On April 18, 2005 the Nature Reserve Centre at the Attenborough Nature Reserve was opened by the aptly-named Sir David Attenborough. Mr. Attenborough’s return after initially opening the reserve in 1966 was a final and significant triumph of the power of the public’s love of the preservation of nature over the incessant march of industry.
For many decades reaching as far back as 1929, the Attenborough site by the River Trent had been one of gravel extraction. The way in which nature can exist happily alongside industry is now fully manifested at Attenborough however. The large excavated areas have had soil re-introduced and now serve as a patchwork of islands and lakes which are hospitable to many forms of wildlife.
Recording of the area’s bird life began back in the 1940s’ and since that era over 250 bird species have been noted, from the ever-present waterfowl to rarer forms of birds such as the Bittern and the Kingfisher. Of course the environment houses other forms of wildlife too with many foxes, stoats, invertebrates and amphibians being evident.
There is a further balancing act that Attenborough performs also with the provision of special areas for those that enjoy water sport pursuits such as sailing and water-skiing. It was in a different pursuit however I found myself – that of walker, one morning, enjoying the sites and sounds of this beautiful reserve as on a cold yet sunny day in early March I set forward with a friend to take in the delights of the area.
From the strictly ‘donated’ £1 coin towards the upkeep of the centre, at the car park, everything is found to be kept in touch with nature at Attenborough. It is a quiet and established haven of tranquility in their midst for the public to enjoy. The huge power station chimneys viewed in the distance hardly detract from the atmosphere of Attenborough, indeed they could be said to add to the satisfying nature of the area in that that such an environment can survive and prosper in the midst of such an urban area.
The solar-powered Attenborough Nature Reserve Centre
It is not difficult to image the somewhat eerie sight that the lagoons of Attenborough can assume given the right kind of light and weather. That is surely very much part of the charm of the place, the ever-changing appearance to be seen.
At the end of our walk we repaired to the new Nature Reserve Centre constructed on the site. Often I am not drawn to these types of places but it has to be said that this one is a little different to the rest of the crowd. The care and love of the place is easy to see and the fact that many RSPB items are available inside those large glass doors is particularly gratifying.
There are some genuinely interesting exhibits of the wildlife and fauna of Attenborough on display to the public too. We took our coffee. As is the way with these things now it was a Latte – good it was too, and served by extra pleasant staff that seemed very happy to be there. Turning to matters continental inspired by the Italian beverage and talk of that beautiful country, my friend and mused over his experience thereof a similar situation in arestaurant where the whole trattoria exploded as one standing up to cheer and sing for a diner’s birthday celebration. Could that ever occur here in the UK we questioned? But a few minutes, later our question was answered as the very same happened to the young girl that had served our coffee. Perhaps that is a testament to the type of people that inhabit such places as Attenborough, whether to work as a ranger, serve a java or two or simply to walk and breathe in God’s good fresh that is gifted to us. Long may the Attenborough’s of this world assist in retaining nature’s balance. I’m sure they will.