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Wildlife charity prepares to welcome Royal visitor to Walney

Cumbria Wildlife Trust is looking forward to welcoming HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex at the charity’s popular nature reserve at South Walney near Barrow on Thursday 13 June.

The Earl will visit the new visitor centre at the nature reserve and will be accompanied by Claire Hensman, the Lord-Lieutenant for Cumbria. He will meet children from South Walney Infants School who will be taking part in wildlife-related activities, including discovering the underwater creatures that can be found in rockpools and find out more about the fascinating history of the nature reserve. He will be introduced to some of Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s young volunteers, find out more about the wildlife that makes South Walney so special and will cut a ribbon and sign the visitors’ book before he leaves.

Stephen Trotter, Chief Executive Officer of Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome His Royal Highness to what is one of our flagship nature reserves. We look forward to showing The Earl our new visitor facilities and talking about the wonderful haven for wildlife that we have here in South Walney.”

South Walney Nature Reserve has been managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust since 1963. The vegetated shingle is said to be amongst the best in England, and it is home to a rapidly expanding breeding grey seal colony. It is the only breeding colony of grey seals in the north west, and numbers have grown from around 50 in the 1980s to nearly 500 today. This post-industrial site is home to an important breeding colony of lesser black-back and herring gulls, the most southerly eider duck breeding site in Europe, and is of vital importance for wintering wader birds. The site forms part of the South Walney and Piel Channel Flats SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), and the Morecambe Bay and Duddon Estuary Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation.

The new visitor centre was funded by Orsted to turn existing underused office space into a welcoming and friendly visitor centre. Designed by Plain Creative, it features informative displays, a live-streaming SealCam on the big screen, teas and coffees, and our popular Cabin of Curiosities – a museum of interesting finds and history of the reserve.

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