Saturday 1 November 2014

Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Slimbridge, GL2 7BT
(01453) 891900

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Slimbridge Wetland Centre in the Stroud area of Gloucestershire is not only home to the world’s largest collection of swans, geese and ducks, but it is also the only place in the UK where you can see all six species of flamingo.

The vision of naturalist and artist Sir Peter Scott, Slimbridge holds international significance as the headquarters of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), with 325 hectares of protected wetlands which also play home to wildlife including water voles, waders, hares and dragonflies.

Gloucestershire residents and visitors will find an award-winning centre, Sloane Tower, the Discovery Centre and Toad Hall – not to mention wildlife-inspired films in the cinema and art in the gallery. Slimbridge also offers a year-round programme of walks, art exhibitions, events, workshops, talks and spectacular wildlife encounters – making this an unmissable county attraction.

See, email or call (01453) 891900 for more information.

Slimbridge Wetland Centre photo gallery

Complete with an astounding array of wildlife including the world’s largest collection of swans, geese and ducks – not to mention new canoe safaris – Slimbridge Wetland Centre is a Gloucestershire attraction well worth seeking out. Take a peek at’s gallery before planning your own visit.

Dubbed ‘The birthplace of modern conservation’, Slimbridge Wetland Centre provides the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with nature – playing home to a truly breathtaking array of birds, including the world’s largest collection of swans, ducks and geese – as well as pretty in pink flamingos which can be seen tiptoeing in the waters.

The vision of naturalist and artist Sir Peter Scott, the centre also doubles-up as the headquarters of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) and has long been a popular attraction for Gloucestershire residents and visitors alike. While, new for 2008, the canoe safaris are nothing short of spectacular.

To find out more about this unmissable county attraction, see Slimbridge Wetland Centre, visit, email or call (01453) 891900. And don't miss's review of Slimbridge Wetland Centre.

© SoGlos

Saturday 28 June 2008


Discover how to catch a duck with a dog during a Working Dog Demonstration at Slimbridge Wetland Centre.

Working Dog Demonstrations at Slimbridge

Saturday 1 November 2014 to Saturday 28 February 2015

Discover how Slimbridge Wetland Centre keeps track of its feathered friends during one of several Working Dog Demonstrations...

See the wild birds feeding during this popular winter spectacular. © Nick Cottrell.

Wild Bird Feeds at Slimbridge

Sunday 2 November 2014 to Saturday 28 February 2015

See thousands of wild birds and enchanting Bewick’s swans feed by floodlight at Slimbridge Wetland Centre’s Swan Lake,...

Birdwatch morning at Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Saturday 8 to Sunday 9 November 2014

Wrap up warm, don your wellies and head out early to join Slimbridge Wetland Centre’s warden on his morning rounds...

Intermediate Wildlife Photography at Slimbridge

Friday 21 November 2014

This promises to be a great opportunity for those with a solid understanding of basic photography to fine-tune their skills...

Become an advanced birder at Slimbridge

Friday 5 December 2014

This class will be for those already interested in birdwatching looking to improve their knowledge. Expect to learn about...

Slimbridge Wetland Centre review

Rating: 4.5/5

A day out at Slimbridge Wetland Centre near Stroud wasn’t quite the trip down memory lane we had expected – providing more to see and do than we could have ever envisaged. And while having children isn’t necessarily required, the little ones will love it too.

Like many a Gloucestershire resident, there wasn’t a single member who didn’t have a childhood memory of being taken to Slimbridge Wetland Centre as an excitable nipper. While the years may have seen us grow a few feet in height, with an uncharacteristically bright sun in the sky as we jumped in the car bound for a day trip to the attraction near Stroud, a nostalgic feeling of youthful anticipation returned to what could usually be described as a cynical bunch of grown-ups.

‘Shouldn’t we have borrowed a kid from somewhere?’, one of the team remarked, perhaps a little self-conscious that the mums and dads queuing up to enter Slimbridge had buggy-bound excuses for their frivolous fun day out. We needn’t have worried though, once we were through the modern glass concourse – complete with one-legged flamingo sculptures courtesy of local school children – there were smiles plastered across the faces of visitors of all ages, whether they had wide-eyed, mischievous youngsters in tow or not.

