Welcome to Holt Island Nature Reserve

Holt Island Nature Reserve is an oasis of tranquillity in the centre of St Ives. The Island provides a variety of habitats which attract a wide range of birds, mammals, plants and insects.

The Island was primarily used to grow willow for basket weaving until 1970, and the Island then became overgrown. This changed its appearance and it now supports a wide range of flora and fauna. Today the wet woodland habitat is home to mammals such as voles, shrews, deer, badgers, bats, and foxes. Otters visit frequently. Plants such as yellow flag iris, purple loosestrife and comfrey thrive. Tortoiseshell, red admiral and peacock butterflies can be seen along with dragonflies and damselflies. And a huge variety of birds, including kingfishers, woodpeckers and warblers, inhabits the reserve.

The Island has a raised boardwalk, which makes it accessible to prams, buggies and wheelchairs, and there is plenty of seating, some with picnic tables. The Holt cabin, complete with bench seating, a nature table, books and children’s activity sheets and displays, is a welcoming place for visitors.

Schools and youth groups are very welcome to book visits, and activity worksheets and an Education Pack can be downloaded here.

The Island is owned and managed by Huntingdonshire District Council and is supported by the Friends of Holt Island Nature Reserve, a registered charity. This is a voluntary group dedicated to the promotion, preservation and enhancement of the award-winning reserve. The group organises social activities and fundraising events that are open to both members and non-members.

Yearly membership costs just £10 per household (£5 for an individual). Members receive a quarterly newsletter The Islander.

The Friends of Holt Island continually develops new ways to improve the visitor experience, develop links with schools, youth groups and the community. The group is currently fundraising to replace the wooden boardwalk planks with a longer-lasting Fibregrid material.

Find us on

Upcoming Events

Annual General Meeting

Thursday 18 July 7pm

The Corn Exchange St Ives

Open to all – please join us!

Our guest speaker this year is Ed Turner on “Conserving insects in a changing world”.

Ed Turner is Professor of Insect Ecology and Curator of Insects in the Museum of Zoology, Cambridge.

Click on the poster for more information.

Family Fun Day

Wednesday 14 August
11am to 3pm

At Holt Island, the Norris Museum and the Methodist Church.

Free event. Donations welcome.

Bird, bee and butterfly-themed crafts, trails games and more.

Click on the poster for more information.

Wildlife Updates

Read our latest ringing report (21 June) here.

Our wildlife list has been updated with sightings recorded in June.