WWT Arundel in West Sussex joins call to create more wetlands as new research shows huge public support for investment in natural solutions to the climate emergency
Families can discover the wonder of wetlands this summer, with a self-led Wetland Explorer activities at Arundel Wetland Centre. Designed to teach valuable skills while having fun outdoors, these interactive challenges will reconnect visitors young and old with the natural world through wild play and exploration. Can you listen like an owl? Create the art of nature? Can you spot the different ways that birds feed? Go snap happy and collect photo memories? Grab your free logbook on arrival and tick off the self-led tasks as you venture around site to earn your Wetland Explorer sticker as a take-home reminder of your great day out! Or why not get even more hands-on during a pond dipping activity session daily with our team and included with admission (donations gratefully accepted). Plus, don’t miss the seasonal wildlife action out on our reserve, with highlights including young sand martins at the Sand Martin hide, ponds buzzing with colourful dragonflies and meadows awash with our stunning wetland wildflowers and butterflies. Both play areas are fully open and our café is serving takeaway snacks and treats, to be enjoyed indoors (limited seating) or surrounded by wildlife at one of our many picnic-friendly spaces. Wetland Explorers runs from Sat 24 July – Wed 1 Sept. Visit for https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/arundel admission tickets (must be pre-booked) and share your amazing adventures with us using #wetlandexplorers!
WWT Arundel Wetland Centre celebrated the official opening of the Coastal Creek Aviary and the Pelican Cove exhibit on Thurs 10 June. The evening’s activities also toasted the 75th Anniversary of the Wildfowl &Wetlands Trust and the 45th year since Arundel Wetland Centre first opened. Kevin Perberdy, CEO of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Barnaby Briggs, of the WWT Council of Trustees were on hand to greet 30 local supporters of the wetland charity including Tony Hunt, the Mayor of Arundel and Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel and South Downs and members of the Kleinwort Trust. Kevin Peberdy spoke about the history of the WWT and of Arundel Wetland Centre while Barnaby Briggs spoke about wetland habitat creation and restorations planned for the future. Arundel Wetland Centre Manager Tim McGregor said “Together with the recently opened Pelican Cove area next door, home to magnificent Dalmatian pelicans, Coastal Creek maximises bird welfare while providing a brilliant experience for visitors, and it’s hopefully the first of more developments to come.” Guests toured the 40 metre long Coastal Creek aviary, home to sea ducks with a diving tank with underwater views escorted by Head Keeper Samantha Halpin who oversaw the project work of contractors during the lockdown in 2020. Next door the Dalmatian pelicans were a bit lazy in the heat, only catching a few of their fish offered by keepers at their new Pelican Cove exhibit. However visitors dined on canapés made from Sussex ingredients, followed by trips through the reedbeds on the wetland boat safari to round out the evening of the outdoor special event. Development timeline Work on the two exhibits began in Nov 2019 by moving birds and relocating the fish and eels. Tree works began that December and earth moving began in January 2020 after the area had dried out a bit. The Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 temporarily stopped work during the first lockdown but construction resumed in June and finished in December. The deep diving tank and the equipment to flow water around the exhibit and out into the natural treatment reedbed were installed early in 2021. In Feb 2021 the Collection Team began introducing sea ducks and waders into their new aviary including new species like stunning spectacled eiders. Avocets and redshank were added in late March with the pair of tiny redshank often taking flight around the large netted aviary.
