Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre is situated adjacent to Rainton Bridge Industrial Estate in Houghton-le-Spring and is Durham Wildlife Trust’s headquarters.

The Visitor Centre at Rainton Meadows offers a shop, café, informative displays, a classroom, conference room and a viewing station where visitors can spend time watching birds feeding in the winter months. There is also a Wildlife Garden with spring and summer meadows and examples of what can be done to attract wildlife to your own garden.

The Nature Reserve is a haven for wildlife and has a variety of habitats including grassland, scrub, mature woodland and ponds. Mute swan, skylark, short-eared owl, brown hare, lapwing and many types of wildfowl are regularly seen at the site.

Within Rainton Meadows is a 4 hectare Site of Specific Scientific Interest known as Joe’s Pond. A haven for bird watching, the hawthorn and willow scrub surrounding the Pond provides shelter for over 140 species of birds. Fox and roe deer can also be seen around the Pond.

A series of events are hosted here throughout the year, details of which can be found on our events page, or in the visitor centres. The Trust’s extensive Environmental Education programme is co-ordinated from Rainton Meadows by the People & Wildlife Team who visit schools, set up after-school clubs, host school groups and community events and run a wide-ranging series of courses, walks and talks for all ages.

If you would like more information about our up and coming events or our Environmental Education programme, please contact the Trust on 0191 5843112.

The Visitor Centre is open daily from 11am – 4 pm except for occasional days over Christmas and the New Year.

Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre
Chilton Moor
Tyne & Wear

Rainton Meadows can be found by following the brown signs from the A690 between Durham and Sunderland. By bus, the services 222 and 220 regularly leave Park Lane in Sunderland, or the bus station in Durham and set down at the nearby Mill Inn. There’s a short walk under the A690 continuing until you reach the last roundabout of the industrial estate. The entrance to the Reserve is called Mallard Way.