'There is so much to see right now': Encouraging reopening for Washington Wetland Centre
Washington Wetland Centre has had an encouraging reopening since it began to receive visitors again in the latest lockdown easing.
The nature reserve, run by the Wildlife and Wetland Trust charity had not been open in over three months due to covid restrictions.
Washington Wetland Centre has also been accredited with the “Good to Go” stamp of approval. This is awarded by the Government’s tourism agency Visit Britain, and means the reserve is operating within Government guidelines for managing coronavirus risk.
All gates, handrails, benches and signage are cleaned regularly and there are hand sanitisers across the site. The cafe is serving takeaway food and drink, which can be enjoyed at picnic spots around the site.
Social distancing measures mean that visitor numbers are very restricted. However, over 3,000 people have so far taken the opportunity to see wildlife in spring – and it has been business as usual for the animals.
Birds including ducks, geese and swans are starting to lay eggs. Also seen playing in the sunshine have been otters and, the star attraction for many, pink flamingos.
Leanne McCormella, PR and marketing executive for the centre, said: “Since reopening on 12 April, we’ve welcomed more than 3,000 people back through our doors, which has been wonderful and we’ve had some fantastic feedback about people’s experiences.
“That’s 60% fewer visitors than we’d typically expect at this time of year but we are limiting the number of people allowed on site, so that everyone can reconnect with nature safely and without worry.
“While we may have been closed to human visitors these last few months, our wildlife has still been thriving, and there is so much to see right now.
“On Wader Lake, we have grey heron chicks in nests, regionally rare avocet looking to nest build and the first common tern of the season returned on April 22.
"Although restrictions mean we’re unable to open our hides just yet, we’ve created new vantage points from which to see these fantastic waders and other wildlife in action.”
The venue is open from 10am to 4.30pm seven days a week. Last admission is 3.30pm. Visitors need to pre-book tickets, even if they are members. More information can be found at wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/washington