Nature Discovery Centre

Nature Discovery Centre

Please note: we have been made aware that a sewage leak occurred at Thatcham Reedbeds, which adjoins the Nature Discovery Centre, on Tuesday 10 September. Environment Agency and Thames Water staff are responding to the incident. We are advising all people to keep themselves and their pets out of the water at the NDC and Thatcham Reedbeds as a precautionary measure, until we get confirmation from the Environment Agency.


The Nature Discovery Centre offers a great day out for all the family

The Centre is packed full of interactive wildlife and natural history displays. There is a network of footpaths ranging from small family-friendly walks to longer paths for the more adventurous. Surrounded by a mosaic of different habitats, there is fantastic wildlife to see all year around.

Facilities include:

  • Lakeside café offering delicious hot and cold refreshments
  • Adventure Playgrounds*
  • Gift shop with a great range of wildlife themed gifts, toys and books
  • Picnic facilities
  • Toilets, disabled toilets and baby changing
  • Signposted walk routes and seasonal Wildlife Discovery Trail
  • Thatcham Community Orchard

* Update summer 2019: The adventure playgrounds near the visitor centre are being improved this summer. Contractors for West Berkshire council have started work on one of the playgrounds (suitable for older children) and should be finished around the end of July. They'll start work on the other playground after that. We hope the work won't disrupt your visit to us. For any more information please contact the council.

Nature reserve

Discover fantastic wildlife

Find out more
Getting around

Reserve and trails map

Please note: there is no longer a bird hide at Thatcham Reedbeds.

Download a map
Education centre

Education Centre at the NDC

Find out more

Where to find us

We are located between Thatcham and Newbury, a short distance off the A4 at:

Nature Discovery Centre, Muddy Lane, Lower Way, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 3FU

Find us on GoogleMaps

Tel: 01635 874381



Opening times

Centre opening times (including shop and café)

  • Summer (April-October): Open 7 days a week, including bank holidays. 10:30am-5pm

  • Winter (November-March): Tuesday-Sunday 10:30am-4pm. Closed Mondays

Car parking and admission to the centre are free. We welcome donations. Charges apply for special events (please see our events page for more information)

Car Park opening times

  • All year round: Open from 8am every day; subject to seasonal locking times (please check the boards on your arrival).

Get the most from your visit


The centre, cafe and toilets are wheelchair accessible. The Red Trail around the lake is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Walking information

Gentle slopes, gates, benches, unsurfaced paths may become muddy in wet weather. There are trails suitable for all abilities. 

Dog walk

Bringing your dog

Dogs are welcome on the reserve, but please keep them out of the lake. We ask that you keep dogs under close control at all times. Dogs, except assistance dogs, are not permitted inside the visitor centre.

Birds at the Nature Discovery Centre

Nature Discovery Centre

Maria Arkwright

Throughout the year, one of our volunteers surveys the species of bird found on site. Below is a list showing the trend of different species and numbers of each throughout the year. 

Nature Discovery Centre bird list

Our volunteer also leads regular walks around the reserve to help visitors learn about what they can see and hear during their visit, and to learn more about each species. Visit our events page to find details of all our bird walks.

What's on at The Nature Discovery Centre

Birthday fun
Children's birthday parties

Make your child’s birthday extra special

Book a member of our team and our beautiful Lakeside Room for a really wild children's party

Find out more
Engaging with Nature participants cooking around a fire

Volunteers wanted

We're looking for volunteers to help with our new Engaging with Nature project, delivering outdoor sessions to improve people's mental wellbeing

Find out more


Stay up-to-date with our work

Sign up below to receive the latest news from BBOWT, tips about how you can help wildlife, plus information on how you can get involved.

Sign up to our newsletter

The Nature Discovery Centre on Day Out With The Kids