As seems to be the norm this year, no sooner do I write a blog outlining our opening arrangements then they change as government advice is updated. That was the case again this week, but due to the Christmas break I have not be able to update the news since the announcement that Suffolk, like many parts of the southeast of England, entered Tier 4 on Boxing Day.

So, what does Tier 4 mean for opening arrangements here at Minsmere. Put simply, the nature trails, car park and toilets remain open, but the hides and visitor centre don't. However, as always, it's not quite as simple as that, so here's the detail.

Visitor centre 

Reception is closed, but we are meeting you on arrival and asking non members to continue to pay an entry fee - this is reduced to half price (£4.50 per adult) whilst other facilities reman closed. You will also be asked to complete NHS Test and Trace, either via the App or by leaving your contact details on a slip of paper, as before.

The shop is closed, as is required under Tier 4

The cafe is also closed as we are not able to offer a takeaway service whilst the shop remains closed, so there are no refreshments available.

The toilets are open from 9 am to 4 pm only. Face masks are required in the toilets.

The hides are all locked, as is required under Tier 4. However, as the Public Viewpoint is open air, that remains open.

The nature trails are all open. However, the section of the Coast Trail between the Sluice and South Hide is currently impassable due to chest-deep flooding - and is likely to remain so for some time.

This was the flooding in the spring, just before we went into lockdown, but it's much deeper at the moment

Also, we do need to remind you to follow government guidance, please, and to remain local during the current restrictions.

If you are lucky enough to live locally, and are able to enjoy a walk here at Minsmere, then you should see a good variety of ducks on the Scrape and flocks of tits and finches in the woods. Highlights over the last few days have included upto 18 goosanders, three whooper swans, a Caspian gull and a ringtail hen harrier.

Please stay safe everyone, and hopefully we'll be able to reopen some more of our facilities soon