Welcome to Holt Island Nature Reserve

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

Holt Island BadgerFormerly used to grow willow for basket-making, the Island became overgrown when this ended. This changed its appearance and attracted many different types of wildlife. Today the island is home to mammals such as voles, shrews, deer, badgers, bats and foxes. 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, warblers, and blackcaps can be seen. For more information about what you could see visit our sightings and reports page. Photo © Nigel Sprowell.

The Island has a raised boardwalk, which makes it accessible to prams 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. For more information to plan your visit CLICK HERE.

Schools and youth groups are very welcome to book visits – please contact us. Activity worksheets and our Education Pack can be downloaded from our publications page.

For information about events CLICK HERE.

For a downloadable information leaflet CLICK HERE.


4 May 2024

The Island is open this weekend

 In spite of the flooding last weekend (27 – 28 April) we are able to open the Island again this Bank Holiday weekend.

 The Ranger and volunteers have worked hard to lay more Fibregrid on the boardwalk and prepare the Island for opening.

 The grass paths are very muddy in places from the prolonged flooding, so please help the vegetation to recover by avoiding all the grass areas.

2 April 2024

Update on opening the Island

This has been a difficult year for Holt Island Nature Reserve. With four floods since the beginning of the year, five working parties have been lost. This has meant that little of the planned works for the winter months have been carried out.

The most recent flood has left the ground saturated and very muddy. The boardwalk has a coating of fine silt which makes it very slippery when wet.

As a result it has been decided by the Ranger and with the support of the Friends Committee, that the opening of the Island should be delayed this year possibly until the end of April so that the ground can recover and the volunteers can carry out some of the much-needed maintenance works.

New look website

Please bear with us while our website undergoes some changes.

ADOPT-a-BOX 2024

We are running our popular ADOPT-a-BOX scheme again in 2024! ADOPT-a-BOX makes a wonderful present for a loved one or a birthday. We provide a certificate along with a photo of the box and a map of its position. We also send an interim and final report giving details of all boxes and their success. See here for more information.


At last year’s AGM we enjoyed the preview of our latest video – More hidden secrets of Holt Island Nature Reserve. This can now be watched on Youtube at https://youtu.be/sKLZII0NqG8

Holt Island Nature Reserve AGM 2023