Sunday 26th January: Welney and the surrounding area

Welney and the surounding area      Co-ordinator – Liz Bridge

This trip will also include a visit to Denver Sluice (grid ref TF588012) prior to reaching Welney (grid ref TF547944).  Welney, in Norfolk, takes in 1,000 acres of the northernmost part of the Ouse Washes – Britain’s largest area of seasonally-flooded land and the setting for one of the most magical events in the UK’s nature calendar – mass winter gatherings of many thousands of wild ducks, geese and swans.  There were some 3000 Whooper and 300 Bewick swans on the reserve during the last week in November.  Wigeon graze the area and large numbers of Pochard clamour over the swans at feeding time.  Dabbling ducks include Pintail, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler.

The main observatory consists of a centrally-heated main area and two wing hides. These areas can be used to view winter wild swan feeds with accompanying commentary. A short distance from the main observatory is the reedbed hide, which is also fully accessible and looks out over the southern end of the washes. In the opposite direction, two fully accessible hides with ramps and lower access windows overlook the mid-section of the washes. About 10-15 minutes walk from the main observatory are the final two hides. These overlook the northern end of the reserve and are ideal for watching waders. 

Trip details: Please arrange to share cars where possible.

For those who wish to visit Denver Sluice to check the area, meet there (grid ref TF588012 at 9am. Those wishing to meet at Welney (grid ref TF547944) should be in the car park by 10am.  We will be entering the reserve as a group in order to qualify for the group rate (minimum 12 persons).  We will be met and given a brief introduction to the site and an update on what to see.  Entry charge as part of the group rate is £6.30, over 65’s £4.80.  To qualify for the group rate it is necessary that we pay in one transaction.  Please ensure that you bring with you the correct money for your entry.  I will collect this before we enter and then make the single payment.  (If we do not make the group rate the charges are £7.50 and £5.70.)   If you are a member of WWT your entry is, of course, free.   Swan feeding times are 12 noon, 3.30pm and a floodlit feed at 6.30pm.  My suggestion is that we start by checking the hides close to the main observation area, then watch the 12 noon feed, followed by lunch.  We will then visit the further hides to see what is about.  Those who wish can, of course, stay for the floodlit feed but this will not be part of the organised day


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