Take a walk on the wild side this June and get an extra step closer to the wonders of wildlife with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).
By visiting a WWT wetland centre during Walking with Wildlife month, visitors will not only enjoy their wander through the wetlands, but will also be in with the chance of winning great prizes, including rucksacks and a pair of walking boots kindly supplied by Regatta, or the opportunity to explore the fantastic walking opportunities of the Wye Valley with a three night stay at Westview Guesthouse near Hay-on-Wye.
To be in with a chance to win, WWT are encouraging visitors to explore the furthest reaches of their reserves and grounds, keeping an eye out for weird and wonderful wildlife along the way and take part in an orienteering-style challenge.
By visiting five of the fantastic wildlife locations, and marking a map with the correct orienteering punch, visitors can then be entered into the prize draw. For full details of the competition visit the website.
This initiative is designed to encourage people to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and experience the health and wellbeing benefits of gentle exercise combined with interacting with wildlife.
We are all aware of the health benefits of regular, gentle exercise, but it is also increasingly accepted that spending time outdoors surrounded by nature is also good for people’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. For example, recent studies have concluded…
- Regular walking improves mood, reduces anxiety, aids sleep and improves self image.
- Spending time in the outdoors and in contact with the natural environment can have a positive effect on mental health.
- An inactive person spends 37% more days in hospital and visits the doctor 5.5% more times than an active person.
- Many people engage in feeding wildlife, such as birds, because they derive considerable personal satisfaction and comfort from the interaction
WWT wetland centres are the perfect place for a walk with wildlife. Discover and experience nose-to-beak encounters with a variety of exotic, rare and endangered species on a relaxing stroll at one of nine scenic locations.
WWT Arundel, West Sussex. Telephone 01903 881530
Bat walk 16 June: Cost – £12 pp.
A guided bat walk in the evening to visit bat hotspots on the reserve. Watch the pipistrelles emerge at dusk and track up to 5 species with bat detectors to learn their different calls.
VIP Bird Walk 18 June – June Breeding Bird Survey : £35 per person, advance booking only, space is limited. 6:00am start
This exclusive early morning tour with Grounds Manager Paul Stevens takes you off the beaten pathways to a behind the scenes view of WWT Arundel. Our bird song specialist helps identify species while you contribute to the count for the Breeding Bird Survey. Enjoy the reserve alone with your camera before we open to the public then enjoy a breakfast of a hot drink with a bacon bap in our Waters Edge Cafe (included). This 3.5 hour outing will suit experienced birders or those developing their knowledge. The walk will include some areas of rugged terrain. Waterproof footwear and protective clothing are required. We suggest you bring binoculars and a camera.
WWT Caerlaverock – Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Telephone 01387 770200
Merse Walks 5 June
A special guided walk with the warden to experience the unique flora and fauna of the Caerlaverock merse. 2pm to 4.30pm. Booking essential. Normal admission charges apply. WWT members free.
WWT Castle Espie, County Down, Northern Ireland. Telephone 028 9187 4146
Vote for health with your feet 18 &19 June
A weekend of walking, looking at foraging, rambling and leaving no trace in our interactive tours led by our volunteers, Booking essential. 2-4pm.
Walk on the wild side 25 & 26 June
Welcomes all would-be intrepid explorers for an afternoon in the woods! Learning how to safely forage for food and fuel and make rope from nettles, baskets.
WWT London, Barnes. Telephone 020 8409 4400
A walk on the wild side 18, 19, 25, 26 June
London Wetland Centre is the perfect place for a wildlife-spotting walk. Discover wildflowers, reptiles, and ducklings with our team of experts or even try out Nordic walking. Our guides will point out plenty of birds, animals and plants so next time you’re here, or out in the countryside, you’ll be able to enjoy your walk even more.
Guided tour, 11am and 2pm
Learn more about the fascinating history of London Wetland Centre before heading out on to the reserve to see some of the wildlife highlights. The Centre, which opened in 2000, was developed from four redundant concrete-lined reservoirs into a beautiful wildlife reserve. During its transformation 300,000 water plants and 27,000 trees were planted and numerous types of wetland habitats – such as a grazing marsh, reedbeds and lakes – were created. Your guide will also point out any wildlife highlights at the Centre.
Bird feed tour, 3pm
Join one of our wardens as they feed the rare and exotic wildfowl in our World Wetlands conservation collection. See everything from red-breasted geese to white-headed ducks and hear about WWT’s work in conserving these birds. Some, such as the Laysan teal and Hawaiian geese, have been brought back from the brink of extinction, and many are still under threat.
Check the website nearer the time for times and details of our other themed walks.
WWT Martin Mere, Lancashire. Telephone 01704 895181
Guided walk of the waterfowl gardens: Every Day
Walk around the waterfowl gardens with a volunteer to learn all about the different bird species in the grounds. (Weather permitting) 1pm
Flamingo walk and dance: Every Day 12.30pm
Learn how flamingos walk and take part in the flamingo dance
Duckling nursery open weekends: Every Weekend 12-3pm
Follow the duckling walk to the duckling nursery and learn all about the egg to duckling process.
Burscough Bridge to Martin Mere Walk: Every Tuesday in June.
Starting at 10am walk from Burscough Bridge Interchange to Martin Mere and back again with a warden (approximately 2 miles one way – some rough terrain)
Community Reedbed Walk: Every Friday in June
Walk with a warden around the new community reedbed walk starting at 10am. Meet at the main reception and the walk has some rough terrain.
Walk to Mere Sands Wood: Friday 10 & 24 June.
Walk with a warden to Mere Sands Wood over a newly created trail – have a guided tour of MSW on arrival – starting at 1pm (will need 3 hours and over some rough terraine)
We’re doing the Big Toddle in aid of Banardo’s and think you should too! Join our big adventure – the biggest charity event for 5s, this year with an animal theme!
WWT National Wetland Centre, Wales. Carmarthenshire. Telephone 01554 741087
Wetland Walks: 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 June 2.00pm.
Enjoy a season of walks, to include Nordic walking for beginners and various wildlife themed guided walks. Families welcome. Walkers can sign up at the information desk on the day. For further information please ring the centre.
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire Telephone 01453 891900
Wildflower and Orchid walk 11 & 25 June
Join our reserve warden for a magical behind the scenes walk looking for the wetland’s finest wildflowers and orchids. This event must be pre-booked on 01453 891223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org £12pp. 10.30am start.
Reserve Ramble 18 June
This special guided walk will take you out to the River Severn and back along the canal. Learn about how the reserve is managed along the way and stop to admire the beautiful scenery.
Walk is approximately six kilometres and will take about two and a half hours. (adults £12; children £6) From 9.30am. Must be prebooked on 01453 891223.
WWT Washington Tyne & Wear Telephone 0191 416 5454
Walk with a Warden: 18 June
Follow one of our expert wardens as they take a look at June’s seasonal wildlife and habitats, including the reedbeds and Top Meadow/Old Oak Meadow.
Wildfowl collection tour: 26 June
Discover more about WWT Washington’s exotic wildfowl collection and the conservation breeding programmes that are helping to save some of the world’s rarest waterbird species.
All walks are included in admission, please meet in the picture window at reception at 2pm.
WWT Welney Norfolk Telephone 01353 860711
Summer walk opens (depending on breeding birds) 26 June.