Hi everyone.

It's been a long time since I've had a chance to update you all about what's going on at Minsmere. I hope that some of you have been able to keep to updated via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I finally returned from furlough again at the start of last week, allowing me to come to Minsmere again for the first time since New Year. It was very exciting to walk around the Scrape last Wednesday and see my first avocets of the year. Despite driving rain and gale force winds, I even heard my first bittern booming this year.

In my absence, my colleagues have been pleased to see some of our local residents walking around the reserve, and with the lockdown beginning to lift we are looking forward to finally being able to welcome more of you back to Minsmere soon. 

Until 29 March, the nature trails, car park and toilets remain open to local visitors for their daily exercise.

From 29 March, when the stay at home message is eased to stay local, you will, at last, be allowed to travel a bit further to visit us, providing you follow the government guidelines. From then we will slowly start reopening facilities, in line with government guidance. The exact dates when these facilities will reopen is still subject to change, but below is an outline of our current plans.

Car park - open daily, dawn to dusk

Toilets - open daily, currently 9 am to 5 pm. Masks are required

Nature trails - open daily, dawn to dusk

Shop - currently expected to open from 12 April. Masks will be required.

Cafe  - planned to open as take away only, with limited menu, from 29 March. Masks required to order.

Hides - opening date TBC, but certainly not before 12 April. When they do open there are likely to be strict limits on numbers, and masks will be required.

Public viewpoint - open daily, dawn to dusk, as this is an open air facility

Wild Zone - open daily, dawn to dusk

Guided walks, hire a guide and safaris - start date TBC, but not until later in the spring

Educational visits/school groups - currently unavailable until Autumn term

As with all aspects of the government's Covid roadmap, all of these dates are subject to change in relation to the government guidelines.

By 29 March, we expect the first spring migrants - sand martins, swallows, willow warblers and blackcaps - to be back, and the first nightingales should return just in time for the shop to reopen on 12 April. We'll keep you posted with opening arrangements, and any changes to our current plans.