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New Pensthorpe exhibit raises awareness of fragile wetlands

Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, has opened the doors to its latest new attraction, the Wetland Discovery Area, which is intended to educate visitors about the importance and fragility of wetland habitats and to inspire them to help protect them.

The new £70,000 educational area demonstrates the different wetland habitats around the world such as lakes, rivers and garden ponds, and has been part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A large pond-dipping facility, thought to be the largest in Norfolk, gives visitors a ‘hands on’ opportunity to see domestic wetland habitats in action, whilst the popular Pensthorpe flamingos are back on public display as their new home, illustrative of tropical lagoons more commonly found in southern Spain, takes pride of place within the new area.

Wetlands occur on every continent of the world, except Antarctica. Many of these wetland areas are home to species which both permanently live there or travel to take advantage of their food supplies. Unfortunately, in the last 100 years about half of the world’s wetlands have vanished yet they are still hugely valuable for wildlife. Whether for water provision, hunting territory, breeding sites or plant growth, wetlands are vitally important.

Bill and Deb Jordan at Pensthorpe

Bill Jordan, owner of Pensthorpe, comments: “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.

“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.”

The new area is the latest addition to the 700-acre reserve since it opened its Wetland Hide in April this year.

The new Wetland Discovery Area opening comes as Pensthorpe Natural Park celebrates its 30th anniversary and its 15th under the care of current owners Bill and Deb Jordan.

The visitor attraction also includes indoor facilities such as Hootz House (below).

Pensthorpe

Pensthorpe

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