December, 2016

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Bugs, Birds and Beasts in the East

All of our up to date fun and frolics in the East from office antics to great conservation stories and those magical connections with nature.
  • Winter Walks Series: Minsmere

    Our upcoming blogs will highlight a series of walks, perfect for a nice winters day in the Eastern Region

    If you're looking for an easy stroll or a walk that everyone in the family will be up for, then Minsmere nature reserve is for you. Made famous due to its appearances on Springwatch, Minsmere has a vast array of species to see throughout the year. There is a choice of three short circular trails to choose from, that will take you through a variety of habitats and bring you closer to some of Minsmere's most exciting wildlife. To discover what makes Minsmere special, start exploring today.

    1. Coast trail - 2 miles (3.4 km) - 2 hours

    Firstly you will pass migrant birds feeding on the North Bushes and spectacular reed bed views along the North Wall. There are five hides overlooking the lagoons, where gulls, terns and avocets nest, migrant wading birds feed and hundreds of ducks will spend their winter. Head south along the beach to scan the Minsmere Levels and return through the reedbeds. The coastal element is part of the Suffolk Coast Path that runs from Felixstowe to Lowestoft.

    Photo: Nick Cunard

    2. Woodland trail - 1 miles (1.5km) - 1 hour

    A relatively new trail, this unsurfaced path takes you deep into Minsmere's woodlands to our Wild Zone and Nature Discovery Centre, perfect for kids to explore. 


    Photo: Nick Cunard

    3. Island Mere trail - 1.5 miles (2.4km) - 2 hours

    Here you can walk through oak woodland with Bittern hide and Island Mere hide overlooking the reedbeds. Look our for tit and finch flocks in winter and if you're lucky, a majestic red deer may stroll past you. Take a quick break in the skywatching seats on Whin Hill before heading back to the visitor centre.

    Photo: Roger Jones

    And if the winter walk has left you feeling peckish, there's a great cafe on site full of tasty treats!

    The reserve will be closed on Boxing day and open as normal from December 27. For information on the wheelchair and pushchair accessibility of each trail, please check our Facilities page.

    If you're looking for more beginner or family friendly walks in Suffolk, visit Discover Suffolk.

  • Winter Walks Series: Strumpshaw Fen

    A firm favourite with families and wildlife enthusiasts alike, RSPB Strumpshaw Fen nestled in the broads and part of the Mid-Yare National Nature Reserve has an array of fascinating wildlife and plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy.

    Walk around the reedbeds, woodlands and meadows, look out for shy wetland species including the resident bitterns and bearded tits, or the distinctive blue flash of a kingfisher hunting. If you're really lucky you may see otters hunting in the many pools and rivers and Chinese water deer walking around during dusk. 

    Photo: Wikipedia commons

    There are two circular walks, which can be combined to make a longer circuit route:

    1. The Fen trail - 2.3 miles (3.7 km)

    2. The Woodland trail - 1.6 miles (2.6 km)

    3. Circuit trail - 3 miles (4.8 km)

    There are three hides along the fen offering spectacular views of the reedbeds, housing many different duck species during the winter, including teals, gadwalls and shovelers. There is also a wheelchair-accessible viewing point at the main entrance, where one particular kingfisher can be spotted quite regularly. The start of winter has seen hundreds to thousands of starlings roosting in the reeds which has attracted predators including marsh harriers and the rare hen harrier.

    Photo: Ben Andrew

    RSPB Strumpshaw Fen has teamed up with Sport England to create Active in Nature, encouraging outdoor sporting activities in nature reserves. There are currently a range of Nordic walks that you can sign up to. There are also a range of guided walks for birdwatching beginners and experienced alike. Many sections of the nature trails can get wet and muddy during the winter so wear suitable footwear!

    Please note that visiting Strumpshaw Fen requires crossing a railway line at the entrance. Please watch children and look carefully to ensure no trains are coming. Feel free to use the phone to check with the signal operator that no trains are coming if you have a large group or mobility difficulties.

    If you're looking for more winter walks in the Norfolk broads, then perhaps visit nearby RSPB Buckenham Marshes or try Norfolk Broads Direct for more ideas.

  • Winter Walks Series: Wallasea Island

    If a walk in the wilderness is what you're looking for this winter, the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project will give you just that.

    Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is a collaboration with Crossrail to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. With 101 pairs of breeding avocets this year, RSPB Wallasea Island is on track to support the largest number of breeding avocets on any site in the UK, with potential for new colonists like black-winged stilts and the return of breeding Kentish plovers. This is the RSPB at its best – giving nature a home at a grand scale, and you are invited to come explore. 

    Photo: Andy Hay

    Although development is set to continue until 2025, the naturally regenerating marshland has already brought in a vast number of wintering wildlife and two new circular walks have opened, allowing you to see the progression of this ambitious project for yourself. Listen out for the whistle of the wigeons, the low 'bark' of the brent geese or the mournful whistle of the golden plovers, as well as the thousands of waterfowl creating a winter spectacle. 

    1. Allfleets Marsh Trail (3 km) - here you can walk the full length of the northern seawall. This raised footpath offers excellent panoramic views across the entire project.

    2. Jubilee Marsh Trail - here you have the choice of a shorter 1.5 km circular walk which gives you excellent views of our lagoons, or you can strike out on a longer 4.5 km walk which takes you on a loop around the grazing marsh and back to the car park.

    Or join in on the Mince Pie Special with a New Years Eve walk and an included mince pie and glass of mulled wine - booking is essential!

    We already have many waders on our new lagoons plus large numbers of raptors hunting the voles through the grassland. Come in the late afternoon to see the hunting owls and you might even see a hare!

    Photo: Andy Hay

    Once completed, the scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with an array of nationally and internationally important wildlife, and more than 15 km of new and improved access routes and visitor facilities. Keep coming back to see how much it changes each time and to see the different wildlife beginning to call this reserve home!

    This truly is a wild coast experience that you will enjoy. If all that walking leaves you peckish though, the nearest refreshments are at the Essex Marina Bar and Canewdon village, 3.5 miles (5.5 km) away, which has local shops and a pub.

    For more walks along the beautiful Essex coastline, visit Essex Walks.