Monday, 24 August 2015

Stuff to Do Near Shepherd's Bush - London Wetland Centre

London Wetland Centre
The London Wetland Centre, or LWC, is a wetland reserve in the heart of West London.  Go there for the day, and you might half think yourself in the deepest countryside.

Tucked into a loop in the River Thames, and formerly home to the Metropolitan Water Board, the London Wetland Centre is now habitat for rare and migrating birds - and much other wildlife, including a family of otters that get fed several times a day.  The Wetland Centre isn't free, but if you buy a family membership you can go there as much as you like.

Common Kingfisher by Andreas Trepte,
Wikimedia Commons
When did the London Wetland Centre open?
The centre first opened in 2000, and in 2002 it was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, known as the Barn Elms Wetland Centre.

How big is it?
The centre occupies more than 100 acres of land, formerly occupied by several small reservoirs. These were converted into a wide range of wetland features and habitats before the centre opened in May 2000. It was the first project of its kind in the UK.

What can you see there?
Many birds which have now made their home in the Centre cannot be found anywhere else in London, and there are nationally significant numbers of gadwall and northern shoveler.  Other wild birds include Eurasian bittern, northern pintail, northern lapwing, water rail, rose-ringed parakeet, Eurasian sparrowhawk, sand martin, common kingfisher, little grebe and great crested grebe.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
Wikimedia Commons

What else goes on?
The London Wetland Centre plays host to regular lectures and events concerned with preserving Britain’s wetland animals.  In 2012 London Wetland Centre was voted Britain's Favourite Nature Reserve in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.

How do you get there?
If you're feeling energetic, get there by taking the tube to Hammersmith, walk across Hammersmith Bridge, turn left on the Thames towpath and walk around the loop in the Thames to the front entrance. It's probably about a mile but it's a beautiful walk along the river. Then to get back, take the 283 bus from directly outside the LWC back to Hammersmith bus station.

To book tickets and find out more, visit the official site.

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