How we are responding to Covid-19

The health and wellbeing of the public, volunteers and staff are of utmost importance to The Wildlife Trusts, and we have therefore been keeping a close eye on government advice in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

6 January 2021: National lockdown

We are continuing to adapt and respond to the pandemic and to closely follow the changing guidelines from Government. From Monday 4 January some changes will be made as England enters a new national lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.

Nature reserves

We recognise how important access to the outdoors is for our wellbeing. For those who live locally to one of our nature reserves, the majority remain open with free access and we are delighted that support from our members enables us to offer this.

However, due to the recent wet weather and flooding, there are several reserves with paths in poor condition, and we will continue to monitor whether these sites are able to support visitors safely - some closures may be necessary.

We urge all visitors to stay local, to follow all social distancing guidelines and respect any closures and signs as we work hard to keep our reserves safe in these challenging times. It is vital to check our website for information about individual reserves before you visit. 

Events and Visitor Centre

Regrettably, all face-to-face events are cancelled until further notice. The Visitor Centre at the Nene Wetlands will also be closed. There are still ways you can shop for wildlife online and support our work.

We are still running our online Wildlife Training Workshops and our website is packed with wildlife activities - as well as some brilliant downloadable self-guided walk packs - that you can use to keep engaged with the outdoors in your local area. 

Outdoor work and volunteers

Following the current guidelines, a limited amount of work on our reserves by staff, volunteers and contractors can continue with our Covid-19 safety measures in place. Team members will continue to be out and about looking after our nature reserves - however we are likely to be very thinly stretched and all work parties are suspended until further notice.

We are hugely grateful for the support of our volunteers.

Work in our offices

Those who are able to work from home will continue to do so. Our Covid-19 compliance statement can be found here.

Staying in touch

You can sign-up to our regular E-news for advice, tips, inspiring stories or news from the Trust, straight to your inbox. Follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), or explore our website and blogs.

Thank you for your support

We are incredibly thankful for your ongoing support, patience and understanding. If you haven't already, please consider supporting your local Wildlife Trust’s vital work by making a donation or becoming a member for as little as £1.75 in our half price sale.

Reserve Access Guidelines

It is now more important than ever that we all follow our reserve access guidelines, including additional requirements in line with Government advice.

Read Guidelines

credit Chris Rutter

4 November 2020: Update and second lockdown

We are continuing to adapt and respond to the pandemic and to closely follow the changing guidelines from Government. From Thursday 5 November some changes will be made as England enters a new national lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.

Nature reserves

We recognise how important access to the outdoors is for our wellbeing. The majority of our nature reserves remain open with free access and we are delighted that support from our members enables us to offer this.

We urge all visitors to follow all social distancing guidelines and respect any closures and signs as we work hard to keep our reserves safe in these challenging times. Check our website for information about individual reserves before you visit. 

Events and Visitor Centre

Regrettably, all face-to-face events from Thursday 5 November up to and including Wednesday 2 December will be cancelled. The Visitor Centre at the Nene Wetlands will be closed during the same period. There are still ways you can shop for wildlife online and support our work.

We are still running our online Wildlife Training Workshops (with a new programme for 2021 about to be launched!) and our website is packed with wildlife activities - as well as some brilliant downloadable self-guided walk packs - that you can use to keep engaged outdoors. 

Outdoor work and volunteers

Following the current guidelines, outdoor work on our reserves by staff, volunteers and contractors can continue with our Covid-19 safety measures in place, and we will continue to run work parties as long as staff and volunteers feel safe to do so.

Winter is the busiest time for habitat management work and our reserves staff and volunteers are still catching up with a backlog of vital work looking after our reserves for wildlife and visitors. We are hugely grateful for the support of our volunteers.

Work in our offices

Those who are able to work from home will continue to do so. Our Covid-19 compliance statement can be found here.

Staying in touch

You can sign-up to our regular E-news for advice, tips, inspiring stories or news from the Trust, straight to your inbox. Follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), or explore our website and blogs.

