The new visitor centre at Taverham near Norwich

Anglian Water has opened the gates to visitors of Norfolk’s newest nature reserve on the edge of Norwich.

The company has transformed the area around its fishing lodge at Taverham Mill into a place for local people of all ages to come and enjoy the River Wensum and its wildlife.

The fishing lodge itself has been turned into a visitor centre, and a children’s playground is due to open in June this year, making this the perfect spot for all the family.

A hide has also been built to let people get up close to the bird life which should be attracted to new, water-filled ‘scrapes’.
Two-miles of footpaths, boardwalks and bridges now let people wander and explore this beautiful patch of Norfolk. The short route takes walkers and cyclists along the river and through the woods and meadows.

Simon Wrigglesworth, Head Warden at Taverham Mill, said: “This is a lovely stretch of the river and we’re delighted that we can now share it with local people.

“It’s a beautiful place to while away the hours. Foxgloves fill the woods around the fishing lake in summer and it’s a great place to see some fascinating creatures too. We know there are otters here and the herd of eight highland cattle are great to see, these shaggy beasts also help keep the grass down making it the perfect place for barn owls to hunt.

“I feel very lucky to work here and I am sure the people who live in and around this area will be proud to have it on their doorstep, too. We look forward to welcoming them.”

Planning for a small car park at one end of the meadow together with a new access route has also been granted and will be created from next year.

Simon added: “Although the car park will help make this an attractive destination for people further afield we expect the majority of visitors to be from the local area, with many arriving on foot or by bicycle.”

Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the Environment Agency provided advice to ensure the site was improved for visitors without taking away from the wildlife value of the site.

Taverham Mill joins the other award-winning nature reserves on Anglian Water’s sites, including Rutland, Grafham and Alton Water.