over to our Events Page. Scroll down to find out more about our two centres.

 

Low Barns Nature Reserve

The Low Barns Visitor Centre underwent improvement works, thanks to funding from North Pennine Dales LEADER and the Weardale Area Action Partnership. The car parking lay out was altered to create a pedestrianised outdoor seating area and the inside of the building was modified to create an improved shop area and a large community space that can be used for education, meetings and events. The works began in mid-March 2019 and were completed internally by the end of June 2019. Plans to improve the observation tower and open up views across Marston Lake from the visitor centre are ongoing. As such, our fundraising continues and if you wish to donate to help fund the work, please visit www.durhamwt.com/low-barns-appeal/
As you arrive at Low Barns Nature Reserve you are greeted by a series of old farm buildings, over the 50+ years of Durham Wildlife Trust’s management of the site, these old barns have been converted and adapted to become Low Barns Visitor Centre. Also home to the Trust’s Southern Living Landscapes team, the visitor centre houses a coffee shop, providing visitors with a welcome cuppa, cake or some hot food while our team of ambassadors can give information about the reserve’s wildlife. Visitors to the centre can also browse our range of shop items, from a full selection of wild bird foods to volunteer made hedgehog homes, Low Barns is a unique shopping experience. Logs and charcoal produced sustainably by the Trust on-site are also available and are a by-product of our conservation work at Low Barns and neighbouring reserves.
For details about hiring Low Barns Visitor Centre for your event, please email bookings@durhamwt.co.uk
Planning your visit
The Nature Reserve is open 7 days a week, including bank holidays. Christmas opening hours are published in December.
Low Barns Nature Reserve
Witton-le-Wear
Bishop Auckland
Co. Durham
DL14 0AG
0191 584 3112
Access: 9.30 am – 4.30pm
Coffee Shop: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm

We’re dog friendly! Well behaved Humans & Dogs are welcome inside our Visitor Centre and Coffee Shop.

Access to Low Barns Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre is free but non-members are asked to make a donation for car parking. Visitors are welcome to make use of our mobility scooter. To book the mobility scooter please call us on 0191 584 3112

Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve

Rainton Meadows Visitor Centre is set within 74 hectares of woodland, wetland and grassland habitats, all of which are linked through an excellent network of accessible pathways and viewing areas. The centre has a WildPlay area for children and is home to the Meadows Coffee Shop, a homely café which serves light lunches as well as delicious home baked treats. Also Durham Wildlife Trust Head Quarters, Rainton Meadows Visitor Centre has a dedicated classroom for indoor events and an outdoor forest school space. Visitors are able to purchase Wildlife Trust gifts and locally sourced products from the Meadows Coffee Shop.
For details about hiring Rainton Meadows Visitor Centre for your event, please visit our Room Hire section
Planning your visit
The Nature Reserve is open 7 days a week, including bank holidays. Christmas opening hours are published in December.
Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve
Chilton Moor
Houghton-le-Spring
Tyne & Wear
DH4 6PU
0191 584 3112
Access: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Coffee Shop: 10 am – 4 pm
WildPlay: 10 am – 4 pm
We’re dog friendly! Well behaved Humans & Dogs are welcome inside our Visitor Centre and Coffee Shop.
Access to Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre is free but non-members are asked to make a donation for car parking.