Thank you for your support

We are incredibly thankful for your ongoing support, patience and understanding. If you haven't already, please consider supporting your local Wildlife Trust’s vital work by making a donation or becoming a member.

28 July 2020: Update

We are continuing to adapt and respond to the pandemic and the changing guidelines.

Most of our staff have now returned to work following careful risk assessments, with those who are able to work from home continuing to do so. Our Covid-19 compliance statement can be found here.

We are slowly welcoming back volunteers too, particularly those who are already trained to undertake tasks that can be done independently and without needing to share equipment. Please be patient whilst we make plans to safely welcome back more. Wildlife on our reserves will certainly be missing the benefits gleaned from our fabulous work parties!

We have taken the difficult decision to cancel all indoor events until the new year, but from August we will be offering some small wildlife events at some of our sites (pre-booking essential and spaces extremely limited.) We also have a growing list of online talks and activities.

Our Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre is now open, with appropriate safety measures in place to ensure you can visit us stress-free. Do come and say hello!

Sadly there is no denying that the challenges over the last few months are likely to have a seriously worrying impact on our local wildlife. We haven’t been able to get out and carry out important work on our reserves or raise necessary funds. If you can, please do donate to our Back on Track Appeal.

And if you are not a member already, please Join Us and help us put nature into recovery.

12 May 2020: Response to latest Government advice (further updated 15 May)

Following the Prime Minister’s speech on Monday, we urge visitors to our nature reserves to continue to follow social distancing guidelines to help control the spread of Covid-19.

The majority of our nature reserves remain open with free access and we are delighted that support from our members enables us to offer this.

Please be aware that due to recent quieter conditions, birds will be nesting in places more prone to disturbance than usual and so will be at risk. To ensure nature is still there for us in the future as well as right now, please keep dogs under close control, follow our reserve access guidelines and we respectfully ask that you don't visit a reserve if it is not possible to practise social distancing there without going off the paths.

Thank you for your patience as we all adjust to this new 'norm', this is new for everyone. Thanks to our supportive Trustees, committed staff and all of our members and donors, we have been able to adapt our way of working and carry on with our most vital activities. However, we have a reduced work force at present and many of our volunteers are likely to need to continue to self-isolate for some months to come, so our capacity to monitor sites and manage facilities is limited.

We do expect increased visitor numbers at many sites now though and so we may need to close areas off quickly if we think there is an unmanageable risk to safety or wildlife. Our car parks will remain closed until we are confident we can open them safely and without detriment to wildlife. 

Please do check the website reserve pages for the latest information before planning a visit. As always, on any visit to our nature reserves, please be mindful of the wildlife that lives there and of other visitors.

Nature continues to bring many of us solace in these difficult times, so do continue to take time out of your day to enjoy the wild places around you, whether that be in your garden, local park or nature reserve. Take a look at some of our ideas for enjoying nature and register for our annual nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, for inspiration and encouragement throughout the month of June!

We are continuing to add new resources, information and activities to our website and social media channels everyday and have been delighted by the response to these. We are also working to find alternative ways to safely deliver our popular wildlife events when this is allowed, as we know many people are missing these. All scheduled events until the end of July will be cancelled and we will keep reviewing the situation.

The Wildlife Trusts are, like others, dealing with the unprecedented challenges caused by coronavirus and nature conservation is suffering during these challenging times. Please consider supporting your local Wildlife Trust’s vital work by making a donation or becoming a member – and a huge thank you to those of you that already support us in this way.

3 April 2020: Government advise following the Countryside Code

With good weather predicted this weekend, we've lots of great activities to do in your garden enabling you to stay safe whilst enjoying the sunshine. Stay local and share your garden sightings with us on social media using #wildlifefromhome.

