Burton Mere Wetlands

Despite some very slight changes in lockdown restrictions in England, Burton Mere Wetlands remains closed to the public for now. Our priority is to ensure that we only re-open when we have everything in place to keep our members, visitors, volunteers and employees safe.

We must also make sure that the wildlife that calls our site home is ready to receive attention after a couple of months completely on its own. You'll have seen reports from round the UK of birds nesting on and near normally busy paths (as well as some weird and wonderful places), so it's going to take us some time to check and make sure they are safe too.

We ask that you bear with us in these difficult times and check our reserve website, Facebook and Twitter regularly for the latest information, as well as the RSPB Covid-19 updates here

Burton Marsh permissive path (Greenway) - *EDIT* - this has now been re-opened, click here for further details

Sadly, due to a high number of anti-social behaviour incidents over the recent weeks, the permissive Burton Marsh path (part of the Greenway), that leads past Burton Point has been closed to the public since 9 May.

That weekend our staff dealt with high numbers of trespassers onto the reserve, were verbally abused and threatened by members of the public, and had to call on stretched police forces for support in managing this section of path. That was following a significant rise in the levels of anti-social behaviour on this section of permissive path in recent weeks; ranging from repeated abusive behaviour, verbal threats and trespass onto Burton Mere Wetlands.

The decision to close that section of path was not taken lightly, but was made following a marked increase in these issues leading up to that weekend and a serious incident requiring emergency police assistance on the early May bank holiday, where a member of our staff was subject to verbal abuse and extremely threatening behaviour. The local police were shocked at the extent of the anti-social behaviour witnessed from people using the path and were very concerned at the number of people flouting government guidance on social distancing, so fully supported the temporary closure of the path in the interests of public safety. Since then, we have been working closely with local authorities to look at ways in which we can safely re-open this path for the community, and we are hoping to do so this week (week commencing 18 May). We will update here when we have more information about the re-opening. 

If you are exercising on public paths around the wider RSPB Dee Estuary reserve, as well as abiding by social distancing measures, we urge you to be alert for nature and please be extra careful around it -  especially on beaches (where birds such as terns nest), paths (where plants have emerged, and birds may have nested) and open landscapes (ground nesting birds and other wildlife can easily be disturbed by people and dogs off leads). 

Thank you. We look forward to being able to welcome you back when it can be done safely and responsibly for all people and wildlife concerned. 

Image by Paul Jubb

  • Utterly shameful behaviour from RSPB to close the permissive route. This route  is popular both with parents of young children and carers of disabled adults, as it is the only local traffic-free route were people can walk safely and maintain social distancing. At a time when the country should be pulling together, this action feels monstrously selfish and elitist.

    The claim that, “we have taken the decision to close this privately owned path to protect our staff, the community, breeding wildlife, livestock and reduce pressure on our emergency services” is utter nonsense.

    1 - The route is not manned by RSPB staff – it cuts through RSPB land but is part of the Sustrans cycle network.

    2 - Closing the route HARMS the local community by barring them from a valuable open space.

    3 - The pathway and its borders are intensively farmed for sheep, leaving little room for breeding wildlife (aside from the reedbeds which remain undisturbed).

    4 - Closing the route has ADDED to pressure on local police because they now have an officer manning the gate at Burton.

    5 - The Sealand end of the route remains open, so cyclists are travelling along the path, arriving at Burton, then being told to retrace their steps – resulting in people travelling up to 10 miles extra, potentially in the dark and with no lights (as they had intended to be home by sun down) – putting cyclists at grave risk.

    As a long-standing member, I am ashamed to be associated with such a selfish and cowardly action.