Wildlife at Slimbridge

For many of us, spotting wildlife is a key part of a visit to WWT Slimbridge. So while our hides are sadly closed due to government restrictions, knowing where else to look for it on site is even more important.

Our Reserve Team are working hard to open up outdoor areas that are rich in wildlife, to let you have as many wildlife watching opportunities as possible.

Here are some of the places you can enjoy our wildlife and wild parts of the reserve:

Estuary Tower roof terrace - explore the fully-accessible Estuary Tower roof terrace, complete with a lift. You can find the Estuary Tower just a few hundred meters from the visitor centre and experience magnificent views of the Severn Estuary with a breath-taking variety of wild birds from spring chicks, summer warblers and wading birds. Migrating birds will pass through the Estuary including grey plover, whimbrel, bar-tailed godwit and sanderling. Guides in the Hide will be on hand to help you spot species from 9:30am to 4pm. A new viewing screen underneath the Estuary Tower is also in place to offer you an alternative to the Estuary Tower first floor.

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The Summer Walkway is open a little earlier this year so that you can venture out to the banks of the Severn Estuary. This is the perfect place to escape into the wilds of the Severn Estuary and see Slimbridge reserve from a different angle! As part of the Slimbridge 2020 project (now Slimbridge 75) funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the walkway was recently upgraded with a 600m flat surfaced path suitable for all abilities. Look out for yellow wagtail, wheatear and whinchat at Middle Point from the Pillbox viewing platform. The hedgerow can also be a great place to look out for warblers such as lesser whitethroat and don’t forget to check the ponds and ditches near the Goose House for kingfisher and little egret. Please note the Shepherd’s Hut and Goose House will be closed. Access to the Summer Walkway will close at 4pm.

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South Finger Reedbed - a new viewing screen is in place at the South Finger Reedbed and there will be a short loop path around the Reedbed that you can venture through, similar to the one created in 2020. This walkway will close at 5pm.

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Reedbed Walkway - follow the new naturally surfaced track around the Reedbed Walkway and listen out for cetti’s warbler, and as the spring progresses you should also see reed warbler and sedge warbler too. The area is also a favourite spot for cuckoo!

Van De Bovenkamp - follow this path to the new viewpoint next to the Van De Bovenkamp hide. With views over to the Top New Piece, look out for nesting cranes, lapwing and redshank. The reserve team have recently upgraded this viewpoint to create a larger area to stand and a wider view of the wildlife.

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The Safari trailer is set up next to the Canoe Hut for wildlife viewing of the Top New Piece. Whilst the Zeiss Hide is closed the trailer will offer an alternative view of the Top New Piece so you’ll be able to look out for one of our pair of breeding cranes who are nest building on one of the islands. The area is also a great place to see lapwing, redshank and avocet in spring.

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Rushy Lake outdoor viewing slot - Views of around 85% of the Rushy Lake can be accessed from our new outdoor viewing slot. Look out for little-ringed plover, common sandpiper, avocets, shelducks, little egrets, teal and more.

All of these areas have signage and rope barriers as required so you know where to find them.

Unfortunately we are unable to set anything up for visitors by the Kingfisher Hide, but on the plus side the pair we currently have on site appear to now be incubating. This gives us a three week period when there would be very little activity. If this is the case and all being well, we estimate that they should hatch just before hides reopen in May and activity should be at its peak in time for you to enjoy - fingers crossed!

There are so many amazing wildlife moments to be had during the spring months at Slimbridge and we’re sure you’ll make the most of the fantastic wildlife we have, despite hides being temporarily closed. So as we carefully re-open our site, why not book online and make the most of nature on your doorstep.