Brandon Marsh is open again!
We are so excited to welcome you back to Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve after lockdown and we've enjoyed seeing you all since reopening.
Your support has been invaluable, and we ask that you continue to bear with us as we get used to this new system. The safety of our members, visitors and staff is paramount and our staff have been working hard to safely reopen the nature reserve, firstly for our members and then for all visitors.
For now, we're opening the reserve to a limited number of members through our new booking system on three days per week. The visitor centre and Badgers Tearoom will remain closed for the time being, as will the onsite toilets. There are two time slots, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
To make it as fair as possible we are releasing tickets on a weekly basis. Tickets are released at 12 noon every Thursday. This removes the ability to block book tickets as well as reducing the risk of people forgetting they have booked and not visiting us. The system will run a waiting list once all of our spaces are fully booked.
The wildlife on the reserve has become used to a near total lack of contact with humans, so please be considerate as ever when you visit.
Book now by clicking on your chosen date below.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know this is a new way of visiting Brandon Marsh, and we're sure you will have some questions for us. So, we've put together a list of FAQs that should answer most of those. Please read on, and if you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
How many days are you open?
We are currently open three days a week. Brandon Marsh is also the Trust headquarters, a Visitor Centre and tearoom which are all still closed as we work through the guidance related to COVID-19. Whilst we do this we can manage opening the reserve on a limited number of occasions but not more frequently.
Why are you limiting the number of visitors?
After a short trial period, we have increased the amount of tickets available. However, it is still true that keeping the number of visitors low means we can reduce the risk of overcrowding and open the hides. More cars would mean more visitors and require us to close the hides which removes a major reason for visiting Brandon Marsh.
Why is it members only?
To first get the reserve open and ensure this can safely be done we are keeping it to members only. We will look to open to non-members soon.
Can I book a mobility scooter?
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer the use of our mobility scooters at present. You are welcome to bring your own wheelchair or mobility scooter as normal.
Why are the toilets closed?
Current staffing levels do not allow us to maintain the high standards of hygiene that would be needed, or to monitor numbers of people in the toilets at any one time. For now, access to the reserve is being provided on our normal out-of-hours basis, which does not include the opening of toilets.
What time can I arrive?
Morning entrance is between 9.30am – 10.30am only. Afternoon entrance is between 12.30pm – 1.30pm only.
Between these times the gates will be locked to external visitors, although you can exit at any time via the electric gate.
Why only those entry times? What if I miss the entry time?
Entrance to the reserve requires our staff to be stationed at the gates. Unfortunately, anyone arriving late will run the risk of not being able to enter.
Why do we have to leave before 3:30?
Staff need to be able to close the site down properly before leaving at a reasonable time of day. For this reason the gates (including the electric exit gate) will be locked promptly at 3:30
Are the visitor centre and tearoom open?
For now it is only the reserve which will be open; we are working on measures to reopen the visitor centre and Badgers Tearoom.
Will there be hand sanitiser available?
There will be a hand sanitiser dispenser available for use on entry to the reserve but we strongly suggest you bring your own for use in other areas.
We're home schooling – can we go pond dipping and minibeast hunting?
Whilst we want everyone to enjoy visiting Brandon Marsh we ask you to respect the wildlife and SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status of the reserve. Pond dipping is not permitted due to health and safety and the protection of certain species. The wildlife has been flourishing on the quiet reserve and we want to keep the disruption to a minimum. So please, have fun, explore, but stick to paths and don’t take anything from the site – that log you remove is someone’s home!
How will you enforce social distancing?
Restricting the number of visitors each day gives each visiting household space to safely enjoy the reserve. We ask you to be respectful of the 2m social distancing guidelines when using the footpaths around the reserve.
How will the bird hides operate?
Doors and windows will be pinned open so visitors do not need to touch them. In each hide there will be guidance to help you maintain social distancing. We are asking that time within each hide is limited to 1 hour per household to allow other visitors the chance to also enjoy them. Social distancing of 2m must be observed within the hides – if not, we may need to consider closing them. If you are not confident that you can be 2m away from people already in the hide, please don’t go in.
I thought the guidance had changed to 1m social distancing?
Current government guidance still states that people should stay 2m apart where possible; where 2m is not possible the alternative is to stay 1m apart with ‘mitigations’ such as screens, face masks, or being back-to-back. We are confident that 2m social distancing is possible at Brandon Marsh as long as people follow our code of conduct and are considerate to one another.
How do I book?
Via the button at the top of this page on Thursdays.
Why can’t I book in advance for coming weeks?
To make it fair and avoid people block booking and potentially not visiting, tickets will be released for the following week on a Thursday. We’re asking people to be considerate and not book every week for now.
Do I need to book tickets per car or per person?
Our approach has now changed, so please book one ticket per person.
Do I need to bring my ticket?
No, there is no need to print your ticket.
Why can’t I book a ticket?
Brandon Marsh is our most popular reserve so tickets will go fast. Our booking system does offer a waiting list, which is why it is really important to let us know if you have booked and can no longer make it so we can offer someone else the space.
I’m a member, can I just turn up on the day?
No, anyone arriving without booking will be turned away. It is important that everyone wishing to visit the reserve books their space first.
I can no longer visit, can I cancel my ticket?
You can cancel your booking yourself online or by calling us on 024 7630 2912. If you are unable to make your visit, please do let us know ASAP as another member will be able to make use of the booking.
Why are some areas of the reserve overgrown?
Throughout the year we rely on our wonderful volunteers to keep paths clear, and vegetation in check. Since the reserve closed on 24th March in response to lockdown we had to cease all aspects of volunteering. Our staff have carried out some clearance work on the reserve prior to reopening to make paths accessible once again but without the volunteers we do not have the capacity to clear the rest. Wildlife has also taken advantage of the lack of humans on site and have been nesting where they wouldn’t usually, so we want to keep interference to a minimum.
Why are gates, doors and windows open around the reserve?
We are propping open gates as well as the doors and windows to the bird hides to reduce touch points. Please leave gates and doors as you find them. Our staff open and close these at the beginning and end of each day.