Just as wetlands offer sanctuary to thousands of animals over the colder months, they also make the perfect place to safely escape the everyday and appreciate one of nature’s greatest shows - autumn.
For local wetland centre WWT Washington, it is a spectacular time of year. Migratory birds arrive and our reserve transforms into an impressive patchwork of rich textures and dazzling colour displays, as leaves turn amber, fruits and berries emerge from the hedgerows and fairy tale fungi sprout underfoot.
In fact, autumn is perhaps the nicest time of year to explore wetlands whatever the weather. They provide an abundance of space and fresh air for nature lovers to enjoy endless skies and autumnal backdrops. Comfortable and clean hides dotted throughout the wild reserve ensure visitors can protect themselves from the elements without missing out on amazing seasonal scenes.
Autumn welcomes incredible sights and sounds of nature on the move. Wading birds including snipe and whimbrel drop in to Wader Lake and the saline lagoon to refuel on their journey, as our woodlands become a sheltered sanctuary for small birds including brambling and redpoll. Redwing and fieldfare can be found feasting on the plethora of berries dotted around site too.
The arrival of over-wintering curlew, with flocks of more than 900 swooping down to roost for the evening on Wader Lake, is the UK’s largest inland fresh water roost and a true wild spectacle. With numbers peaking at dusk in January and February it’s a fantastic sight and sound to witness!
Gill Pipes, centre manager at WWT Washington said, “This is an ideal place to surround yourself in nature and really become immersed in the great outdoors. There’s no better time to see what our wetlands have to offer than during autumn when the landscape dramatically changes and wildlife comes into its own.
“We’re a haven where visitors can explore and enjoy our wildlife, woodlands and wetlands; but we’re also a safe space and we’ve taken every precaution to help visitors feel comfortable. The last 6 month have been a really difficult time and we know enjoying a walk surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature has fantastic wellbeing benefits, providing a much needed escape from the everyday and a discovery of peace and tranquillity.”
WWT Washington have the ‘We’re Good to Go’ stamp of approval, a UK-wide industry standard which has been developed in partnership with Visit England, Tourism Northern Ireland, Visit Scotland and Visit Wales. The accreditation means visitors can rest assured that WWT is doing everything to ensure they operate within the relevant government and public health guidance for managing coronavirus risk. These measures include managing numbers on site, ensuring social distancing and thorough cleaning regimes.
To safely manage numbers on site, all visitors are all asked to book online (whether a WWT member or not). To book tickets, visit wwt.org.uk/Washington/bookings