Archives

New exhibit to raise awareness of wetland habitats

A Norfolk visitor attraction is doing its bit to help save wetland habitats by launching a new Wetland Discovery Area for visitors.

On Thursday, July 19, Pensthorpe Natural Park, in Fakenham, opened the doors to its latest new attraction, the Wetland Discovery Area, which is intended to educate visitors about the importance and fragility of wetland habitats and to inspire them to help protect them.

The new £70,000 educational area demonstrates the different wetland habitats around the world such as lakes, rivers and garden ponds, and has been part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A large pond-dipping facility, thought to be the largest in Norfolk, gives visitors a ‘hands on’ opportunity to see domestic wetland habitats in action, whilst the popular Pensthorpe flamingos are back on public display as their new home, illustrative of tropical lagoons more commonly found in southern Spain, takes pride of place within the new area.

Wetlands occur on every continent of the world, except Antarctica. Many of these wetland areas are home to species which both permanently live there or travel to take advantage of their food supplies. Unfortunately, in the last 100 years about half of the world’s wetlands have vanished yet they are still hugely valuable for wildlife. Whether for water provision, hunting territory, breeding sites or plant growth, wetlands are vitally important.

Bill Jordan, owner of Pensthorpe, comments: “We want to tell the story of wetlands as a habitat. They are diverse, complex, teeming with life, yet, most worryingly, under threat, so the more we can do to make people aware of their unique place within the ecosystem the better.

“We want to take our visitors on a journey of both guided and self-led exploration, starting with interactive pond-dipping in the Wetland Discovery Area and finishing at the Wetland Hide where they can observe nature in action. If we can communicate the beauty of these habitats effectively, we hope to inspire a passion in our visitors to protect them.”

The new area is the latest addition to the 700-acre reserve since it opened its Wetland Hide in April this year.

The new Wetland Discovery Area opening comes within the same month as Pensthorpe Natural Park sees its 30th anniversary and its 15th under the care of current owners Bill and Deb Jordan (pictured below).

For more information about Pensthorpe visit pensthorpe.com or call 01328 851465.

Pensthorpe in line for major national award

The transformation of five former farmworkers’ cottages and the creation of an indoor adventure play centre at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, are in the running for a national award.
Pensthorpe’s management team has been invited to the grand final of the Local Authority Building Control Awards at London’s Westminster Park Plaza in November, having won Best Inclusive Building at the East Anglian regional finals.
“It is thrilling to learn that one of our projects has been honoured by judges in the LABC Awards – the largest business-to-business awards in the building control sector,” said Pensthorpe’s commercial director, Drew Payne. “We are all delighted – and all the more so because we were not expecting it.”
The project was nominated by Peter Wearmouth, district building control surveyor at North Norfolk District Council, who said: “Hootz House and Five Cottages is a scheme North Norfolk can justifiably take pride in.”
Conversion of the five cottages has taken place alongside the £1m Hootz House, a  nature-themed indoor children’s play area, designed to inspire and engage the next generation of nature-lovers, teaching them to care for the environment and providing  Pensthorpe with an all-year, all-weather day visitor attraction.
Built from sustainably-sourced timber, the cladding of Hootz House is perforated, to create a habitat for bird and insect life, and has already won other awards for Pensthorpe.
Parts of the building date back to the 18th century and gained nationwide TV exposure as home to the popular BBC Springwatch series for three years between 2008 and 2010.
Five Cottages houses the Pensthorpe Natural Park and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust offices and will also be used as an event, conference and wedding venue.
It is also home to Creative Chiropractic, which offers chiropractic care, sports and therapeutic massage and reflexology and rehabilitation therapy in a soothing, natural setting. Verbatim, which offers psycho-therapeutic services, education assessments, consultancy and training has also joined the Five Cottages family.
“Promoting wellbeing is integral to all we do at Pensthorpe; belief in the healing and restorative value of the natural environment is a core part of our ethos and co-owner Deb Jordan’s vision for Pensthorpe to be used for holistic healing,” said Mr Payne. “The Five Cottages and Hootz House project was conceived as part of that philosophy. It is pleasing not just to win the regional award, but to know that award recognises the inclusive nature of the development.”

Our picture shows  Drew Payne (left), commercial director, and Deb Jordan, owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park, receiving their latest award from Peter Wearmouth, District Building Control Surveyor at North Norfolk District Council.