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Nature park is up and running
12:31pm Tuesday 3rd July 2012 in News
A NEW nature park created on a former landfill site opened to the public for the first time on Sunday. Around 120 acres of the long-awaited Thameside Nature Park in Stanford-le-Hope are now available for the public to enjoy, including a new visitor centre.
The riverside park, created on the Mucking landfill site by Cory Environmental, is set to be expanded to 845 acres over time, and is being managed by Essex Wildlife Trust.
Its new visitor centre, in Mucking Wharf Road, includes an education room, an observation area, a snug area with wood-burning stove, a shop selling toys, gifts, bird seed and binoculars, a bistro with refreshments, and toilets.
The building has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and has a bio-mass burner that heats the radiators and hot taps.
The centre’s viewing deck looks set to become a popular feature.
A spokesman from Essex Wildlife Trust said: “ The 360-degree views over Mucking Flats and the Thames Estuary are incredible.
“As such, the visitor centre is great for bird watching - Mucking Creek and Flats are an avian hotspot, home to thousands of wading birds, especially in autumn and winter, including internationally important numbers of ringed plover and avocet, as well as nationally important numbers of grey plover, dunlin, black-tailed godwit and redshank - but also for ship watching, too, with interactive lecterns informing visitors about the ships that they can see.”
Over time, the park will feature more than 12 miles of new footpaths, bridleways and cycle paths.
It is already proving an attractive habitat for coastal and wetland wildlife, as well as grasslands woodlands, and hedgerows.
The spokesman added: “The Nature Park will be important for many species including barn owls, water voles, harvest mouse, skylark, butterflies and invertebrates.
“Exmoor ponies will also graze the site.”
The park will be open from 9am to 5pm every day except Mondays.
Dogs are welcome on lead, but are not allowed in the visitor centre.