Rutland Water Nature Reserve – home to the famous ospreys – has been voted the country’s favourite wildlife haven.
LandLove Magazine gathered more than 25,000 votes as it aimed to find the nation’s favourite things about our countryside, from stately homes to hotels and gardens. There was tough competition in the category of Britain’s favourite nature reserve, but Rutland Water came out on top, followed by the National Trust’s Farne islands and the RSPB’s Minsmere in Suffolk, home of the BBC’s Springwatch.
The reserve is managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water.
Chris Gerrard, from Anglian Water, said: “We are extremely proud to have won this award, especially when the competition was so strong.
“There is always something to see at Rutland Water – the ospreys will arrive back from Africa soon, and until then there are lots of wintering ducks and wading birds to see here.
“And as well as all these amazing species, the reservoir also provides lots of recreation and drinking water for many thousands of homes in the region – so it is vital for people and wildlife.”
Tim Mackrill, senior reserve officer for the Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to have received this recognition.
“We are constantly striving to make Rutland Water a better nature reserve for both wildlife and people and we are thrilled that LandLove readers enjoy their visits here.”
The reservoir is a popular destination for wildlife lovers, walkers, cyclists and families. It is home to many thousands of wildfowl and wetland birds and is designated as a globally important wildlife habitat.
Its most famous residents are the ospreys. Several pairs now breed around the reservoir following the first chick to fledge in central England for 150 years, born there in 2001.
The site is also the location for Birdfair, an annual celebration of wildlife which sees thousands of nature lovers gather each August for the UK’s biggest wildlife event.
Natalie Croft, assistant editor of Landlove Magazine, said: “Rutland Water is a well-deserved winner, clearly loved by our readers and us too for their wonderful conservation efforts, phenomenal wildlife and fantastic osprey project.”