Natural park aiming to raise awareness of wetland habitats with new £70,000 discovery area

A new wetland discovery area has opened at Pensthorpe Natural Park. Pictured pond dipping are owners

A new wetland discovery area has opened at Pensthorpe Natural Park. Pictured pond dipping are owners Bill and Deb Jordan. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk natural park is hoping to educate its visitors about the importance of wetland habitats by launching a new discovery area.

A new wetland discovery area has opened at Pensthorpe Natural Park. Pictured pond dipping are owners

A new wetland discovery area has opened at Pensthorpe Natural Park. Pictured pond dipping are owners Bill and Deb Jordan. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Pensthorpe Natural Park in Fakenham has opened its new £70,000 educational area, with the aim of inspiring its visitors to help protect these vital habitats which are gradually disappearing.

Bill Jordan is the owner of the natural park and said: 'We want to tell the story of wetlands as a habitat. They are diverse, complex, teeming with life, yet, most worryingly, under threat, so anything we can do to make people aware of their unique place within the ecosystem the better.'

The wetland discovery area is part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will include a large pond dipping facility which is thought to be the largest in Norfolk.

Visitors will be able to gain a hands on experience of seeing these habitats in action and the popular Pensthorpe flamingos will also be relocating to the new discovery area.

A new wetland discovery area has opened at Pensthorpe Natural Park. Pictured pond dipping are owners

A new wetland discovery area has opened at Pensthorpe Natural Park. Pictured pond dipping are owners Bill and Deb Jordan. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Mr Jordan added: 'We want to take our visitors on a journey of both guided and self-led exploration, starting with interactive pond-dipping in the wetland discovery area and finishing at the wetland hide where they can observe nature in action.

'If we can communicate the beauty of these habitats effectively, we hope to inspire a passion in our visitors to protect them.'

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Wetlands occur on every continent of the world except Antarctica and are home to species which both permanently live there or travel to take advantage of their food supplies.

The last 100 years has seen about half of the world's wetlands vanish, yet they are still hugely valuable for wildlife whether it be for water provision, hunting territory, breeding sites or plant growth.

Pensthorpe Natural Park recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and the wetland discovery area is just the latest of many additions to the 700 acre reserve.

Anyone wanting to visit can attend between 10am and 5pm until July 24 and 10am until 6pm from then until September, with tickets priced at £11.95 for adults and £10.95 for children.

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