Evening Folks! With an update on developments in the near future, I shall hand you over to Danielle Meyer, Visitor Experience Manager, at Old Moor.

From Danielle

“Well, we have officially started with the ‘Giving Nature a Home in the Dearne Valley’ project. We received the official start date from the National Lottery Heritage Fund mid-October and have been approaching contractors with our tenders for business and are happy to say we have got proposed start dates for the car park and the wild play.

What will be happening and when I hear you say. Well, the improved car park is proposed to start on the 3 or 6 January. This is planned to take place in three stages, with the over all aim to make the car park safer for pedestrians and vehicles, to improve the drainage and to provide a better welcome to the reserve. The plan is to make this:

We will also be installing the wild play over the winter period. The work is proposed to start on the 8 January and proposed finish date on the 20 February. These will most probably change due to weather or other unforeseen issues, but this is the time scale we are currently working on. The new area will look like this:

The wild play will explore new exciting ways for children to interact with nature. We want children to connect with the world around them, to be amazed by nature, to enjoy running, jumping, splashing, climbing and hiding in and around the reserve. If children have little or no connection with the natural world, they will not care about it in the future.

The family hide will also be removed, and a new more interactive and engaging family hide installed in its place. This will be an area for everyone. School groups will use this hide to learn about birds and their habitats, families will come in to the hide to experience the wider reserve, birders and wildlife enthusiasts can look out to see what wildlife is around perhaps spotting something rare or exciting. This should take two weeks for the old hide to be taken down and the new one put up in its place.

We will also be taking out the Bird Garden hide, and the old education hide to create a new garden area of people to walk through and enjoy. It will be almost an extension of Grandad's garden, with a path leading around the back of the visitor centre into a new sensory garden with a raised wildlife pond and small meadow. The path will then take visitors down onto the discovery path near the stepping stones. Another bird feeding station has been set up near the wildlife pond about five metres from where the current feeders are situated. We also believe the garden birds will use the Tree Sparrow Farm as a feeding area.

There will be lots going on this winter, we will be posting updates on social media, using the new project hub in the visitor centre and writing blogs to keep as many people as possible up to date with the works. There may be trials and parts of the reserve that will close during this period, but we will aim to give you a good amount of notice. We are all very excited about getting started, this has been years in the planning and it’s just the beginning!”

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