If you love wildlife then you’ll love Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Trust. Birdwatchers and families will be thrilled at how close you can get to the wildlife here. This nature reserve includes the grasslands on the shores of the Severn Estuary and are home to swans, ducks, and geese in the winter. In the summer, you can a Land Rover Safari to spot rare birds like kingfishers and other creatures like brown hares, wild otters and even grass snakes. Over 200 species of bird can be seen every year so it really is a nature lovers paradise.
Another great sight to behold here is the UK’s largest flock of flamingos, strutting their stuff at the Flamingo Lagoon. Enjoy a visit to the sunken observatory and get a unique bird’s eye view though their legs! There are around 250 of these pink beauties in the habitat that is designed to look and feel like an African wetland. The Lagoon is home to all six species of flamingo and I had no idea that there were that many species of the bird.
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is a conservation charity that works tirelessly to protect wetlands. Wetlands are so important as they provide drinking water for humans and wildlife alike. Endangered species are rescued from the brink of extinction and the charity aims to work with businesses and communities to promote sustainable living. The benefits from a well managed wetland are considerable as they provide water, food, shelter, livelihoods and great enjoyment.
At Slimbridge, you will have the opportunity to feed the birds, enjoy panoramic views of the site with the Severn View Sloane observation tower, splash around in the outdoor wet play area and visit the hide which includes equipment for visitors to view wildlife up close and is perfect for beginners in birdwatching.
If you’re a lover of all things animal then you’ll love these Bronze animal sculptures by a local artist. To see her incredible work, visit http://www.gillparker.com/.
Wetlands are some of the most important natural resources on Earth. They cover such a small area of our planet and yet contain a huge amount of our biodiversity and almost half of all the planet’s known species are found among them. They store and filter water, help prevent flooding and capture and store carbon from the air. They also contain some incredible archaeological finds.
Wetlands are also economically and culturally important and society is inextricably linked to these areas. They are used to educate people about wildlife and biodiversity and are a place to visit and relax. They provide water birds with a safe environment rich in resources. They are one of the most undervalued ecosystems but are absolutely crucial.
Wetlands occur naturally on every continent apart from Antarctica and the largest being the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain and the Pantanal in South America. Waters in a wetland can be fresh, salt or brackish and different types of wetland include swamps, marshes, bogs and fens. In the past wetlands have suffered by being drained for real estate development or being flooded to create lakes. A lot of agricultural land are former wetlands that were converted into farmland. By 1993, half of the world’s wetlands had been drained. The main threat to wetland then has been population increases and the impact of humans.
Before Roman times, a quarter of Britain was thought to be covered in wetland but by the 1980’s that figure had dropped to just 5%. Thankfully a wide range of schemes are underway to reverse the decline and restore wetland systems in both urban and rural environments in recognition of their benefits to conservation and socioeconomic reasons.