Following on from our last access update five weeks ago which can be found here, we're pleased to announce a few more changes to improve your visit to the reserve this autumn.

After weeks of hard work by the warden team and volunteers cutting back the dense reeds and lush wet grassland surrounding it, Marsh Covert hide was ready to open to visitors on Saturday 3 October. Visitors are already grateful for the additional sheltered viewing space now available, and with the grit trays visible close by lets hope for some good sightings of the bearded tits in the coming weeks. As with Bunker hide, face coverings are required and there is a limited capacity, so please follow the signage on arrival at the hide. Hand sanitiser is provided at the hide entrance to allow everybody to be opening the windows with clean hands.

 Cut reeds at Marsh Covert hide (A.Grubb)

At the same time, we opened the new boardwalk which many visitors had watched being built through September, eagerly anticipating exploring its new route. Whilst it will ultimately provide step-free access to the new hide once built in a few weeks, for now it offers a loop via the old Inner Marsh Farm boardwalk and steps. Please follow the one way system if you're able, but wheelchair users and others who cannot climb stairs are able to return along the new boardwalk where there are several passing places.

Today, we have been able to re-open our mail-order shop which was becoming increasingly popular with visitors before the Covid lockdown in spring. The brand new catalogues are with us, and you may have received one through the mail, or alternatively you can browse online at https://shopping.rspb.org.uk/ before your visit; anything you see online can be ordered through us at Burton Mere Wetlands for home delivery, with the bonus of supporting nature conservation at this reserve! Whether it's stocking up on bird food for the colder months, treating yourself to some new binoculars or getting started on your Christmas shopping, we've got it all. In line with all types of shop nationally, face coverings are required to be worn inside, so please remember to bring one even if you are just coming to place a shop order.

 Burton Mere Wetlands' shop display

As we approach the middle of autumn, there is one last major piece of work to be completed; the new hide! Contractors will be starting work within the next couple of weeks, meaning the hide should be ready to open for use in November. Also next month, we intend to open our visitor centre further than just for shop orders, allowing visitors to sit enjoying the view of the main scrape in heated comfort, with certain measures necessary to ensure everybody who wants a turn can get one.

With plenty of autumn colours on show and growing flocks of birds to admire, we hope you'll brave the changing weather and visit us soon.

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