WWT Arundel Wetland Centre in West Sussex has been nominated as ‘Britain’s Favourite Nature Reserve’ for the prestigious Countryfile Awards 2013. The nominees were selected by nature writer Mark Cocker and TV presenter Ellie Harrison who noted that that Arundel Wetland Centre is ‘famed for its water voles.’ Ellie Harrison filmed WWT Arundel’s water vole population for an episode of The Big Wildlife Revival that will air in August on BBC.
Dave Fairlamb, the new Centre Manager at WWT Arundel, said “I am delighted the reserve has been nominated. Our team works hard to provide the perfect habitat for wildlife and a great day out for our visitors. We hope visitors and members will show how much they enjoy the reserve by taking a moment to cast a vote for WWT Arundel.”
Arundel Wetland Centre opened in 1976 on land leased from the Norfolk estate. One-fifth of the 62 acre reserve is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) reedbed that visitors can cross on a wide wooden boardwalk that accommodates wheelchairs.
Visitors can also glide through the reed beds in silent electric boats to view rare water voles from the colony re-established in 2005 and photograph wild birds from one of the many hides – including our new ‘Discovery Hide’ which is a comfortable new hide featuring ID panels, binoculars and telescopes to help beginner birdwatchers.
As well as attracting wild birds, the site is home to a collection of 250 birds of rare and endangered species from around the world. You can even hand feed some of them, including the friendly Hawaiian Nene - the rarest goose in the world.
New developments on the reserve include the Arun Riverlife project and Discovery Hide, completed in July 2013. Work on the project involved re-landscaping a heavily silted lake into a vibrant river floodplain habitat with reed, fen and shingle areas providing safe breeding spots for the wild birds of the Arun Valley.
WWT Arundel Wetland Centre is also a haven for people, with many visitors calling this quiet reserve nestled in the South Downs National Park a hidden gem.
The ten nature reserves nominated were listed in the August issue of Countryfile Magazine. The final decision on a winner now rests with the public who can vote in three ways: by sending an email to email@example.com, by visiting http://www.countryfile.com/awardsvote or by filling in a form in Countryfile Magazine.
Other categories in the Countryfile Awards include the nation’s favourite brand of outdoor gear, favourite market town, favourite TV/radio presenter and favourite heritage site. Voting closes on Sept 30 2013.