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Official Opening For New Facilities At Radipole Lake


9:01am 14th May 2012

New facilities at Radipole Lake Natures Reserve in Weymouth are being officially opened this morning.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax and Mayor Graham Winter will do the honours at what the RSPB are calling their state of the art Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre.

The centre has undergone major refurbishment which includes screens showing video and live footage of the reserve's wildlife, information boards and large reserve maps; full length blackboards detailing forthcoming events as well as reserve sightings and impromptu art work; a coffee shop with indoor and patio seating; a customer toilet with baby changing facilities, and improved access for disabled people. There will also be free Wi-Fi access so visitors can surf the web whilst enjoying a locally-sourced cake.

Out on the reserve, new boardwalks have been installed. Along with the upgraded footpaths, these are all wheelchair and pushchair accessible, leading to raised viewing platforms and giving bird's eye views into otherwise hidden areas of the reedbeds, ditches and open water. There is also a new storytelling and picnic area with wonderfully carved wildlife-themed wooden seating.

RSPB Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre manager Michelle Williams said: "We believe the new facilities and family trail will give our visitors the best possible experience they can have of our beautiful Weymouth Wetlands.

"The place is much more interactive and people will be able to get involved in all sorts of ways, whether it's drawing their own pictures of the wildlife they've seen up on the blackboards, watching the nest cams and other footage, doing a spot of pond-dipping and finding out about 'what lurks beneath', or holding their own community events at the picnic area."

Luke Phillips, Weymouth Wetlands information officer added: "And of course people will still be able to just go for a stroll, and get much better views of wildlife such as warblers and wildfowl and some of our iconic birds including bearded tits, marsh harriers, kingfishers and hopefully even bitterns.

"We'll also be holding more in-depth events including educational sessions for schools and community groups, where people can learn about the ecology of the reserves and about habitats and wildlife in other parts of Weymouth and Portland."

The new RSPB Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre and family trail has been completed with generous funding from EU INTERREG IV A2 Seas Programme; Natural England's Access to Nature initiative through the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme and Defra/European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The work follows a two-year restoration project completed last winter, creating a mosaic of habitats and revitalising Radipole Lake from roadside café to five-star hotel and restaurant for wildlife.

You can get more information by visiting the RSPB Weymouth Wetlands website or their blog by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 01305 778313.

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