Waters’ Edge Country Park and Visitor Centre

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Things to do


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Family including children under 16

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When the Visitor Centre was opened in 2006 it was state of the art technology. Exhibits haven’t been updated since and are now beginning to look a little sad. TV display screens aren’t always working and one of the camera leads has been chewed through by animals. I had been warned that there wasn’t a lot there but even so was disappointed.

The building is on the Humber Banks adjacent to Barrow Haven and close to the Humber Bridge. When it was built it was one of the ‘greenest’ buildings in the UK. The roof is made of 1.5 million recycled aluminium cans. It produces its own electricity (although it doesn’t tell you how) and rainwater is used to flush the toilets.

Until the 1990s, the area was one of the most polluted industrial sites and part of a multi-million pound reclamation project. This transformed the area into a nature reserve with a series of ponds, reed beds, marshland, woodland and wild flower meadows. There are three short colour coded walks around the ponds as well as access to the riverside walk along the banks of the Humber and the Humber Bridge Walkway. You could easily spend a couple of hours or more walking from here and there were a lot of local out doing this.

The other popular attraction is feeding the ducks. The shops sells bags of food cheaply and feeding bread is actively discouraged. There were plenty of mallards, a few Canada geese, coot and tufted duck waiting to be fed when we arrived.

The centre is a long low curved structure. The ground floor has windows overlooking the ponds. The upper floor with views across the Humber estuary is offices, so no views of the Humber for visitors.

There is an unexceptional shop selling gifts, jewellery, cards, children’s toys, slippers and tee shirts. There is regional and national tourist information. There was someone selling binoculars and RSPB had a manned stand. Neither seemed to be attracting much interest.

There was a certain amount of rather superficial information about the reserve and wildlife. There is a snakes and ladders style game with information about the local rives and their hazards and also a sustainability game.

There is an inside children’s play area with floor games and some books. This is popular with local families looking for a free play zone for the kids.

Beyond is the cafe. This was busy at lunchtime with oldies as well as family groups. Daughter has eaten here in the past and wasn’t impressed. Cakes looked mass produced and uninteresting. After a quick glance at the menu I felt it was pricy compared with elsewhere locally. Instead we headed back to the Scholar’s Coffee Shop in the Wilderspin National School.

Admission is free and there is a large car park. It is wheelchair friendly. There are Children’s activities during school holidays. The centre also hosts craft fairs and pottery and basic spinning workshops.

This has so much potential and could be really good. The Saturday we visited it was busy with people eating and children playing in the indoor play area. There was no-one reading the information or showing much interest in the wild life.

I felt cheated and disappointed by what was on offer. I won’t bother to go back into the centre. The best bit are the walks. There are leaflets with a “map”:http://www.tourismleafletsonline.com/pdfs/Waters-Edge-Country-Park–Visitor-Centre-20140804122313.pdf in the Visitors Centre.

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