Update 11.07.17 As with any large scale project there are unseen stumbling blocks. We have hit a few of those along the way but they will actually improve our ability to develop a World Class Owl Centre in the long term. We are currently awaiting the results of a site study being run by a Heritage group which will aid the renovation of buildings on site. The results from this Study will be in around September 2017. In the meantime the trustees are working behind the scenes so we can hit the ground running. We are now aiming to open Summer 2018.
The process of obtaining all the necessary approvals and permissions and the lease on the land for the new World Owl Centre at Himley Park in the West Midlands has been very protracted because of having to deal with two local authorities (one as the land owner and another one as the planning authority). With the land also being in a conservation area and a historic landscape various other bodies have had to be involved as well. All of this has delayed work on the site but, when you read this, clearance work in readiness for actual construction work to commence will have begun as contractors will have been on site and volunteers have been working hard clearing space for new aviaries. The local wildlife is enjoyingthe clearance, a Kingfisher has been visitng one of the newly uncovered ponds. Exciting times are ahead.
Vounteers at Work
The plan of the site and the aerial photograph will give you some idea of how it is being laid out.
The pond and remnants of the old site are revealed
It is hoped that the new centre will be fully operational in the Summer of 2018 and that it will provide a full day’s experience for visitors where, as well as seeing the finest collection of owls in the UK, they will be able to browse for “owly gifts” in the shop and rest their feet in the tea room to enjoy quality refreshments whilst gazing out into the owl centre or picnic overlooking the on site lake.
Site Clearance Starts in 2014
All of the WOT Trustees are very excited about the project which will be without any doubt the best centre of its type in the UK. Visitors will experience a “magical mystery tour” along meandering pathways with the aviaries for the birds being built in between and around the trees that are already on site so there will virtually be a surprise around every corner. The accommodation for the birds will, as closely as possible, mimic the natural environment of the particular species of owl in order to provide them with the best possible environment for their welfare.
The World Owl Centre