The new Coastal Creek avairy opened to visitors in April The next time you visit Arundel Wetland Centre, you'll be able to explore the Coastal Creek aviary. The new Coastal Creek aviary is landscaped with rocks, shoreline vegetation and waterfalls, to recreate a coastline feel, giving the seaducks and waders inside a more natural environment. Standing 15 metres tall and 40 metres long the aviary offers plenty of space for the birds to take flight. The large, glass sided diving duck tank opened on May 24 after an issue with the filtering system. The spectacled eiders and longtail ducks love clambering up the waterfall to swim on and dive in the tank. Special daily feeds & talks with our Keepers in the aviary will be part of our summer program in 2021. Male spectacled eider duck underwater in the diving tank Photo: Alan Strong Tim McGregor, Arundel Centre Manager. “With waders and ducks both swimming around and flying above visitors, it’s a truly multi-sensory experience.” Three types of habitat exist in the new Coastal Creek aviary. The wader stream replicates the shallow estuaries and gravelled beaches for redshank and avocets, while seaducks will feel at home in the deep water dive tank or climbing the waterfalls that mimic coastal cliffs. Who lives in the Coastal Creek Aviary: common scoters spectacled eiders harlequin scaly sided merganser long-tailed ducks avocets redshanks This ambitious development began in Nov 2019 by moving our collection birds and relocating the fish and eels. Tree works began that December and earth moving began in January 2020 after the area had dried out a bit. The Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 temporarily stopped work during the first lockdown but construction resumed in June and finished in December. The deep diving tank and the equipment to flow water around the exhibit and out into the natural treatment reedbed were installed early in 2021. In Feb 2021 the Collection Team began introducing seaducks and waders into their new aviary including new species like fantastic spectacled eiders. Avocets and redshank were added in late March with the pair of tiny redshank often taking flight around the large netted aviary. Visitors can see the new Coastal Creek Aviary when Arundel Wetland Centre reopens on April 12. We ask for your patience as we will have a safe queueing system in place at the aviary to assist visitor entry as the birds get used to the increase in people on site. Also look out for the new Pelican Cove exhibit next door, the home of magnificent Dalmatian pelicans. Our team will be on hand to answer questions at this exciting, new exhibit. Arundel Wetland Centre reopened on Mon 12 April. Book your visit
New observations postcard allow visitors to help wardens watch wildlife at Arundel Wetland Centre
This half term (May 28-June 6) pack your day out at WWT Arundel Wetland Centre full of family fun with pond dipping sessions, hand feeding the ducks and riding the boat safari! The wildlife viewing hides are open and there are loads of wild ducklings, goslings and cygnets roaming the meadows. Arundel Wetland Centre Manager Tim McGregor said “We are pleased to have restarted most of our pre-COVID activities at Arundel Wetland Centre, with some changes to help our visitors and staff stay safe.” New Family Pond Dipping sessions Diving beetle? Water spider? Damselfly? What creatures can your family spot on your twenty minute session at the Raised Pond? Family Pond Dipping sessions can be booked on the day of your visit at the admissions desk. We suggest a £3 family donation per session to keep us in pond nets and trays. Hand feed the nene geese Hand feeding the ducks has begun again, too. With seed in your hand and rare birds from around the world at your feet, giggles of delight are inevitable in the Lakes & Forests Exhibit. Get close to the friendly Nene geese with handfuls of healthy grain for 20p from our vending machine. Plus more experiences to fill your visitThe Wetland Boat Safari can be booked online along with your admission ticket, or onsite the day of your visit but seating is limited. Set off your watery adventure searching for dragonflies, fish and water voles between 11am to 3.30pm. There is an additional £3 charge for this activity. Both the Pond Skater and Tree Creepers play areas are open for families. Arundel’s wildlife hides are open with views of kingfishers, sand martins and lapwing families. Wild greylag goslings and mute swan cygnets are waddling around the meadows too! There is selection of hot and cold snacks, drinks and ice creams available by counter service from the Water's Edge cafe to fuel your wetland adventure. Sit indoors in the gallery or on the outdoor decking seats. You’re also welcome to bring your own food and drink and make use of our well-spaced picnic benches plus our ice cream van near the boat jetty is open. The Gift Shop is open offering a gorgeous selection of gifts, fun toys, informative books and good value bird food and feeding accessories. Buy an annual membership here to support the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust and your admission ticket counts towards the cost. Book online today To help keep everyone safe we’re carefully managing the number people who visit on any one day and are asking everyone to book in advance, so we can give you the best possible experience. Book your visit
Our wildlife hides are currently closed but there are many ways and places to experience wildlife this spring at Arundel Wetland Centre.
Meet the Dalmatian pelican - the largest and rarest of the pelican species with a wingspan up to 11 feet! Brand new to Arundel Wetland Centre these big birds are in the brand new Pelican Cove exhibit opening this April! Dalmatian pelicans were a familiar sight in UK wetlands 2000 years ago, but they became extinct here as their wetland homes were drained and people hunted them for food. These big birds are built to fish with a huge throat pouch under an oversized beak that holds up to 3 buckets of water, acting like a net to scoop up prey. Their new home on Pelican Cove was built in tandem with the brand new Coastal Creek aviary next door. We moved collection birds and relocated the fish and eels from the old World wildfowl exhibit in Nov 2019. Tree cuts that December were followed by earth movers in Jan 2020. The Covid 19 pandemic slowed construction down, as did a pair of oystercatchers who nested and raised two chicks in the middle of the construction site! The exhibit with its two islands where the pelicans will gather for daily feeds was completed in Dec 2020. Dalmatian pelican released into its new home - Pelican Cove The Dalmatian Pelicans are sharing their home with some noisy neighbours – the red breasted geese, nicknamed squeakers for their distinct “squeaky toy” call. The geese will help keep the grass in check as they love to graze plus their noisy presence will add some interest for the placid pelicans. Who lives in Pelican Cove? Dalmatian pelicans Red-breasted geese
The kingfishers are back at the nesting bank on Arun Riverlife lagoon, opposite the Discovery hide.
