Following the UK Government’s announcement of a four week lockdown in England we have now received clarification on how the regulations will affect WWT sites.
Although our living collections, visitor centre and bird watching hides must close, where we can we will keep part of our nature reserves open to provide opportunities for access to winter nature walks for members and visitors who live close to our sites. Connection to nature has proven to be essential throughout the pandemic crisis and WWT feels it is important to do everything in our power to support at least some access to the countryside during the latest lockdown to help maintain our wellbeing. Unfortunately the restrictions do mean that we cannot maintain access to the Slimbridge reserve and the Slimbridge Centre will close.
At all of our English sites there will have to be some significant changes to ensure we keep our visitors, staff and volunteers safe. Our main centre buildings will be closed other than initial reception areas. Where we have animal collections and exhibits these areas will be closed other than where we need to provide direct access routes to our nature reserves. This is in line with government guidance that where nature reserves have collections of animals they can remain open as long as, wherever possible, access to the animal collections are restricted. We will not be able to provide grain or opportunities for feeding our bird collection and play spaces will also be closed. Our shops will be closed but takeaway drinks and snacks will be available. Toilet facilities will remain open. It has also been confirmed to us that bird watching hides and observatories must also close.
We will also continue to manage the number of people visiting our nature reserves by issuing tickets online. Please ensure you have booked a ticket before your visit and avoid travelling out of your local area.
Elsewhere in the UK, Castle Espie and Caerlaverock remain open but are subject to local restrictions and Llanelli will remain closed until the end of the ‘firebreak’ in Wales on 9 November.
We will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers and will continually monitor and comply with any new restrictions or guidance issued by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations.
We’re really sorry for any inconvenience caused and we look forward to be being back fully open as soon as restrictions are lifted.