“ Ideally placed to provide a 'stop over' and wintering habitat for migratory waterbirds after their passage over the North Sea, this recreated wetland provides large flocks of curlew and redshank with a safe place to roost and herons with a place to breed. „
I hadn't been here for a while and when we had our grandson one Saturday we decided to take him and Little Miss for a visit.
The place is situated just off a main road and is well sign posted so its easy to find. Once in the attraction, there is a large parking area and parking was easy for us as it was a particularly drizzly afternoon and so there were very few visitors.
To reach the main area, visitors have to walk down quite a bumpy and muddy path so its quite tricky with a pushchair. The visitor main entrance is nce and bright and once we had paid, we were sold some bird seed at £1 a bag and off we went.
Its grown a lot since I was last here but I remembered the start of the attraction with the Close Encounters. This has several different species of ducks and swans all of which seem particularly tame and will peck seed out of visitors' hands. The whole place has lots of wide open grassy spaces which is perfect for getting some fresh air and a good run around.
Another one of the attractions are the pink flamingos although on the day we visited they did look a bit sad as it was so damp. Better to look at were the statues of the flamingos close to the children's play area.
As we walked round there were several enclosed areas with different birds inside the areas and large informative signs telling us about the birds- where they were from, the name etc and also some personal history about the individual birds. Little Miss was saddened by the duck who had lost his mate and was pining!
There are plenty of different birds to look at and everything is well maintained. As well as the birds there is an otter enclosure with a viewing area where visitors can watch their antics. Included in the admission price are talks about the otters and otter feeding time although we didn't hang around for this as it was decidedly wet!
We walked along the riverside walk and had a look in the hides, to do a spot of bird watching. Whilst in one of these, we met up with a very keen bird watcher who gave us lots of information and who had taken all of the photos in the entrance.
One of the areas is set up like a Wild Western setting with a wooden cabin and walkboards leading towards the water. There is also a wild area where visitors can have a look into small ponds although the day we went this area was especially wet and muddy so we didn't linger too long.
At the end of our 2 hour walk where we saw lots of sculptures which are part of the sculpture trail, we came to the Splashzone Play Area. This has plenty of natural looking apparatus and features which help children learn about water including the Archimedes Screw. The children thoroughly enjoyed playing in this area and I was left thinking that more play areas should be like this, well designed with plenty to do.
After the play area there was the obligatory shop visit although we didn't (for once) buy anything. It seems to go heavy on the bird and duck theme so nothing caught Little Miss's eye apart from a vastly over priced bird feeder which I refused. There is a large and interesting education centre with tables and chairs and some rather interesting egg exhibits. Another area in this visitors area is the restaurant which serves a selection of snacks and drinks and where in the summer, visitors can dine outside.
Address: Pattinson, Washington Tyne and Wear NE38 8LE
Telephone: 0191 416 5454
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The attraction is open 7 days a week, and is closed only on 25 December. It opens daily at 9.30am and closes at 4.30pm in the winter and 5.30pm in summer with last admission being an hour before closing.
Concession: £5.91 (over 65 years, full-time students, unemployed)
Child: £3.86 (4 -16 years)
Family: £20.91 (2 adults & 2 children)
For anyone interested in birds or for people with children wanting a pleasant and fun outdoor morning or afternoon out, I would recommend this place. There is plenty to do and to look at, and even though it was drizzly when we went, being well wrapped up and prepared for the bad weather, we had a fun day.
In some ways it was better going when the weather wasn't great as we almost had the place to ourselves. The one problem is the lack of toilets when on walkabouts so make sure you go at the start of the walk if you have young children.
There are lots of organised events which seem to be well run and organised.
Worth a visit if you are in the area.
Thanks for reading
It has been many years since i last visited Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre, that is until earlier today. A few months ago my wife signed up for a membership card to the WWT at a cost of £5 per month so we thought it was about time we used it and as we enjoy going for walks with the children and the weather is lovely, today was that day.
The centre itself is set in 45 hectares of grassland and is open 364 days per year, (ie all days except christmas day). The opening times are 09.30 to 17.30 April to October and 09.30 to 16.30 November to March. The cost to enter the centre for a family of 2 adults and 2 children (4 to 16 years) is £18.
From what i remember the centre and park itself doe's not seem to have changed a great deal, There are still several sectioned areas where you can either interact with the wildlife or observe it from a distance. These areas include,
Close Encounters - In this area you enter through a closable gate and once inside the area there are several types of birds, mainly goose and ducks, some of which are willing to be fed by little ones directly from the hand and others that are not so willing but none were aggressive towards the little ones. Ideal for small one!
Flamingo's - There are a large colony of flamingos available to watch, from what i could see there must be about 25 or so. The distance from the birds where i was stood was about 30 foot in an un-obstructed view.
Play area - The play area i thought was rather nice for small one's, not too busy and a good variety of things to do. The slides in particular held the attention of my three as they are quite steep and therefore fast so they loved these. Some of the attractions could use a spruce up but overall a nice little play area for kids of varying ages.
Visitors Centre - The visitors centre appears to have been well designed initaially with quite a few things for young minds to involve themselves in, unfortunately i think it could do with make over as some of these areas were either not well enough lit or covered with a sign stating not available at the moment or out of order etc.
Other areas within the centre include, the reedbed, waterfowl nursery, meadows and woodland all of which were very different and nice to walk through.
Overall a very nice day out for the cost of our membership and the children really enjoyed it, They are all currently really tired from all the walking and are sprawled over the couch nearly asleep which is worth the money itself. I fully intent to keep our membership going as it will pay for itself in only 4 visits per year, which i'm sure we will make. Another bonus to the centre was that we were able to have our little boy walk around rather than in his buggy and we were not worried about his safety as is very open areas where he could roam around safely.