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A sanctuary for nature, and for you: explore the UK this autumn

Posted on 05 Oct 2020

As the weather changes and the temperatures drop, wildlife heads to the nearest wetland. Here birds and animals find a welcome retreat to spend the winter, where there is food, shelter and plenty of space. Take a leaf out of nature’s book and explore one of our wetland sites this autumn. The perfect place to escape the everyday and discover something new.

Freedom to discover

People looking at lego at Arundel wetland centre
Our larger than life LEGO® brick wetland models at WWT Arundel

As the seasons change so does the wildlife you see on our reserves. Autumn is a great time for bird watching, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out. At WWT Arundel this time of year is spectacular for birds. All through the autumn and winter you can see kingfishers here. There is also a roosting population of marsh harriers which can be spotted from our hides. We have some special visitors this autumn too. Come and meet our giant LEGO® brick wetland animals and enjoy some time out in nature with family and friends.

Wildlife spectacles

Swan feed at WWT Caerlaverock
The quirky barnacle geese are a stirring sight at WWT Caerlaverock

Ready to see something truly breath-taking? At this time of year our reserves fill up with birds that have travelled far and wide to spend the winter on our wetlands. To find out more head to WWT Caerlaverock where whooper swans are arriving daily from Iceland and can be seen closer than anywhere from the Sir Peter Scott Observatory. At this time of year we see the arrival of the entire Svalbard breeding population of barnacle geese in their thousands to winter on the Solway Firth. Many spend the day feeding on and around the Caerlaverock reserve, truly a sight not to be missed.

Engage the kids

brent geese at WWT Castle Espie
Fun in the autumn leaves at WWT Castle Espie

Drag the kids away from the screen and engage them in a day of nature filled fun. WWT Castle Espie is a great place for kids to discover the joys of nature. At this time of year the brent geese arrive from the arctic to spend the winter on Strangford Lough. Our Brent Discovery Hide gives you a great view of the geese (which can number a staggering 25,000) and will keep you cosy rain or shine. The woods here are also spectacular at this time of year with autumn colours and piles of crunchy leaves to race through. Leaf fight anyone? Once you’ve tired the kids out warm up with a cup of hot chocolate in the café. We guarantee you’ll all feel better after a day exploring our wetlands.

Discover our winter walks

A refreshing autumn walk to watch the birds at WWT Llanelli

Autumn is perhaps the nicest time of year to get wrapped up and enjoy a walk. The days are still mild, the air is gentle and the colours in the trees and hedgerows are beautiful. The reserve at WWT Llanelli is a safe haven of wide-open space that is yours to enjoy. With accessible tracks, plenty of places to sit and take a break and an abundance of wildlife along the way, it really is one of the best places to take in the beauty of the natural world at your own pace.

Fungi spotting

Left: Velvet shank. Right: Wood blewit at WWT London
Left: Velvet shank. Right: Wood blewit at WWT London

There’s so much to see at this time of year. The changing colours of the trees, new wildlife arrivals and an abundance of fruits and berries on the hedgerows. But do you ever look underfoot? Autumn is the best time of year to see all sorts of weird and wonderful fungi growing in our wetlands. At WWT London you’ll be treated to a fine display from traditional toadstools such as waxcaps, roundheads and boletes to more otherworldly species such as deadman’s fingers and earth tongues. Why not keep a spotter sheet to keep track of what you’ve seen?

Experience the wow factor

Pink-footed geese at WWT Martin Mere
Pink footed sunsets are a must-see autumn sight at WWT Martin Mere

Winter migration is in full swing and at all our centres we’re welcoming the birds that visit us for the winter every year. But at WWT Martin Mere something extra special happens. Each year we are visited by around 40,000 pink footed geese. Nowhere else in the world will you see a sight like this so if you’re looking for a new experience, or something that will truly wow you, book your ticket online and come and experience a true wildlife spectacle.

Discover an avian Serengeti

Be dazzled by the bird displays at WWT Slimbridge

Tired of doing the same old thing? At WWT Slimbridge we can get you out of your rut. The new two-story estuary tower gives you a view of our spectacular reserve like never before. With views that stretch from the windows of the comfortable viewing tower right out to the Severn estuary you can literally see for miles around. The River Severn was described by WWT founder Peter Scott at the ‘avian Serengeti’ and at this time of year you can see why. Watch an abundance of birds and ducks pick their way along the river’s banks. Our helpful guides are always around if you have any questions.

Making memories

Enjoy watching the birds in the fresh autumn air at WWT Washington

Enjoying time with family in a safe environment, where the little ones have freedom to explore and soak in the sights of autumn, has never been more important. WWT Washington is the perfect blend of outdoor adventure and inspiring wildlife. It's a fantastic place to excite the kids, with plenty to offer an older generation too. With open spaces, fresh air and plenty in place to help you feel comfortable and safe during your visit, it’s truly somewhere you can spend a relaxing day out with those you love, making memories and having fun.

Discover our swans

Whooper swans are a special winter sight at WWT Welney

Each year large numbers of whooper and Bewick’s swans arrive on the expanse of wetlands that make up WWT Welney. They spend the winter roosting, resting and feeding here before heading back to the arctic in the spring. Join us for one of our swan feeds with live commentary to find out all about these fascinating birds. Discover what we know about individual birds, their perilous migrations and how we work to protect them.

Escape the everyday

For peace and quiet, WWT Steart Marshes can't be beaten

Dreaming of wide-open spaces, where there’s freedom to roam and wander or daydream and ponder? Welcome to WWT Steart Marshes, a place where you can find the peace and tranquillity you crave. Away from the hustle and bustle of the real world, here you can retreat in to the quiet sanctuary of the natural world where your only job is to relax and unwind. We can guarantee you’ll leave this magical spot feeling so much better than when you arrived.

Visit a wetland

Escape the everyday and discover our wetlands this autumn. To help keep everyone safe at the moment we’ve made a few changes to our sites, and are asking everyone to book in advance, so we can give you the best possible experience. Please also check site details and plan your visit before you travel.

Find your nearest wetland