Fen Carr Nature Reserve

Fen Carr Nature Reserve - Jim Horsfall

Fen Carr Nature Reserve - Jim Horsfall

Fen Carr is a hidden gem surrounded by a traditional farming landscape of small hedgerow bounded fields. These traditional hay meadows contain locally rare and nationally declining species and form a vital stepping stone in the landscape.


Carr Head Lane

Nr. Fosterhouses
South Yorkshire

OS Map Reference

A static map of Fen Carr Nature Reserve

Know before you go

4 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

On the road (Geeseness Lane, 250m to the east)

Grazing animals

Grazing occurs by either sheep or cattle after the traditional haycut.

Walking trails

There is no set path, please stick to the field edges during spring and summer to avoid trampling the hay crop.


Kissing gate at entrance, and often wet and boggy with no set footpath.


No dogs permitted

When to visit

Opening times

Please time visits in sympathy with traditional agricultural schedules, contact the Trust for details.

Best time to visit

May to September


Sympathetically farmed for nearly half-a-century by a local tenant farmer, Fen Carr comprises two traditional hay meadows that form art of the pastoral working landscape.

The nature reserve is of botanical importance, containing over 70 species of which many are locally rare as well as nationally declining. Sneezewort, sweet vernal grass and pepper saxifrage all grow at Fen Carr. These and others support a healthy population of butterfly and moth species including a number of browns, blues, coppers, hairstreaks, whites and occasional skippers.

Of the birds and mammals that visit the nature reserve of particular interest are curlew and green woodpecker.

A late haycut occurs, after which the land is grazed, usually by cattle. The Trust works to restore the hedgerows in addition to those that were recognised as important in an Enclosure Award (1825 Hatfield, Thorne and Fishlake Enclosure Award - please see below for background).

1825 Hatfield, Thorne and Fishlake Enclosure Award

Due to the 1825 Hatfield, Thorne and Fishlake Enclosure Award the owner of Fen Carr is required by Parliament to maintain ‘forever’ some of the hedgerows bordering the site.

The Award also decrees that the two little brick bridges at the entrances be maintained, and goes as far as to specify the depths and widths of all the ditches. These ditches are important, as the high water table here supports the wildlife present.

Seasonal highlights

  • Spring: Invertebrates - Green hairstreak; Birds - Curlew; Green woodpecker
  • Summer: Plants - Pepper saxifrage; Sneezewort; Sweet vernal grass; Invertebrates - Large skipper; Common blue
  • Autumn: Fungi - Grassland fungi
  • Winter: Mammals - Roe deer


Public transport
Train link available to Hatfield and Stainforth railway station from Doncaster railway station. Bus services run from Doncaster town centre.

By car
A mile after the hamlet of Fosterhouses the road turns sharply to the right. On the bend, an unsigned dirt track leads off to the left (Carr Head Lane). Parking is on the lane but with consideration to farm machinery. The nature reserve is about 200m up the lane on the right hand side.