WWT Slimbridge

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WWT Slimbridge
Nene Geese in Slimbridge.jpg
Slimbridge has numerous nene (also known as Hawaiian geese), the rarest goose in the world.
WWT Slimbridge is located in Gloucestershire
WWT Slimbridge
WWT Slimbridge
WWT Slimbridge shown within Gloucestershire
OS grid SO720048
Coordinates 51°44′29″N 2°24′22″W / 51.741471°N 2.405979°W / 51.741471; -2.405979Coordinates: 51°44′29″N 2°24′22″W / 51.741471°N 2.405979°W / 51.741471; -2.405979
Area 120 acres (49 ha)
Operated by WWT
Status Open
Website www.wwt.org.uk/visit/slimbridge/

WWT Slimbridge is a wetland reserve managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust near Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, England. Slimbridge is halfway between Bristol and Gloucester on the estuary of the River Severn. It was opened on 10 November 1946 by the artist and naturalist Sir Peter Scott.[1] The reserve was the first WWT centre to be opened.

Visitor Centre[edit]

The Sloane Observation Tower gives far-reaching views to the Cotswold escarpment in the east and the River Severn and Forest of Dean in the West. The centre has a shop, restaurant, art gallery and tropical house.


The site consists of 120 acres (0.49 km2) of reserve, of which 500,000 square metres is landscaped and can be visited by the public.

The number of ducks, geese and swans is greatest in winter, with large flocks of white-fronted geese, sometimes with a rare lesser white-fronted goose amongst them. Bewick's swans are a feature of Slimbridge in winter, arriving from northern Russia to enjoy the milder climate of southern England.[1] Their behaviour has been studied intensely at Slimbridge. The pattern on each bird's beak is unique and is recorded in small paintings from front and side views (rather like "mug shots") to aid recognition. Birds of prey such as peregrine and merlin also visit the centre in the winter, as well as wading birds and songbirds.

During Princess Elizabeth's 1950 tour of Canada, she was promised a Dominion gift of Trumpeter swans, by arrangement of British conservationist Peter Scott who was head of the Severn Wildlife Trust in Britain (now the WWT).[2] Canadian officials discovered the only swans tame enough to capture were at Lonesome Lake in British Columbia as they had been fed for decades by conservationist Ralph Edwards.[2] In 1952, with the help of Ralph and his daughter Trudy, five were captured and flown to England, the first time trumpeter swans had ever flown across the Atlantic (although in the 19th century swans had been brought by ship to European zoos).[2] One later died, and the remaining four thrived at WWT Slimbridge.[2] The Queen in later years became Patron to the WWT, and Prince Charles the WWT President.[3]

An early success story in the 1950s was the saving of the nene (or Hawaiian goose) from extinction.[4] Breeding at Slimbridge was successful, and there are still Nene geese at Slimbridge today. However, initial reintroduction into the wild in Hawaii was unsuccessful since the Nene's natural environment was not protected from predators introduced by man. Once the Nene's habitat was protected, reintroduction became successful.

A bust of founder Sir Peter Scott by Jacqueline Shackleton was completed in 1986 and is on display in the grounds.[5] His wife Lady Philippa Scott sat for Jon Edgar as part of his Environmental Series of heads, and a bronze[6] was unveiled in the visitor centre in December 2011. A sculpture by Kathleen Scott, Peter Scott's mother, is also on display[5] in the grounds.

Slimbridge has also been involved in restoring population levels of Common cranes, at a specially built "Crane School". [7] This project has led to 23 being released onto the Somerset Moors and Levels in September 2013[7]



External links[edit]

Media related to Slimbridge at Wikimedia Commons