New year of­fer to watch the birdies for free

Free en­try and ‘win­ter wool­lies’ at bird re­serve

Sunday Sun - - News - By Bar­bara Hodg­son Re­porter bar­bara.hodg­[email protected]­plc.com

VIS­I­TORS to RSPB Saltholme this Jan­uary are be­ing of­fered free en­try as the pop­u­lar na­ture re­serve launches its pro­gramme for 2019.

There will be open ad­mis­sion at the Teesside at­trac­tion for the rest of the month which also co­in­cides with the re­turn of its an­nual ‘Yarn Bomb­ing’ event.

This sees the ad­di­tion of some rather un­usual ‘crea­tures’ to the usual line-up of bird at­trac­tions which prove such a hit with vis­i­tors who travel there from New­cas­tle and the wider North East.

A knit­ted as­sort­ment of birds – all made by vol­un­teers – will join the real deal at the re­serve near Stock­ton-on­tees and also among the woolly vis­i­tors will be new farm and zoo an­i­mals and even mini di­nosaurs along­side re­turn­ing chil­dren’s book char­ac­ters from The Wind in the Wil­lows and Pe­ter Rab­bit.

The colour­ful knit­ted art­works will be await­ing dis­cov­ery through­out the re­serve where other high­lights on the pro­gramme for vis­i­tors are out­door play ar­eas, trails and in­door crafts.

Aimee Lee, Saltholme’s vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence man­ager, said that ev­ery­body in­volved at the re­serve en­joys the Jan­uary Yarn Bomb­ing, which is “the work of ded­i­cated lo­cal vol­un­teers who spend hours bring­ing their ideas to life for use around the re­serve”.

She said: “Ev­ery­one looks for­ward to see­ing the new ad­di­tions each year, we re­ally can’t thank them enough,” adding that in ad­di­tion to spot­ting the art­works, vis­i­tors can take ad­van­tage of the free en­try in Jan­uary to see ev­ery­thing the re­serve has to of­fer.

“We know the start of the year is a time that most peo­ple like to get back in touch with their health goals too and the re­serve is the per­fect place to boost your fit­ness with reg­u­lar walks,” she said. “The beauty of a na­ture re­serve is that there is al­ways some­thing new to see.”

Saltholme in Seaton Carew Road, Stock­ton-on-tees, is open daily from 9.30am un­til 4pm.

■ RSPB Saltholme kit­ted out in win­ter wool­lies thanks to the cre­ativ­ity of vis­i­tors, vol­un­teers and staff, fol­low­ing last month’s ap­peal for North East knit­ters

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