The Wildlife Trust's Nene Wetlands nature reserve and visitor centre marks its first birthday on Sunday 29 July: the visitor centre, a low-lying wooden, grass-roofed building has provided a wonderful opportunity to engage with a new audience coming to Rushden Lakes retail park, forming the gateway to a square mile of nature reserve with miles of footpaths and cycle tracks to explore woodland, meadows and lakes - home to vast numbers of wading and migrating birds, with plus sculpture trails, viewpoints, a discovery play area and education area.
Senior ranger Toni Castello recalls some highlights: “After installing a temporary bridge over a channel of the Nene, giving access from Irthlingborough, it was magical to see people not using cars to access Rushden Lakes! We’ve seen members of the public collecting litter during walks to keep the place tidy: one builder on the site told us: 'I admire the work you do conserving this area, it’s really valuable.' A cyclist on the old railway track: 'I’m so pleased you’ve connected all this by installing a footbridge; I cycle an 18 miles route three times a week - it’s fantastic!' We look forward to the next year and all the surprises it will bring."
Education and community officer Katie King says: “It was great seeing the new education area emerge with the help of our fantastic volunteers who spent weeks creating paths, installing fences, clearing vegetation and creating a ramp for the pond dipping platform. The area is a haven for wildlife and a fantastic place for children to explore and learn about nature.”
Huge thanks to all the dedicated volunteers who have helped make the nature reserve and visitor centre a very special place to visit.