Martin Mere Wetland Centre

314 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

May, 2018

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Travelled with

Adult family

Reasons for trip

This past May I made a return visit to “Martin Mere Wetland”: in Lancashire. It had been four years since my last “visit”: and there have been some changes. The European beaver exhibit is gone but there is a new white stork exhibit in its place. The otters are still there and we saw a new garden exhibit.

We took a picnic lunch with us and ate it on the bench at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Garden exhibit in the Wooded Wetlands. This garden commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada and was a gold winner at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017. The garden also reflects the 10th anniversary of RBCs commitment to preserve fresh water in the world through its Blue Water Project. After the show closed, the garden was dismantled and transported in seven 26 tonne lorries to Martin Mere and recreated. This isn’t a colourful garden as it represents a boreal landscape: forests, rivers, wetlands and exposed bedrock.

We tried to make it to the talks and feeding times listed that day in the visitor centre. The first one was the flamingos. What the sign failed to specify was which flamingos; there are two separate exhibits. We were at the South American flamingos and it was the Greater flamingos. We discovered our mistake when we got to the white crane feeding time and asked what happened with the flamingo feeding. The staff told us there were two exhibits and we were at the wrong one. A recurring theme as we toured the site is that the female residents far outnumber the males. To maintain breeding at the Centre, they need to bring in some males. We first heard about this at the white stork exhibit – they’re all females. The problem is being able to bring birds into the country when there is a bird flu issue. The immediate challenge for the staff was to ensure the storks got some of the fish rather than the pesky gulls who always show up at feeding time. The storks are timid and don’t fight off the gulls.

The female dominance arose again when we went to the otter feeding – they’re all sisters. Very cute they are too as they crunch into their fresh crab. They were all hiding inside until the food came so it was a good opportunity to see them.

As we headed out to the hides to try some bird watching we checked out some of the interesting wildfowl: smews or smee ducks (smallest sawbill ducks) and canvasbacks (one of the largest diving ducks). At the hides there was not much around this time. We could see some geese and swans in the distance (thanks to our binoculars) but not much close by other than a pheasant and moorhens. Autumn and winter are the time to see swans out at the hides. We ended up in the café with hot coffees to warm up as it was a chilly afternoon.

If you forget your binoculars you can rent some in the In focus binocular shop next to the Discovery hide. Much of the site is wheelchair accessible.

Denise Bridge

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