CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Review: Slimbridge Wetland Centre

PUBLISHED: 12:13 04 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:13 04 August 2015

One of the LEGO figures delighting children at the Wetland Centre

One of the LEGO figures delighting children at the Wetland Centre


As work-experience with Cotswold Life, Holly Clarke from Downfield Sixth Form in Stroud visited the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge, catching up with happenings at the centre and meeting the new LEGO structures delighting children until September 2015

Slimbridge Wetland Centre, a bird and wildlife reserve tucked away in a cluster of cosy lanes, has always been a firm and popular choice with tourists and locals alike. A modern-looking building made of wood, it sits on the edge of the extensive nature reserve, a myriad of ponds and rivers housing numerous different species of mammals and birds, with the impressive observation tower standing proudly over it all.

The vast number of different activities Slimbridge offers is staggering - whether young or old, it’s easy to spend a whole day here. From playing the day away at Welly Boot Land, the children’s water-themed play area, to attending one of many wildlife talks about amphibians, otters, or cranes, there’s something here for you. However, it was the new LEGO trail that seemed to be attracting the most attention. Until September 6, Slimbridge is home to nine giant LEGO structures which are dotted around the park, always surrounded by a gaggle of children shouting excitedly to their parents that they’ve “found another!”. The first LEGO statue I came across on my course through the wetlands was the Northern Mallard, a huge figure standing majestically over its quacking non-LEGO counterparts. As I followed the paths surrounded by water, and dense, leafy foliage, I noticed yet more LEGO animals, including the Nene, a flamboyant flamingo, and a very sweet otter that proved very popular. The excitement of the children was catching; I soon found myself looking out for more and hoping to find them all!

Children ran across the path, throwing birdseed to the patient ducks and sometimes impatient red breasted geese, which enjoyed pecking the seed right out of your palm. The only birds I was slightly wary of were the swans, as two proud feathered parents marched rather protectively out in front of us, either side of three adorably fluffy cygnets, like a scene straight out of a storybook. A flash of blue - the distinctive beak of the Puna Teal - caught my eye as I carried on, following the winding paths through the wetlands, only to be overshadowed by a magnificent crowd of Chilean flamingos, trotting along the riverbank like some extravagant pink parade.

Next was the canoe safari, which turned out to be harder than you might think! Navigating the labyrinth of the safari proved a challenging but fun; people of all ages were enjoying the trial of canoeing down narrow river after narrow river, each identical and barricaded in by high banks, making it almost too easy to get lost in the seemingly peaceful water! However much we struggled paddling our canoe, it was always deeply reassuring to see the others boaters trying to turn their boat out of a dead end, or bumping into the sides of the riverbank. Despite not seeing many of the wildlife whose habitats we were canoeing through, it was an amusing and rather adventurous exploration of a more intimate section of the wetlands.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the day was attending the crane talk. Around ten members of the public and I gathered in a small wooden hut on the edge of the crane lake to hear one of the workers talk about their programme of raising cranes at the wetlands. Eggs are taken from the nests of cranes in the wild and are raised by so-called “foster parents” at Slimbridge - wardens that dress up in large fabric costumes that cover them head to toe, with a model crane head on one hand used to feed the chicks, so that the chicks don’t become familiar with humans. These lookalike cranes have to teach the chicks from birth as if they are their parents - including showing them how to feed, and how to defend themselves from potential predators. Last year, a milestone was reached in the Great Crane Project; for the first time in this part of the world in centuries, baby cranes were hatched in Slimbridge - and survived!

Slimbridge is a symbol of natural beauty, unrestrained wildlife, and childhood joy; I’m sure I’ll be visiting again soon.


• Slimbridge Wetland Centre, GL2 7BT, 01453 891900;


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Being a region so steeped in history, there are plenty of locations in the Cotswolds with spooky stories from over the years. From bloody executions, eerie apparitions and headless horsemen, we pick 23 of the most haunted locations throughout the Cotswolds to visit if you dare

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New bat cams installed at Woodchester Mansion help study protected breeds while also becoming an added attraction for visitors. Jo Barber looks at the work of one of the UK’s foremost bat experts and the mansion’s valued volunteers

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Following a record year for ‘visitor giving’ donations via local businesses, applications are invited to fund conservation projects

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search