It has been a great 12 months for the Wildlife Trust’s Nene Wetlands nature reserve and visitor centre, which is celebrating its first birthday on Sunday (July 29).
Looking back over the year, the place has packed a punch with a combination of beautiful wildlife and outdoor activities which have proved popular with visitors.
The new visitor centre, a low-lying wooden, grass-roofed building has provided the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (BCN) with a great opportunity to engage with a new audience coming to Rushden Lakes.
The visitor centre is a gateway to a square mile of nature reserve with miles of footpaths and cycle tracks to explore woodland, meadows and lakes.
It is also home to vast numbers of wading and migrating birds, and includes sculpture trails, viewpoints, a discovery play area and education area.
There have been numerous highlights for the team during the past 12 months.
The reserve’s senior ranger Toni Castello said: “After installing a temporary bridge over a channel of the Nene, connecting north and south giving access from Irthlingborough, it was magical to see people not using cars to access Rushden Lakes.
“We’ve seen members of the public collecting litter during walks to keep the place tidy.”
And all their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
One builder on the site told them: “I admire the work you do conserving this area, it’s really valuable.”
And a cyclist on the old railway track said: “I’m so pleased you’ve connected all this by installing a footbridge.
“I can cycle an 18-mile route three times a week - it’s fantastic.”
Education officer Katie King said: “It’s been great seeing the new education area emerge with the help of our fantastic volunteers who spent weeks creating paths, installing fences, clearing vegetation and creating a ramp for the pond dipping platform.
“The area is a haven for wildlife and a fantastic place for children to explore and learn about nature.”
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging, as shown by these highlights from the comments book:
- ‘The walk is an absolute gem and delight. The small walks are invaluable for the young, the old and the disabled - so accessible.’
- ‘Pleased to see all the nature reserves linked up, great to see the Nene Vision become a reality.’
- ‘A really good start for Rushden Lakes - bringing nature awareness to so many - keep up the good work.’
Birthday celebrations will be taking place all weekend with a range of engaging activities throughout the summer.
For more information visit www.wildlifebcn.org/nature-reserves/nene-wetlands.