The land was reclaimed from the sea for agricultural use at the end of the 19th Century. Today, grazing, haymaking and cutting rough vegetation encourage flowers and wetland birds.
In Spring and Summer, lapwing, herons, tufted ducks and shelduck can be seen. Marsh harriers and peregrines can also be seen. During autumn and winter migrating wading birds pass through, joining ducks, geese and wading birds feeding in the pools. The reserve is also home to many insects, plants and other animals.
Currently, visitor access is restricted to a network of footpaths from Brading Town and Bembridge Harbour, which provide attractive views across the reserve's mix of wetlands. There is much work planned to develop the reserve over future years.