WWT Washington Wetland Centre are continuing to welcome visitors to their wild reserve to allow them to grow their connections with nature, and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
We all know that being outdoors and getting closer to nature is not only beneficial for our physical wellbeing, but it has huge benefits for our mental health too. The positive impact of time spent in natural environments is well known and a visit to wetlands allows everyone time to relax and enjoy a safe space surrounded by the beauty and mindfulness that comes with being outdoors.
While many people are flocking to nearby parks, woodlands and beaches, visiting WWT Washington is a very different and relaxed experience. Not only does visiting support a national conservation charity, but it has many other positives too.
Centre Manager Gill Pipes explains, “Being out and about in nature, especially during these unprecedented times, is vital. We can all feel the strain that lockdown is taking. Visiting our wetlands offers an hour or two solace away from crowds and the general hustle and bustle that frankly leaves us all feeling a little gloomy.
“Local parks and lakes are great, and give that same mindful effect that being around nature and wetlands does. However, our site is very different. Firstly it’s very quiet and away from the crowds which brings a huge relief in itself. Our dedicated team clean all touch points twice a day and there are dozens of hand sanitisers around which are regularly replenished. We’re also serving hot and cold food and drinks to takeaway, and one final huge bonus compared to many public spaces is that we have several portable accessible toilets for visitors to use during their visit.
“We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who is continuing to support us throughout these difficult times, joining as annual members and making donations. The amazing positive feedback that we receive each day makes us know that we’ve made the right decision to remain open for our visitors, and we hope that lots of families and birdwatchers alike come and discover areas of site they perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily explore.”
For regular visitors to WWT Washington, there will certainly be some noticeable changes. Wildlife hides, the play area and the gift shop are all closed for the moment, and the animal collections are currently restricted, with any feeding of their birds currently not allowed (except for staff of course!). However, the charity have reduced their admission tickets during the 4-week lockdown period to reflect the changes (£5 adults / £2.50 child) encouraging more people to visit these wonderful wetlands. Everyone wishing to visit must book in advance to keep an eye on visitor numbers, which also acts as their track and trace system.
Gill added, “Nature hasn’t stopped, and autumn is a truly spectacular time of year for wildlife. The ever-changing colour palette of oranges and yellows make a spectacular backdrop to seasonal birds flitting by, such as redwing and fieldfare, while flocks of curlew and jackdaw soar overhead at dusk to roost for the night in the local area. There are still spectacular views to be had and fantastic wildlife is hidden around every corner!”
For full details on what is open and what we've closed for safety, please check our website https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/washington/...