A getaway from the Christmas crowds is on offer at a popular nature reserve on Ellesmere Port’s outskirts.
With the yuletide countdown well under way a trip to the RSPB’s Burton Mere Wetlands reserve close to the M56 is said to provide for people wanting a break from the hustle and bustle of the high streets.
Recommending ‘the perfect way to unwind this winter’, Dan Trotman at the Dee Estuary reserve said: “The reserve is at its busiest in winter playing host to tens of thousands of wetland birds visiting from the far north, just like Father Christmas!
“Not only are the large flocks a sight to behold but winter is also the best time of year to see birds of prey with marsh harriers, peregrines and merlins regularly hunting the flocks. All of this can be enjoyed beside our pellet stove with a mince pie and a hot drink in our cosy reception hide.”
The reserve offers plenty for families to do with a free seasonal quiz to follow around the nature trails. Wildlife Explorer backpacks are available to hire daily for £3 complete with binoculars and other nature detective equipment and a den building area in the woodland enables people to make a shelter from the chillier weather.
Dan added: “The recent cold snap transformed the reserve into a picturesque winter wonderland so it’s the perfect place for a bracing walk to work off those Christmas indulgences.”
The reserve is open every day except Christmas Day from 9.30am to 4.30pm with an early close of 3pm on Christmas Eve and a late opening of 10.30am on Boxing Day.
In the new year a high tide raptor watch event is taking place at the wilder part of the reserve at Parkgate. Visitors will have the chance to see the rare phenomenon of the water covering the whole marsh, reaching the sea wall.
As well as closer views of thousands of ducks, geese and waders as they are forced upstream by the rising tide visitors may also spot rare hen harriers in search of mice and voles that are flushed from the grasses.
The event takes place on Thursday January 4 from 10.30am to 1.30pm and is free of charge but donations are welcomed on the day.
No booking is required and further information can be checked out on www.rspb.org.uk/deeestuary , by calling the reserve on 0151 353 8478 or by emailing email@example.com.