WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre

Region

Europe

Country

UK

Flyway

East Atlantic flyway

Initiative

WLI Europe

About

WWT Castle Espie has a wild reserve and a collection of wildfowl from around the world.

The centre consists of a series of flooded quarries which were used in the nineteenth century for limestone and clay extraction. The site adjoins Strangford Lough, one of the most important marine sites in Europe, and the centre affords the best viewing of waterfowl feeding areas on the Lough.

Funding support: WWT Castle Espie is funded mainly through membership and admission fees. Secondary spend is also obtained through the shop, coffee and education.
The annual visitation has risen over the years to about 65,000. The number of WWT members in Northern Ireland has also increased to 4,000. Government grants, legacies, trusts and some private sector funding is also available.

Number of staff: 21

Overall aims of the centre

Saving wetlands for wildlife and people.

Description of the centre

The centre consists of a series of flooded quarries which were used in the nineteenth century for limestone and clay extraction. The site adjoins Strangford Lough, one of the most important marine sites in Europe, and the centre affords the best viewing of waterfowl feeding areas on the Lough.

Rare fossils and a fascinating industrial archaeology make the site of special interest to historians.

Despite its small size, WWT Castle Espie has a range of habitats – wet woodland, salt marsh, deep lakes, wader scrapes, and most importantly the mudflats of Strangford Lough.

There are two main walks for visitors. One is the Wildfowl Walk where can feed captive wildfowl.

The second walk, the Woodland Walk, is where the visitor can see the natural countryside in all its splendour.

Within the 26 hectare (65 acre) boundary, there is the largest wildfowl collection in Ireland including threatened White-headed Duck, Laysan Duck and Mandarin Duck.

Work Areas

Main CEPA work areas

Involving all sectors from corporate / weddings / groups both educational and specialist interest. Marketing plan includes all elements of communication from PR through to minimal advertising.

Top three successes

Green Living Fair – now 11 years as centre. It involves general public in a growing sector which is directly linked with our core conservation values.

Art exhibitions – Ireland’s only environmentally led art space.

Easter / Halloween events – great family times – children off school.

Top three challenges

Anything which is not directly related to conservation.

We try to keep things sustainable.

 

Expertise

Interpretation techniques

Creating signage / site information; using audio visual tools; producing written materials; developing nature trails.

Visitor centres

Setting up a new visitor centre: running a visitor centre; managing / creating habitat; building / maintaining structures.

Participation

Working with disabled people; engaging young people; working with volunteers; engaging hard-to-reach groups; engaging the local community.

Education and communication

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

General

Auditing / assessing effectiveness; running effective administration; PR and marketing; health and safety; project planning.

Contact

WWT Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust,

Castle Espie,

Ballydrain Road,

Comber,

Co Down,

Northern Ireland

BT23 6EA

T: 028 91874 146
F: 028 91873 857

info.castleespie@wwt.org.uk

www.wwt.org.uk/castleespie