Burton Mere RSPB Reserve
Burton Mere RSPB Reserve is reported as a fully accessible site by one of our members… see below
Opening Hours: 9.00-5.00
This reserve was originally only open to RSPB members but in 2011 a new visitor centre was built and the reserve was opened to the general public. Please note there is a small entrance fee (currently £2.60 for non RSPB members).
There are no direct public transport links.
There are several disabled bays which are clearly signposted and right next to the reserve entrance (no charge) with plenty of room for a minibus. The car park has a free draining hard and even surface.
As a staffed RSPB reserve there are full time staff and lots of very helpful volunteers on site who will give help and information if required. Contact details are on the RSPB webpage.
For general background information see their RSPB Web Page
There is a large, wheelchair accessible, open plan visitor centre that overlooks a series of scrapes and ponds with a large variety of wetland birds depending on the season. The seating is totally wheelchair-friendly with moveable seats and large picture windows on three sides looking across the ponds. In the winter there is even a solid fuel burner to ward off the chills.
Memo boards tell the visitor what birds have been seen recently and staff and volunteers are always on hand to point out ‘special birds’ to non-birders or new birdwatchers. Several books are available at no cost for identification of birds if required. Binoculars can be hired for a small charge as well if required.
Refreshments are available on a help yourself basis for £1 but there are always staff or volunteers on hand to help.
There are two disabled toilets which are open whenever the reserve is.
There are two walks from the Visitor Centre – one to a small open hide overlooking the same ponds as the Centre and the other to a large purpose built viewing centre with windows on three sides again overlooking ponds and scrapes with a large variety of wetland birds. Both of these walks are totally wheel chair friendly but not so suitable for people who cannot walk far as there are no benches along the routes. A further path will be opening shortly along the edge of a heronry to another hide.
Along the routes to the hides well-filled birdfeeders attract garden and woodland birds that can be easily seen as you go along the paths.
The barrier-free path to the second hide is quite a long walk for those with mobility problems, and there are no resting places on the trail. Although gravel (with some excellent boardwalks) it is suitable for wheelchairs and wide enough for scooters. One area of boardwalk is slighly sloping but the surface has a mesh to stop one slipping and there is a handrail. The Hide is ramped with an outward opening door and movable seats and a viewing place with knee space for wheelchair users within. There are no seats with backrests.
In the summer this reserve also has lots of dragonflies and damselflies to observe. This reserve is well worth a visit and you can easily spend at least a couple of hours even if you are not a birder.
Contributor: Pat Cassells
Contributer Email: P_Cassells@Yahoo.com