People will be able to take a look around the new visitor centre and nature reserve at Rushden Lakes when they feature on Countryfile this weekend.
The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire will be opening its visitor centre on the lake’s edge at Rushden Lakes later this month.
But ahead of opening to the public, the trust invited BBC Countryfile to join them for a preview.
Countryfile presenter Anita Rani got stuck into various activities with trust staff and volunteers, including watching the installation of an ‘abandoned barge’ in the wildlife discovery area.
She also helped put giant sweet chestnut bulrushes in place before joining a group of volunteers to create a scrape - a shallow dip in the land which will fill with water and encourage insect and water life - on the reserve.
Anita then joined the trust’s Northamptonshire reserves manager Jane Pearman in a canoe from neighbours Canoe2 who have a boathouse on the lake’s edge, to see how the existing reserves link up and the huge importance of the active birdlife on the necklace of lakes which run alongside the River Nene.
The visitor centre is being fitted out this week and the trust’s Nene Wetlands manager Simon Gardner said: “It’s a really exciting time for us to be nearing the end of the project – we’re very much looking forward to opening on Saturday, July 29.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to engage with a whole new audience for wildlife.”
The Nene Wetlands is a major new 270-hectare nature reserve made up of existing wildlife areas which are now linked together with newly created paths and cycle tracks around lakes and through meadow and woodland.
The visitor centre is a low-lying wooden, grass-roofed building on the edge of Skew Lake and is hugely symbolic for the Wildlife Trust BCN as it is the first visitor centre across the trust’s three counties and a wonderful opportunity to engage with a new audience at Rushden Lakes.
Outdoor play specialists Flights of Fantasy have created 14 wildlife sculptures in a trail along the edge of Skew Lake, with designer Russell Bowlby’s creations also including interactive installations in the wildlife discovery area, including an abandoned barge and an otter holt.
Carefully positioned trail cameras around the lake will deliver footage to screens in the visitor centre, and with the boathouse of Canoe2 just next door, access to the lakes with portage on to the River Nene couldn’t be easier.
Countryfile airs on BBC One at 7pm on Sunday (July 9).