Things to do this weekend

Whilst we would advise people to avoid popular footpaths during the warm weather, for those accessing public rights of way as part of their permitted daily exercise, the Government has urged that the Countryside Code is adhered to. In addition, they advise that:

  • You maintain a distance of at least two metres from other people
  • Hand wash/sanitise after touching any shared surfaces e.g. sites/gates
  • Keep dogs on a lead around livestock and away from other people/dogs
  • Leave gates as you find them.

The Government also stresses that the risk of Coronavirus being passed on to people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low, as long as people follow instructions around social distancing. 

Please see the updates below for the Wildlife Trust BCN's full response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

31 March 2020: Adapting to new work restrictions

Over the last week we have been adapting to the new restrictions, with staff members taking to their desks at home to focus on computer work such as management plans and online educational resources. As per Government advice, our staff are only leaving their homes for urgent health and safety work or to attend to essential animal welfare, such as assisting with lambing. Being stuck at home is particularly difficult for a team used to working in the great outdoors, but we know we need to do our bit. 

Stay home - Government advice is clear, you should not drive to a reserve.

If you are able to walk to one of our reserves for your daily exercise and do not find it busy, please do take photos as you go and share them on social media for those who can't enjoy a visit at this time. 

We realise there may be more local people visiting than usual and we know this can be frustrating for our regular visitors. We remind all to follow Government advice on social distancing and we communicate this through our many communications channels, but we have over 100 reserves and we are unable to monitor sites or to judge how well advice is being followed. The best way to minimise risk is to connect with nature at home.

We encourage visitors who do choose to walk to a reserve to be generous with others who may be connecting with nature in a different way.

There is no definitive description of what constitutes daily exercise and so many people will use it to connect with nature in a different way. Whether jogging, walking the dog, taking a leisurely photography or nature-spotting walk or undertaking a short family adventure - if you do choose to visit a reserve, please be generous in sharing the space and understanding of the fact that many people need nature right now. The best way to avoid other people is to connect with nature at home.

We are saddened by the current situation and to know that many will greatly miss visiting our reserves during this challenging period. We truly hope it will be safe for us to welcome you back soon.

As stated before, we will close reserves where we believe there is a serious cause for concern and will advise of this on our website.

Let us help you find wildlife from home.

If you are not near a reserve, are vulnerable and want to limit the risk of exposure or simply want to leave it for others who might need the solace more, explore our webpages which we are filling with ideas of how to enjoy nature from home. We promise lots of interesting facts you might otherwise not have come across!

We will also be sending our eNews updates, filled with information about local nature and ways to connect with it, weekly over this period.

Sign up for eNews

24 March 2020: Nature reserve access

In light of yesterday's announcement from the Government, we have taken the hard decision to close car parks to our nature reserves wherever we can.

However, the majority of our nature reserves remain open with free access. If you intend on visiting any of our nature reserves in order to take your one-form of exercise a day (e.g. running, walking), please follow Government guidance and only visit those you can reach by foot and abide by the advice on social distancing, which can be found here

Reserve Access Guidelines   Reserve Search

17/3/20 Event Cancellations

In light of last night’s Government update and guidance on COVID 19, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel all events for the next 12 weeks, until 13th June. We will also close our Nene Wetlands visitor centre at Rushden Lakes with immediate effect until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but ask for your understanding in this decision. If you were booked for an event we will be in contact and will be happy to give refunds for any events already booked. This has been a difficult decision as we know connecting with nature plays an important role in uncertain and stressful times such as these.

For anyone feeling healthy we encourage you to take a walk if you can, you are welcome on our nature reserves – please remember to practise social distancing and to respect the space of others. As this is a rapidly changing situation, please check for any changes in guidance before doing so. If you are self-isolating, do look for signs of spring in your garden - and do join our social media channels (listed below). We will be posting lots of content over the coming months to remind us all that spring continues to emerge and to keep our spirits up.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update as we receive any new information or guidance. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact us cambridgeshire@wildlifebcn.org Thank you for your support.

Twitter Official Wildlife Trust for BCN page
Instagram Official Wildlife Trust for BCN page
Facebook Pages Official Wildlife Trust for BCN page