[A] new visitor hub at one of South Cumbria’s most spectacular nature reserves is being created thanks to a £23,000 grant from renewable energy company Ørsted through their Walney Extension Community Fund.
Cumbria Wildlife Trust has been welcoming visitors to South Walney Nature Reserve for many years. Wildlife lovers have been able to walk along the marked trails, look for birds and seals from hides dotted throughout the nature reserve and look at artefacts from the nature reserve in the warden’s cabin.
Now, work to create a new wheelchair-accessible visitor hub is underway, with the aim to make a visit to South Walney even more enjoyable. The grant will be used to create a welcoming space for visitors to learn about this special place, view the seal colony via the webcam and enjoy a hot drink and a snack. Outside will see a revamp with new decking installed around the building so visitors can enjoy the views and have a picnic.
There will be lots of activities for visitors to take part in, particularly for children. Arts and crafts will keep kids busy indoors and activity backpacks are available to hire to take out around the nature reserve and include kids’ binoculars and wildlife spotter activity sheets. People will also be encouraged to record the wildlife they’ve seen at the nature reserve.
Work on the new visitor hub will begin over the summer and be completed in time for the seal pupping season this winter.
Sarah Dalrymple, South Walney Warden said: “This new visitor hub should transform the way people access and enjoy the nature reserve. Our amazing volunteers welcome visitors to the reserve and help them get the most out of their visit but offering this new indoor space where people can look at displays, get information from our volunteers and get a cup of tea will make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone, especially when the weather isn’t great.
“The visitor hub will be the new heart of the nature reserve, where people can come together to chat, take shelter and learn more about our wonderful wildlife.”