Britain’s Favourite Nature Reserve Is On Your Doorstep

Wetland Centre voted top by public in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards

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Wildside Pond ©Jamie Wyver

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Wildside Pond (pictured right) at WWT London Wetland Centre WWT London Wetland Centre has been chosen as the UK’s ‘Favourite Nature Reserve’ by members of the public. The astonishing array of wildlife that calls the Centre home, the viewing hides and family-focused visitor centre all helped London Wetland Centre to win this prestigious award in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.

As the River Thames was the focal point for the Jubilee festivities and a celebration of Britain’s rural idyll opened the London 2012 Olympics, it is perhaps not surprising that the capital should be home to one of the best bits of the UK’s countryside too.

The Countryfile Magazine Awards are a celebration of the countryside, so it is ironic that the winning reserve is in the capital, just ten minutes by bus from Hammersmith tube. When Sir David Attenborough opened the Centre in 2000 he stated, “London Wetland Centre is the ideal model for how humankind and the natural world may live side by side in the 21st century”, an accolade the Centre has managed to live up to.

Fergus Collins, Editor of Countryfile Magazine, commented:
“The Countryfile Magazine Awards are a great way for the magazine and its readers to celebrate the best of the British countryside. Essentially, we’re saying a heartfelt thanks to all those who work so hard to protect our landscapes, heritage and wildlife – and having a bit of fun along the way.”

WWT London Wetland Centre wardens with the Award Adam Salmon, Reserve Manager at WWT London Wetland Centre, declared: “We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award and I would like to thank everyone who voted for us. We work hard to create the right habitats for the 180 bird species that come here each year, not to mention the thriving water vole colony, bats, dragonflies and grass snakes that inhabit our 105 acres. One of our greatest successes is the fact that bitterns spend the winter in our reed beds, as you would normally expect to see them in places like Norfolk. ”

Announcing the winners, Countryfile stated:
“Our readers chose this astonishing wildlife haven in the heart of the capital from a shortlist drawn up by naturalists Stephen Moss and Dominic Couzens. Superb viewing hides and a great family-focused visitor centre make for thrilling nature-watching.”

Now in their second year, the Countryfile Magazine Awards were launched in April and feature 12 categories, from conservation projects and best heritage attraction to country writers and the finest nature reserves.

WWT London Wetland Centre is one of nine UK wetland centres managed by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), based in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. WWT also won the category for Best Conservation Project for its Great Crane Project and WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Scotland was shortlisted in the Favourite Nature Reserve category.


August 25, 2012