Scratching our heads with a map in our hands the arguments over where to start were quickly put to a stop when we pin-pointed the location of the Canoe Safari. Met by an enthusiastic volunteer who raved about the years she has spent at Slimbridge, we bought a big paper bag of grain and were shown the way – past an assortment of beaked-beauties – to the Fisherman’s Hut and the start of the safari. Unsurprisingly, there was a bit of a queue for the centre’s latest attraction, and while we could have written our names down and returned when there was a free slot, our impatience to get on the open water saw us standing in line.

After a brief safety talk – when were told not to stand-up, or jump and down in the boat! – £3 per canoe (which fits two adults and two small children aged four and above) was handed over, life jackets were strapped on and we were armed with wooden oars, before being helped to clamber into the open-topped canoe by a smiling, wader-clad staff member thigh-high in the water. Ignoring warnings that if we dropped our cameras over the side they’d be gone forever, we were off.

The rowing – and working as a team – took a little getting used to, but we soon kidded that we could have given Steve Redgrave a run for his money, as we sculled peacefully past reeds filled with wildlife which occasionally poked their heads out on the tranquil trail. Lines of fluffy ducklings following their mum caused ubiquitous ahhhs, nervous moorhens bobbed across the green water, and the bag of grain came in handy for feeding a family of geese. Ornithologists we, unfortunately, are not or we’d be naming plenty more feathered species spotted as we floated along trying not to crash into the banks. As well as occasionally meeting with – and bumping into – other amateur canoeists, as much as we kept our eyes peeled, the grass snake that had been spotted by another boat that afternoon proved elusive.

Wishing we had slapped on some sun screen, after an arm-aching hour of paddling, we grabbed a well-deserved ice-cream from the outdoor café before it was on to a whistle-stop tour of the rest of the centre, which included: hopping over stepping stones to see the first batch of pink flamingos – including Carlos and Fernando, the famous same sex pair; popping by to see the celebrity chicks from the televised Crane School; and on to Close Encounters – where the rest of the grain was gobbled up by an array of greedy geese and ducks at our feet, as we weren’t as brave as the kids who hand-fed them.

The raucous residents of the smelly flamingo house made themselves heard from a fair distance away, perhaps as Slimbridge is home to all six species of the pink bird they thought they had a lot to shout about; then it was up past the swans gliding gracefully on the lake; and back to the visitor centre, where day trippers were comparing their digital snaps over calorific fresh cakes and cups of tea.

If you didn’t know, Slimbridge Wetland Centre was the vision of naturalist Sir Peter Scott and is now the headquarters of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, not to mention home to the world’s largest collection of swans, ducks, flamingos and geese. Dubbed ‘the birthplace of modern conservation,’ we found ourselves spoilt for choice for beautiful eye-catching birds to see and snap our cameras away at – with rare and endangered species from around the globe being protected and bred on our doorstep.

While it’s true that serious bird watchers and children are both well-catered for – the kids in particular get an outdoor play area, the interactive Toad Hall exhibit, and the brand new Welly Boot Land about to open in July 2008, all to themselves – fitting into neither category there was still a more than a day’s worth of things to see and do at Slimbridge Wetlands Centre.

The reserve, beyond the fox-proof fence, covers over 325 hectares in itself, so a Land Rover safari is top of our list of to dos next time, with a climb to the top of Sloane Tower, a visit to the tropical bird house, and a stint in a hide also on there. What is for certain is that, while Slimbridge Wetland Centre is almost unrecognisable from our visits as children, we won’t be waiting another 20 years for our return trip.

To find out more about Slimbridge Wetland Centre, call (01453) 891900, visit or email And don't miss's Slimbridge Wetland Centre photo gallery, taken during the team’s visit.

By Michelle Fyrne

© SoGlos

Sunday 29 June 2008

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