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WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

   WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Today with its award-winning visitor centre overlooking nationally and internationally protected wetlands, this world famous site is an important wintering area for migrating waterbirds such as Bewick’s Swans and houses WWT’s species conservation programme.

Funding support

  • Slimbridge Centre is managed by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the largest UK-based charity dedicated solely to the conservation of wetlands and their biodiversity.
  • Slimbridge is operated as a visitor attraction with about 210,000 visitors per year. Income is from admission fees, WWT membership subscriptions and secondary spend in the restaurant, gallery and shop. There is a thriving and growing corporate and functions business. The Friends of Slimbridge is an organisation, which raises money through events, which then goes on to support projects across the site. Slimbridge also benefits from legacies, donations, grants, corporate sponsorship, land rental and partnerships with other organisations. The centre operates at a profit, which as a charity, is wholly ploughed back into the centre and into WWT generally.

Number of staff: 75 (including full and part-time)

Number of visitors per year:

Overall aims of the centre

Description of the centre

Today with its award-winning visitor centre overlooking nationally and internationally protected wetlands, this world famous site is an important wintering area for migrating waterbirds such as Bewick’s Swans and houses WWT’s species conservation programme.

Slimbridge Centre is a mix of conservation centre and visitor attraction incorporating elements of nature reserve, zoo and botanic garden exhibitory, reedbeds, interactive science centre, and sustainable garden.

Most of the 260 hectare (650 acre) site is a mosaic of wetlands including open water, reedbed, grazing marsh, ponds and pools, wader scrapes and riverside flooded meadow. The wild reserve is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Ramsar Site. The newest classification is a Special Area for Conservation (SAC). A number of single and a three storey hide throughout the site bring visitors closer to nature and are interpreted accordingly.

Slimbridge has the world’s largest collection of exotic, rare and endangered ducks, geese and swans in a reserve of international importance, unique to the south west of England. Amble through 50 hectares of landscaped grounds which change through the seasons, following the designated varying length paths through different continents.

Here take a Canoe Safari to see wildlife from a new perspective, visit the heated tropical house where birds from the tropics fly freely. The Tropical House is open for visitors to enjoy the most wondrous birds and from the South Finger watch Kingfishers raise their families during the Spring.

The grounds are also used by visiting birds who enjoy the safety provided by our fox proof fence and the regular feeding rounds by Slimbridge’s wardens (and visitors!).

Outside of the fox proof fence lies a wild area of land managed by Slimbridge’s wardens. This huge area encompasses the grasslands to the shores of the Severn estuary and is a haven for wildlife, species include Black Tailed Godwits, Redshank, Ruff, Lapwing, Curlew, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Bewick’s Swan, Cetti’s Warbler Yellow Wagtail and many others.

Slimbridge’s reserve is a great place to see rare birds from all over the world. Take a Land Rover safari or visit one of our hides and you may see Hobby, Kingfishers, Redshank, Brown Hares, Dragonflies, wild Otters, grass snakes and wild Orchids. This spectacular reserve is also home to up to 35,000 wildfowl, in the winter.

The award winning visitor centre, is the perfect place to relax and enjoy Slimbridge. Here you can take a trip to the top of the Sloane Tower for a magnificent 360 degree view of Slimbridge and the Severn Estuary, explore the Discovery Centre where you will discover Toad Hall, enjoy wildlife inspired films in the cinema and art in the gallery.


To see more images of Slimbridge and our other centres, please click here!

To see short video footage from Slimbridge and our other WLI centres, please click here!

Main CEPA work areas

As part of the WWT family, Slimbridge adheres to the WWT curriculum and National Curriculum, Engagement strategy, Formal Learning plan.

Top three successes

Successful developments within the grounds including Crane School, Wellyboot Land (Play area for children), Canoe safari, Toad Hall and Back from the Brink exhibit.

Top three challenges

Continuing to improve the habitat within the grounds to provide a welcoming site for visitors and a fulfilling home for its inhabitants

Interpretation techniques

Creating signage / site information; producing written materials
Using audio-visual tools; developing nature trails

Visitor centres

Managing / creating habitat
Running a visitor centre; building / maintaining structures


Working with disabled people ; engaging young people; engaging the local community; working with volunteers

Education and communication

Early years education; delivering adult education;  working with primary schools;  working with secondary schools; developing resources / materials


Auditing / assessing effectiveness; PR and marketing; health and safety; project planning


Breeding captive wildfowl, working on National/International projects with partners

Sue Porter, Learning Manager, WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Glos, GL2 7BT, UK
T: 01453 891900
F: 01453 890827








The WLI network is endorsed by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and coordinated by WWT.


Wetland Link International
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, GL2 7BT, UK
T: +44 (0) 1453 891214
E: Twitter: @wetlandlink