We found Attenborough Nature Reserve by accident whilst looking for somewhere to go for a short walk when we were in the Nottingham area of the UK a couple of weekends ago. It is a beautiful set of lakes, wetlands, and grasslands that was created by flooding disused gravel pits, and since its opening in 1967 it has become an important habitat for birds and other wildlife.
We parked up (paying the £3 car-park donation) before walking over to the nearest of the lakes which has the visitor centre hovering above it on stilts. Here on the shores were a multitude of birds; geese, swans, and several different types of duck. They were very friendly and used to being fed by the public (you can buy special bird food which is much better than feeding them bread!)
We were happy to see that some of the geese had goslings in tow!
We ventured over the bridge into the wildlife centre, a wonderful building on an island housing a café, shop, loos and educational facilities. At the back of the centre is a small wildlife garden and access to a Sand Martin hide. Here we found some more geese with their young.
Venturing back over the bridge, we decided to do a short circular walk around one of the lakes. First we had to spend a bit more time with all the birds we’d seen upon arrival.
The walk was very peaceful with views of calm water and green trees.
Part of the walk led us next to the river Trent which runs adjacent to the nature reserve, across which we were able to see the impressive cooling towers of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, evidence that even though it felt like we were in the middle of the countryside, industry is never far away. It seemed fitting as none of the nature reserve would be here at all if it were not for the industry of gravel extraction. Quarrying, mining and similar operations are so damaging to the natural world. We were so encouraged to see a disused industrial site turned into something so serene that wildlife and people can enjoy in equal measure. We feel this transformation of disused pits and quarries should be mandatory as it seeks to rectify some of the damage we have done. The Cotswold Water Park in Gloucestershire was created by similar means.
We saw plenty more water birds on our way around, including some ducklings and an island of Terns!
We had a wonderful day out here and would recommend it to anyone who loves wildlife and nature. If you’re interested in visiting, the website address is http://www.attenboroughnaturecentre.co.uk/ and gives more information.
We hope you enjoyed the pictures. We have well and truly stocked up on pictures of birds now so expect some more of that soon.
Thanks for reading and keep exploring.
Adam & Harriet