NATS and HIWWT mark 30 years of partnership at Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve

21 June 2023

NATS and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) celebrated 30 years of the Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve recently and honoured the occasion with a special event at the Reserve on Saturday 17 June.

The event brought key stakeholders together, including NATS and HIWWT employees, local teachers, Fareham Council’s Executive Leader Councillor Seán Woodward, HIWWT’s President and Vice-President, Megan McCubbin and Chris Packham CBE.

L-R: Dave Curtis, Chris Packham CBE, Megan McCubbin, Debbie Tann

In partnership with the HIWWT, NATS created and continues to support the 86-acre Nature Reserve. With four scenic lakes, woodland and grassland, the former brick quarry sits alongside NATS’ Swanwick air traffic control operational centre, which is part of the UK’s critical national infrastructure.

The agreement for the Reserve was made when planning permission was granted to build the operations centre. The former claypits are now the lakes and a rich habitat thrives around, with native trees, wildflowers and rich meadows supporting local wildlife.

There are more than two miles of paths through the Reserve, providing a beautiful outdoor space for people to enjoy while learning about nature and conservation.

Also at the Reserve is a Study Centre, which hosts local schools and groups. Since opening its doors in 1993, more than 45,000 local children have visited to embark on their forest learning journey.

Dave Curtis, Safety & Sustainability Director at NATS commented: “NATS is delighted to celebrate 30 years of partnership with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust at Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve.

“It was an honour to attend the 30th anniversary event to celebrate the accomplishments of the Reserve, and look to the future as we continue to collaborate to support local wildlife in Hampshire.

“Through hearing stories from the Trust and our colleagues, it is clear that the Reserve is an integral resource for the local community, and we are proud to play our part in supporting the site.

“It’s incredibly exciting to continue our collaboration with the Trust as we work towards the same shared goals for the next 30 years; inspiring conservation and protection of wildlife, and to make the most of this wonderful asset, to be shared with and enjoyed by all.”

Guided forest walk

Hannah Terrey, HIWWT’s Director of Advocacy and Engagement said: “We are immensely grateful for our partnership with NATS, which has been instrumental in shaping Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve into the incredible wild place it is today.

“The 30th anniversary event provided a moment of reflection on our remarkable journey, a chance to celebrate the positive impact our work has had for local wildlife and people and to look ahead to an even wilder future together.”

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