The old, paleo channels at Slimbridge have been excavated to facilitate large scale wetland habitat creation in order to attract an abundance of wetland species from dragonflies to cranes.
The nature reserve at WWT Slimbridge covers more than 600 acres of land that has been reclaimed from the saltmarshes of the upper Severn Estuary over the last 400 years. The reserve consists of grazing meadow bordered by freshwater ditches.
Hidden within the meadows are the remnants of channels that were formed when the area was flooded regularly by high tides, though these were cut off and have mostly been infilled during farming operations since the various stages of sea walls have been constructed.
The paleo channel has been recently flooded with water and large numbers of little egrets are already beginning to use the area. The staff at The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust are looking forward to cranes using the newly created crane islands off to the side of the channel, carefully constructed to be safe from predators.
Little egrets have already been seen in large numbers and by winter, we hope to see bewick swans, white-fronted geese, wigeon and teal using the area.