Work is now underway to bring a fresh new look to the visitor centre at Queenswood which Herefordshire Wildlife Trust plans to reopen this summer.
The ground floor of ‘The Tannery’ will become home to a welcoming space where visitors can find out about upcoming events, trails and wildlife sightings. The visitor centre will also stock a varied range of products from local artisans alongside wildlife gifts, bird seed, books and cards.
Some of the products which will be going on sale were previewed at the pop-up shop which was run on December weekends in 2015. These include organic beauty products from herbfamacy, woven baskets from Zoe’s Willow and apple juice from Orchard Origins. The shop will also showcase ranges which have resulted from Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s creative collaborations with Henryka Jewellery and batik artist Marie-Thérèse King.
The refurbishment is being led by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and The Houghton Project, a farm project based in nearby Bodenham that provides opportunities and support for people wanting to get involved in rural activities. Staff and volunteers at The Houghton Project will be using sustainably sourced and local timber to create the shop fittings and giving parts of the centre an “adobe” earth finish, using Herefordshire clay, to give the space a naturalistic look in keeping with its woodland setting.
The visitor centre is housed in ‘The Tannery,’ an historic timber-framed building dating from the late Eighteenth/ early Nineteenth Century which once stood by the River Kenwater in Leominster before being moved to Queenswood in 1990.
Though overseen by the Queenswood staff, the visitor centre will rely on a team of volunteers to support its day-to-day running. Visitor Experience Manager, Rachel Hicks, commented: “we’ve already had lots of people come forward to volunteer to help at the visitor centre. So many people are passionate about this site and are keen to find ways to get more involved and share their knowledge and love of Queenswood and Bodenham Lake and we’d love to hear from anyone interested in volunteering their time either in the visitor centre or out on the site.”