Visitor Centres re-open for the summer

Friday 5th May 2017

Wildflowers on Scarlett path © FelicityWildflowers on Scarlett path © Felicity

Our Visitor Centres are opening again for summer! Find out where and what there is to see.

Manx Wildlife Trust’s two Visitor Centres at the Ayres National Nature Reserve and Scarlett near Castletown are re-opening on 13th May and 18th May respectively. Both are staffed by dedicated volunteers who will help visitors enjoy and understand the wildlife of the two very different areas.

Ayres Heather Shingle © Andree DubbeldamThe Ayres Visitor Centre is surrounded by the dunes and flower rich rare lichen heath of the Ayres National Nature Reserve and Area of Special Scientific Interest. Visitors can use a viewing platform to look out to sea to spot diving Gannets, seals and other marine wildlife. Little Terns will soon return to the beach to nest and breed on our shores, during their estimated 50,000 mile round journey.

Easy walking paths allow visitors to hear the summer songs of breeding lapwings, linnet and skylarks and get close to a mass of colourful wildflowers including orchids.

The Ayres Visitor Centre offers information on wildlife sightings, a small selection of gifts with snacks and drinks plus an informative video about the area and a fascinating collection of local rocks and biological finds.

Scarlett Visitor Centre © Dawn DickensIn contrast, Scarlett Visitor Centre and Nature Trail is in an area famed for its varied geology, with volcanic basalt and carboniferous limestone revealing its ancient origins. The Nature Trail and its informative leaflet enables visitors to learn more about the geology and the variety of wildflowers growing there. Seabirds will be seen in Castletown Bay and resident stonechats and meadow pipits are joined by migrant wheatears, swallows and martins in summer.

Scarlett Visitor Centre has a film about the area and displays on its quarrying history well as its natural history. Families can borrow nets for rock pooling and there’s a collection of fossil bearing rocks. Refreshments and a small selection of gifts are on sale.

Manx Wildlife Trust CEO, Dr Tim Graham, said: “We always look forward to re-opening our Visitor Centres for the summer as they add so much to a day out in our wonderful countryside. We hope that lots of people will re-discover these hidden gems and their wildlife and make the most of getting out and about”.

More Information

The Ayres Visitor Centre is off the A10 out of Ramsey. At Bride, travel about half a mile out of the village and turn right at the sign to Ballaghennie and car park. It will be open from 12 noon on 13th May and then from 2 – 5pm until September 10th.

Scarlett Visitor Centre is on the peninsular separating Castletown Bay from Carrick Bay and is approached via Queen Street from Castletown Square, Castletown. From the car park, follow a stony track past the flooded quarry to the Visitor Centre. It will be open from 2-5pm Thursday to Sunday until mid-September.

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, Ayres Visitor Centre, Scarlett Visitor Centre, Summer, Visitor centres