Visiting Brandon Marsh

Brandon Marsh is open again!

Charline Hue

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 worked hard to safely reopen the nature reserve.

As we have not yet been able to bring back our wonderful team of Visitor Centre volunteers, we will still be closed on a Monday and Tuesday (the staff love their jobs but can’t work 7 days a week!). Our opening hours will be 9:30am-3:30pm, Wednesday – Sunday. On a Friday we will open at 7:30am for members. From September 23rd, the visitor centre will no longer be able to accept cash payments.

Badgers Tearoom will be offering a takeaway and eat-in service between 9:30am-2:30pm.

Entry and exit will be via the visitor centre, please follow the one-way system and social distancing measures put in place. In line with government guidance, everyone who can wear a mask will be asked to wear one when moving through the visitor centre and in the bird hides. 

Whilst we understand members do not yet have the access to Brandon Marsh they are used to, please be assured we are working towards reinstating this. The safety of our members, staff and visitors is paramount and member-access brings about its own challenges.

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.

Watch our walk through

We have produced this short video to share with you the measures we have put in place for the safety of our visitors and staff at Brandon Marsh.

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 enquiries@wkwt.org.uk

How many days are you open?

We are currently open five days a week, Wednesday to Sunday, and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We are unable to open 7 days a week as we have not yet been able to bring back our amazing visitor centre volunteers.

What times are you open?

We are open 9.30am - 3.30pm, Wednesday to Sunday.

On Fridays we open at 7.30am for members only, non-members can visit from 9.30am on Fridays. 

Why do we have to leave before 3:30pm?

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 3:30pm. 

Are the toilets open?

Yes, the toilets are open during the visitor centre opening hours which are 9.30am-3.30pm. We have implemented enhanced cleaning regimes in line with government guidance and have introduced a one family / bubble at a time system for our toilets.  

Are the visitor centre and tearoom open?

Yes, the visitor centre and Badgers Tearoom are now open. Badgers are offering a take away and eat in service 9.30am – 2.30pm

Do I need to wear a face covering?

We are asking everyone to wear a face covering (unless exempt), when moving through the visitor centre, even if you are only going to the tearoom. In line with government guidance face coverings do not need to be worn when sitting in the tearoom. Unless exempt, face coverings also need to be worn in the bird hides.

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.

Will there be hand sanitiser available?

We have hand sanitiser units on entry and exit of the visitor centre, in Badgers Tearoom and outside the toilets. We strongly recommend you bring your own for use when out on 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. Unless exempt, face coverings need to be worn in the hides.

How will you enforce social distancing?

We have worked hard to make Brandon Marsh a COVID secure premises. We have introduced social distancing markers, screens, a one-way system around the shop and ask everyone who is able to, to wear a face covering when in the visitor centre and in the bird hides. Signage has been placed around the reserve as well as in the bird hides to remind people about social distancing. We ask that our visitors respect each other and our staff and volunteers and comply with social distancing.

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.

We couldn’t get into the car park, I thought you were back open?

We will be closely monitoring the number of vehicles within the car park; once it is full we may have to close the gates until spaces become available, or ask you to return another day. Please do not park along the drive as this area has to be kept clear at all time for emergency vehicle access.

I am a member, why can’t I visit out of hours?

We are very grateful for the support and patience our members have shown us through these unprecedented times. During the last few weeks we have been able to increase the days we are open from 2 to 5 and introduce an early morning session, whilst keeping the hides open throughout. Reinstating the out of hours access to members is something we are working towards next but this presents its own challenges and our priority has to be ensuring the safety of visitors to the site.

Why are some areas of the reserve overgrown?

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. In August we have been able to welcome back the Brandon Marsh Voluntary Conservation Team who have done a fantastic job of clearing the paths and are making their way around the reserve clearing other areas. The current vegetation growth in 5 months shows how much work goes into keeping Brandon Marsh accessible. If you would like to join the BMVCT or any of our volunteering programmes please visit our volunteer page

 

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.

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!