New experiences await visitors to RSPB The Lodge nature reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire thanks to work that has just completed to make nature more immersive and accessible for all.
Thanks to funding from GrantScape with a grant through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF), new features that help visitors of all ages to really connect with the natural wonders of the nature reserve have been installed as part of The Lodge Visitor Experience Project. These include:
• ‘Sky watching chairs’, hammocks and benches are being installed along walking trails for people to sit, relax, listen to nature and watch the tree-tops and sky above
• A new birdwatching screen with benches overlooking a new pond in the natural play area for children and families to get up close to wildlife, and a circle of chestnut posts representing an Iron Age roundhouse found on the reserve
• New ‘explorer’ equipment for families including ID guides, magnifying lenses, drawing materials and a microscope with moth trap to make nature more accessible for young children and inspire them to explore nature for themselves
• An accessible bird photography and birdwatching screen with benches overlooking a raised pond have been added to the Woodpecker Trail, offering up some great photo opportunities for photographers of all abilities
• Inspiration for all gardeners comes in the form of a new climate change resilient wildlife garden near the soon to be opened Gatehouse Café, focusing on planting nectar rich plants for pollinating insects, that can sustain through rising temperatures and periods of drought
• Information boards that encourage visitors to engage with wildlife watching, photography, and understand the fascinating Iron Age history of the site
These new features build on the already existing visitor offer at RSPB The Lodge which includes a Visitor Centre, shop, nature trails and regular wildlife themed events.
Not only will these new additions help visitors to the nature reserve understand the conservation work that is happening there to help wildlife, but the new features will help them connect with nature on an even grander scale.
Site Manager, Peter Bradley said: ‘‘This grant has funded a truly exciting project, delivering carefully prioritised visitor experiences for everyone, to make a good visitor experience a great one. Bringing people closer to nature was our main theme and it has been our ambition for some time to add these attractions to our nature reserve, to make The Lodge nature reserve really ‘sing’. We are hugely grateful to GrantScape and the LCF for enabling these exciting improvements.’’
To find out more about RSPB The Lodge go to www.rspb.org.uk/thelodge