WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre to reopen after bird flu closure

One of Northern Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions – WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre in Comber, Co Down – will welcome back visitors from Monday (January 23) following a temporary closure due to a confirmed case of bird flu.

The centre closed its doors in October 2022 following The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) guidelines and has worked in partnership with DAERA to take measures to protect the birds at the centre.

In order to continue to protect the birds in their care, the resident collection bird section of the site will be temporarily closed with a new visitor path providing access to the rest of the reserve site. Visitors can still see some of the wetland superstars from around the world from the Kingfisher café window as they settle into their new quarters.

These include the Hawaiian Geese, African Comb ducks, Greenland White Fronted Geese and Patagonian crested ducks.

WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre in Comber Co Down will welcome back visitors from Monday, January 23 following a temporary closure. Picture: Google

The cafe and shop are open as usual as are the sensory garden, art gallery and wildwood play. Visitors will have access to the nature reserve with woodland walks, bird hides and the wonderful mosaic of wetland habits which our precious native wetland wildlife call home.

Paul Stewart, centre manager, said: “ WWT Castle Espie is delighted to reopen to visitors following a temporary closure from October last year.

"Protecting the birds in our care and those seeking winter refuge on our reserve is always our utmost priority and we were grateful for the support and understanding from our supporters while we were closed.

"Although our resident collection birds have been temporarily rehomed, to separate them from wild birds and the public for their wellbeing, we have developed a new visitor route to enable full access to the rest of this stunning reserve. Thankfully, we’re now able to welcome visitors back to enjoy the beauty and Giant Spirit of this wetland centre.”

Visitors will return to a range of activities including history tours, birdwatch mornings and guide in the hide with onsite expert John McCullough. Join a guide and learn about the work of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust on species conservation and habitats and the fascinating human history of the site.

Families will enjoy the events for February midterm break including: ‘The Big Hide Out’ featuring bird box building and birdwatching, make a birdfeeder with a recycled plastic bottle, make a mini-beast motel, plant a sunflower seed and take a mini-beast hunt. They can also join resident expert John McCullough at Scrabo Tower play area and take part in some woodland birdwatching.

Read More
Castle Espie currently closed following suspected bird flu infection

For further information on the WWT Castle Espie reopening and forthcoming events visit https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/castle-espie/ or follow WWT Castle Espie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.