Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has more than doubled the size of the Brockbank nature centre at its Langford Lakes nature reserve near Salisbury, with the creation of a new café area and a dedicated space for an art gallery and private functions.
The new developments were made possible through the generous support of key funders The Hills Group and the European Social Investment Fund.
The transformed Kingfisher Café now extends out over one of the lakes, affording stunning views of the reserve and its wildlife spectacles. The Brockbank Centre is also a great resource for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust events and a focal point for the local community to use for everything from meetings to weddings. Most importantly, with the added capacity and improved facilities, the expanded nature centre and café are drawing in more visitors to the Trust’s Langford Lakes reserve, including people new to exploring nature.
The wetlands at Langford Lakes are home to a variety of wildlife, including otters and approximately 150 resident and migratory bird species. The nature reserve offers visitors a circular route around 31 hectares of lakes and wet grassland, with level paths and five bird hides for avid bird watchers.
Chairman, Alan Pardoe, and chief executive, Mike Hill, of The Hills Group opened the Brockbank Centre at an event attended by Lord Talbot, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Trustees and a small group of the Trust’s major stakeholders.
Alan Pardoe, said: “Hills is extremely proud of its long-standing relationship with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust that goes back over 30 years. The Trust and Hills were the first to make use of funding from the Landfill Communities Fund and it is fantastic to see how much this reserve at Langford Lakes has developed over the years. The exemplar habitat that has been created is tremendous for wildlife.
“The nature centre is not only an asset for the local community who now have access to this site, but also for other Wiltshire residents and all the people who are able to come and enjoy the new facilities and spend time outdoors in nature.”
Attendees of the official opening event had the chance to learn about how Langford Lakes has been transformed for the benefit of wildlife and local people since the reserve was created in 2001 from a presentation by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s CEO, Dr Gary Mantle MBE. Damian Haasjes, head of Business Development & Community Engagement for the Trust presented on how the Brockbank Centre provides a host of new opportunities for people to enjoy and learn about nature. On a guided tour of the nature reserve, guests also heard about the exciting plans for more enhancements to the reserve, including a new sand martin nesting bank.
Gary Mantle, CEO of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This fantastic new facility will enable people to enjoy nature whatever the weather, from cosy indoor seating or out on the café’s new veranda. It is a place where people can meet friends, host events and learn more about the Langford Lakes wetlands, the wildlife they support and conservation in Wiltshire.
“We are very grateful to The Hills Group and other generous funders who have helped us to transform Langford Lakes into a true flagship site for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. The remarkable support from The Hills Group over the years has been key in helping us to achieve our vision of a sustainable future for wildlife and people.”
Langford Lakes is one of 41 Wiltshire Wildlife Trust reserves spread throughout the county covering nearly 1,200 hectares, with all of Wiltshire’s habitats represented, from chalk downlands to woodlands. The Trust also has visitor facilities at the Dragonfly Café, located at Lower Moor Farm nature reserve in the north of the county.