Protecting our wonderful water birds

You’ll find a wide range of common and rare wetland birds on the Sherborne Estate, thanks to the work of our rangers. By restoring the seventeenth century water meadows, once a staple of the farming calendar, we’ve created a spectacular environment for water birds - from Kingfishers to occasional Ospreys.

Here are our top ones to watch – so be sure to bring your binoculars.


These strange looking birds are easier to spot in flight, when they look almost pre-historic. They are superb fisherman and can be spotted throughout the year at Sherborne Park.

Little Egrets

Similar in look to Herons, Little Egrets are slightly smaller with an all-white plumage. Once very rare visitors from the Mediterranean, Egrets can now be found readily in southern England. This is possibly due to raising temperatures due to climate change. As well at Little Egrets, Sherborne Park also receives occasional visits from the rarer Great White Egret.


Kingfishers can be seeing, often as a flash of blue by the warter's edge
Kingfishers can be seeing, often as a flash of blue by the warter's edge

These beautiful and iconic little birds are still considered a rare gem, and we love to see them flying. For the best chance of spotting them yourself, we recommend visiting the watermeadows.


If you're very lucky, you may even spot a visiting osprey in summer
An osprey in flight

These magnificent birds have been known to be a rare visitor to Sherborne Park. A summer visitor to Britain, they are identifiable by their white mottled undercarriage and long angled wings.

To ‘wet’ your appetite…a brief history on water meadows

Water meadows were once a vital part of the farming landscape. In the seventeenth century, farmers would base all their year-round activity on the rise and fall of the river.

When the water ran into the meadows and surrounding flood plains, it would bring with it nutrient rich silt, which was great for local wildlife.

With the development of artificial fertilisers and new imported food supplies after the Second World War however, water meadows and wetlands became redundant and the homes of water-loving plants, mammal, insects and birds came under threat.

Sluice gates control the flow onto the water meadows
Sluice gates control the flow onto the water meadows

Our Work

As part of our conservation work, we’re restoring these natural habitats to allow nature to thrive.

Rangers at Sherborne Park have reinstated the historic water meadows along the River Windrush, creating a fantastic environment for water birds including Herons, Egrets, Moorhens, Tufted Ducks and Kingfishers, and even the occasional visits from rare Ospreys, White Storks, and Great White Egrets.

Have you spotted one of our rarer visitors? Or want to share a great shot of our regular favourites? We’d love to see what wetland birds you’ve discovered on your visit to Sherborne Park. Find us @NTLodgePark or find our Facebook page by searching ‘NT Lodge Park and Sherborne Park Estate’.