Love birds? National Nest Box week begins on Valentines Day, Sun 14 Feb. Show garden birds some love by putting up a new nest box in any outdoor space you have! If you already have nest boxes it’s time to give them a spring clean. Attracting birds to your green space is an easy way to connect with nature during lockdown. Get outdoors, close your eyes for just a moment and listen for birdsong. Being attuned to what birds are doing can give meaning and rhythm to our own lives. Tree creeper chicks in a nestbox at Arundel Wetland CentreBirdy BehavioursIn February birds begin to pair up and look for nesting spots for the breeding season. Watch for nesting activities like birds carrying twigs, moss or feathers in their beaks. Listen out for male birds singing to establish their territory. Reserve Warden Suzi Lanaway said: “As natural nesting places disappear birds rely on nest boxes in gardens. With birds searching for nesting sites mid-February it’s a good time to get a nest box up to support nesting birds.” Wardens at WWT Arundel check all our nest boxes in February, replacing damaged nest boxes, moving unused ones to new spots and giving them a clean. Many boxes are used as roosting spots for birds and hidey holes for small mammals over the winter months. Checking the nest boxes in the Wood Loop at Arundel Wetland CentreAn old blue tit nest removed from a nest boxNew to Nest boxes? It’s possible to get a beginners box made from pine for under £10 from most online stockist like the WWT online store https://shop.wwt.org.uk/collections/birdcare or you can go high end with a cedar nest box. Cedar timber ages naturally and attractively and gives excellent insulation and strength. Invest in a metal protecting plate to surround the entrance to your nest box. This will stop squirrels and other predators from enlarging the hole to get inside the nest. If you are handy with a hammer it’s easy to build your own nest box with loads of ideas available online. Pick a nest box with an entry hole that is right the types of birds that are in your area. A 26mm hole is suitable for blue, marsh and coal tits, and possibly wrens but all other species will be excluded by the smaller entrance. A 32mm entry hole is suitable for great, marsh & coal tits, redstart, nuthatch, pied flycatcher, house sparrow and tree sparrows. Robins, blackbirds, pied wagtails, and song thrush and grey wagtails use an open front box. Tuck it behind some greenery if you want to attract a wren. Not sure who is who? Our family friendly, free garden bird spotter sheet may help, download it here: https://www.wwt.org.uk/uploads/documents/2020-04-22/wwt-spotter-sheet-garden-birds-1.pdf Use galvanized wire to attach a nest box to a tree, aim for 1-3 metres from the ground. No trees? The side of a shed or wall will do but use screws that won’t rust away. Not a Nest Box newbie? If you already have nest boxes now is the time for maintenance. If you are not sure if birds are currently using your nest box it is best to leave it alone. It is illegal to damage the nest of any wild bird while in use or being built. The eggs of all wild birds are also protected. If the box appears empty, clean it, repair any damage or replace it if it is broken. To enable cleaning, most enclosed nest boxes open easily with a wire or clip that holds the roof or front closed. Empty old nest material out the bird box and clean it with boiling water to kill parasites. When the box is totally dry, close and rehang it. Are you finding your nest boxes are not being used year to year? Try moving them to a new location. Ensure the nest box slants down to keep out rain and is sheltered from prevailing wind and strong sunlight. Also don’t put up a bird box too close to your bird feeders – all the feeder activity will prevent birds from using it. For this same reason don’t put nest boxes for different species close together. National Nest Box Week was established by the British Trust for Ornithology and bird care specialists Jacobi Jayne.
