North East News

Rachel sets out to Inspire

Durham Wildlife Trust has taken on a new member of staff to promote its recently-refurbished visitor centre at the Low Barns nature reserve.

Located near to the picturesque village of Witton-le-Wear, Low Barns sits on the banks of the River Wear. The old farm buildings that give the site its name are now a visitor centre and café.

Following extensive redevelopment work over the summer, Low Barns now appeals to a much broader range of people and is a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts, families and business looking to hold meetings somewhere a little bit different. The coffee shop, under new management, is open seven days a week.

Rachel Richards has been taken on as Wilderness Ranger, a new post based at Low Barns. Her focus is on engagement and education, developing and delivering the Trust’s youth engagement activities at Low Barns and providing a range of new opportunities for young people from toddlers to teens to help them engage in nature conservation.

The role was developed to inspire and foster future stewardship for the natural world by reaching out to the nature enthusiasts of the future.

Rachel, with more than 20 years’ experience in conservation, including protected species work and environmental education, is perfectly placed to deliver the Trust’s vision. She is also a familiar face to regular visitors to the reserve, having previously led the local monthly Wildlife Watch Group at Low Barns, an activity which sees about 15 children and parents regularly enjoying hands-on learning at the nature reserve and other locations.

She said: “Since I joined as Wilderness Ranger earlier in the year, I have introduced a range of new initiatives to encourage people to visit this hidden gem, including toddler Muddy Welly walks for local families and winter bird watching sessions for our members.

“The building provides a space for education, enjoyment and refreshments with food and hot drinks served all day. The paths and bird hides around the site are suitable for all users, so everyone can experience the wildlife that thrives across the woodlands, lakes, grasslands and riverbanks. it’s a fantastic place, if you haven’t been you must visit.” 

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