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Pensthorpe Nature Reserve and Gardens

Pensthorpe Nature Reserve and Gardens, host of BBC Springwatch, is a multi award winning attraction which has something to offer all those who love nature, wildlife and the outdoors.

Children can get hands on and become a bug detective on the bug walk, discovering underwater life pond dipping or collecting all the stamps on the wildlife tracker trail before letting off steam on the play ground. The 'Wild On Wildlife' activity booklet is packed full of activities for them to do while they are at the reserve and when they are at home.

With three gardens, two of which have been designed by Chelsea award winning garden designers, there is colour and interest throughout the year. The Wave Garden, designed by Julie Toll, bursts into life in Spring but then continues through the year with striking colour and form. The 'Wildlife Habitat Garden', which was opened by wildlife presenter Chris Packham, is packed full of hints and tips on how you can attract wildlife into your outdoor space. The Millennium Garden was the first public and largest naturalistic planting by the world famous designer Piet Oudolf and features bold drifts of colourful perennials. The Wildflower Meadow is stunning between May and the end of July and is a buzz with butterflies, dragonflies and awash with Orchids.

Pensthorpe is an important site for migratory species. The Wader Scrape is busy all year with large flocks of Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon and Shoveller over the winter months and waders including Little Ringed Plover, Avocet and Sandpiper during the spring and summer, all of which can be viewed from two hides positioned on the scrape. The woodland hide is a great place to sit and watch the coming and goings on the numerous feeders all set in a secluded woodland clearing.

Hobbies can be seen taking dragonflies on the wing on the Wildflower meadows and Barn Owls can be seen quartering the reserve looking for prey to take home and feed the brood. The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, a registered charity based on the reserve, is involved in the Great Crane Project with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trusts and the RSPB. The aim is to establish this once common bird back into the English countryside. Pensthorpe breed Corncrakes, the UK's only critically endangered species, as part of the Nene Washes breed and release program and Red Squirrels as part of the East Anglian Red Squirrel Breeding Programme.

Pensthorpe has a fantastic cafe serving locally sourced, seasonal home cooked food and its gift shop has a wide variety of amazing and unique gifts for all the family.

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