THE UNIQUE experience visitors to Rushden Lakes will be able to enjoy came under the spotlight recently on an episode of BBC One’s Countryfile. . . Unsurprisingly, the focus was on the exciting opportunity to explore an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Winvic have played an important part in protecting, developing, and enhancing the adjoining Nene Valley nature reserves at Rushden; making one of the country’s largest out-of-town retail and leisure destinations an even more attractive proposition.
As the main contractor for Phase One of this major retail and leisure scheme, a crucial aspect of our work has involved forging a close association with external agencies that are committed to preserving the area’s natural and industrial heritage.
One such agency has been the Wildlife Trust BCN (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire). Featuring prominently when the BBC’s Countryfile crew visited Rushden; the Wildlife Trust BCN are soon set to open their first Visitor Centre on the boardwalk and have obtained Heritage Lottery funding for an ‘Into the Valley’ initiative that will encourage visitors to embark upon an adventure through nature and time.
The initiative involves developing a nature trail containing 14 hidden sculptures that depict some of the area’s native species, whilst the scheme’s long-term vision is to restore, improve and connect seven local wildlife sites to form one large 270-hectare site.
Over the past 18 months, Ian Hilbert, Reserves Officer for the Wildlife Trust BCN, has worked closely with all those responsible for delivering the many different aspects of the scheme. He said, “The level of care and genuine concern for the local environment shown by Winvic has been incredibly high throughout.
“This has probably been a unique set of circumstances for all of us – with such a major retail and leisure scheme being built so close to a nature reserve – but, right from the planning process, there has been a collective commitment to giving this area a new lease of life.
It’s not just shoppers and diners who will flock to Rushden Lakes; every year, 20,000 migratory birds do as well, making it one of Europe’s premier locations to enjoy this spectacle.
Richard Black, our Project Manager, said: “We did have to stop work in a certain area for four weeks whilst a pair of Ringed Plovers nested and laid eggs.
“As a company, we are proud of our reputation as a considerate constructor, and the unique nature of this setting has certainly taken that to a new level.”
He added: “It has certainly been an enlightening experience for our team, but working with the Wildlife Trust BCN and the environmental consultant representing LXB Properties, as well as ecologists and other organisations concerned with protecting the nature reserve, we have helped to deliver an opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds here.”
Anita Rani concluded her Countryfile feature by saying: “This is the perfect way to inspire everyone to enjoy what the great British countryside has to offer right on your doorstep.”
Find out more about our involvement in this unique out-of-town retail and leisure scheme in our project pages.
Image: Anita Rani presenting her Countryfile report on the Boardwalk at Rushden Lakes.