Fill your senses with the autumn season at WWT Castle Espie

Get ready, pull on your boots, and fill your senses with the autumn season with a range of events and activities celebrating the unique wetlands and wildlife at WWT Castle Espie.

Every year in September and October around 25,000 light-bellied brent geese start arriving from their breeding grounds in Arctic Canada, a migration journey of up to 2,000 miles. Approximately 90% of the world’s population descend on Strangford Lough to feed on the nutritious eel grass. Join WWT Castle Espie’s annual family event ‘The Big Brent Weekend’ on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th October, celebrate these wonderful birds with talks and walks with wildlife experts and free workshops from art to photography.

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Join guided woodland walks and discover other key look-outs this autumn. Highlights include the heaps of different fungi dotted around the woodland such as smokey bracket and clouded funnel. Listen out for the Jay which can be seen more easily in the autumn as they search for acorns to stash away during the cold months.

WWT Castle Espie’s Drawn to Water: Quentin Blake at WWT partnership continues with the arrival of a new seasonal trail map featuring Quentin Blake illustrations, influenced by wetlands and nature. Use the illustrated trail map and explore seasonal natural highlights, from quiet spots with breathtaking views to close up wildlife encounters. For an in-depth look at artworks from Quentin Blake's personal archive, visit the Drawn to Water exhibition running from October 2023 to February 2024 in the Graffan Gallery. And if, like Quentin Blake, you're inspired by wetlands, why not enter the WWT national art competition to win a unique print and free entry to WWT Castle Espie. Visit the website for further details.

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Be brave and explore the fun wildlife learning ‘eek! Week’ experience for all the family this October. Follow the interactive trail and discover the mysterious world of wetland nature. Dare to put your hand in a snake box, grab a photo op with a bat or get up close and personal with a toad.

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Look out for the Courtyard Sessions with local musicians performing on Sunday afternoons throughout September. Check in with the Birdwatch mornings on the last Wednesday of each month, relax and enjoy delicious food and beautiful views of Strangford Lough in the Kingfisher café or take part in the History Weekend and hear about past inhabitants of WWT Castle Espie. Plus, celebrate the arrival of autumn with a special 2-for-1 entry every Monday - Friday in September.

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Paul Stewart, centre manager at WWT Castle Espie, said:

Autumn is truly a spectacular and special season for all the senses at WWT Castle Espie. As we prepare to welcome back thousands of brent geese to the shores of Strangford Lough, we also look forward to the seasonal transformation at the site and all the natural wonders it brings. We hope visitors are inspired by the stunning Quentin Blake autumn trail which uses his artwork to guide and inform on the nature around WWT Castle Espie. With lots of events and activities programmed, we very much look forward to welcoming everyone to WWT Castle Espie this autumn season.

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