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the conservation charity which runs Arundel Wetland Centre, in partnership with leading mental health charity the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), have created a guide to help people improve their mental health and wellbeing by getting out and connecting with winter wetland nature. Launched today on World Wetland Day The booklet entitled ‘Wetlands and Wellbeing: A Guide for Winter’ includes practical tips, ideas and inspiration to help people get the most out of their local wetlands during the long ‘locked down’ winter months. Wetlands can be dramatic and changeable, wild, watery and full of life and during winter there’s no better place to enjoy nature. There are also creative ideas on expressing a love for nature through writing, music and art. There’s something special about water, with its power to inspire and calm us. *Research shows that spending time in ‘blue’, watery places in particular, can bring higher benefits than green spaces in improving how you are feeling, reducing both negative thoughts and levels of stress.This year in particular, people have been connecting with nature in new and interesting ways and realising how vital it is for their mental health and wellbeing. Jolie Goodman from the MHF said: “For millions of people, myself included, access to nature has been an essential way to manage the impact of life in lockdown on our mental health. This guide is an opportunity to ensure that more people can experience the benefits of the natural world for their wellbeing. This is echoed in the choice of Nature as the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this May”. Hannah Clifford from WWT added: “We hope the guide will inspire people to connect with wetlands and ‘blue’ spaces in more meaningful ways. Making a deep emotional connection with nature is more beneficial than exposure alone”. “The guide helps boost this emotional connection by giving practical tips, such as photographing spectacular ice patterns on frozen waters, getting your waterproofs on and jumping in puddles or listening to the trickling of a meandering stream”. “Our WWT wetland centres are ideal places to take in the fresh air and appreciate what the great outdoors have to offer, but with our centres currently closed we want to inspire people to experience their local streams, ponds, lakes and other watery places and if that isn’t possible, give them ideas to bring the outside in, through creativity”. The booklet is available to download from WWT and is part of a dedicated online wetland wellbeing hub that people can access for more inspiration and ideas to improve their wellbeing through connecting with nature, in particular, ‘blue’ spaces. This is hub is regularly updated with new content and ideas. For more info visit wwt.org.uk/wellbeing
Arundel Wetland Centre had a visit from Secret Santa on Wednesday 23 December and the nene geese were all in a flap! Like other animal attractions belonging to the British Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) WWT Arundel Wetland Centre had joined into Secret Santa fun to bring some Christmas cheer after what has been a tough year for many zoos. To participate our keepers made a wish list of items our birds may like under £10 and been assigned the name of another attraction to send gifts to. Our mystery package arrived on Dec 23rd stuffed with a small bird food cage, an enrichment toy for ducks, a rain poncho for staff, a flashlight and a ducky piggy bank all eagerly unwrapped by Collection Keepers Sam, Bernie and Ben (because the nenes have no opposable thumbs!)Thankyou Secret Santa and Merry Christmas!
WWT Arundel Wetland Centre is proud to be part of the beautiful, historic market town of Arundel. Every December the town trims itself with Christmas trees full of festive cheer and Arundel Wetland Centre is pleased to be part of that tradition. A visit to Arundel Wetland Centre can help you DUCK your halls with eco-friendly, sustainable gifts and decorations that support nature. Its also a great way to walk off your festive feast! Afterwards your lovely outdoor experience at Arundel Wetland Centre pop into the town of Arundel and discover unique shops and eateries to help you find your holiday spirit! Arundel Wetland Centre is open every day of the holiday season except Christmas Day and closes at 2 pm on Christmas Eve. Arundel Wetland Centre is open seven days a week – booking is essential.
A world of discovery awaits you this winter at WWT Arundel Wetland Centre. Enjoy a wintery stroll in in wide open spaces to walk off your festive feasting. Experience amazing wildlife and see some of the world’s most dramatic and rare birds all in one place. Arundel Wetland Centre is fully accessible with buggy and wheelchair friendly pathways, comfortable wildlife hides and disabled and parent & baby facilities. Visit the gift shop at WWT Arundel Wetland Centre to DUCK your halls with unique, eco-friendly, sustainable gifts to help our planet. Breathe in the scents of the season with fragrant dried fruit by Jormaepourri of Gloucester. Deck your halls with ‘Felt So Good’ fairtrade decs hand-made in Nepal, Fairtrade papier-mache birds hand-made in Kashmir and Woodcutter Creations made of birch plywood in Yorkshire! Plus we've some birdy good WWT charity Christmas cards, too! Treat yourself to a festive gingerbread latte and a Christmas pudding cookie from the Water’s Edge Café during your visit to WWT Arundel Wetland Centre. Take a break from your wintery walk to enjoy hot and cold snacks, treats and drinks served in take away cups and wrappings to keep you safe. The café is open 10am-4pm for WWT visitors only. Give a Gift Membership to Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) for a unique, sustainable gift this season. Give someone special unlimited access to nature and help protect precious wetland species. Buy a membership at the admissions desk or online. Ask in centre about discounts on Membership for Arundel residents. Pay by Direct Debit and receive a free Kingfisher tote bag! Arundel Wetland Centre open every day of the holiday season except Christmas Day and we close at 2 pm on Christmas Eve. Arundel Wetland Centre is open seven days a week – booking is essential as visitor numbers are limited at https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/arundel/boo...
The path that runs along the Mill Stream just outside the perimetre fence of WWT Arundel Wetland Centre (between Mill Road and the Arun River) has been closed for at least 21 days for tree works. This is a popular path for local dog walkers as it joins the path along the Arun River. The West Sussex County Council has closed this path for a minimum of 21 days (as of Oct 31, 2020) but the path on the opposite bank remains open as an alternate route for walkers. Works in the area will be weather dependant so the path may be closed longer. A recent tree inspection by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust revealed maintenance is required along the stream after bouts of heavy winds and rains this autumn. Trees and branches cut in this area must also be removed as not to become a floating hazard if the path is flooded by high tides and heavy rains this winter. The bank of the stream closest to the perimeter fence with its walking path parallel to the reserve, is managed by Arundel Wetland Centre. Trees both inside and outside the fences of the wetland reserve are inspected regularly.