Springwatch at Minsmere: Increase in visitor numbers

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Game
Image caption Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Game presented Springwatch from Suffolk

A nature reserve has seen a boost in visitor numbers after it hosted BBC's Springwatch programme this year.

About 2.6 million viewers a night watched the show which came from Minsmere in Suffolk.

The RSPB, which owns the site, reported a 28% leap in visitor numbers for the year.

However, businesses in Suffolk reported a mixed response to the impact of the programme, with many in the area saying they had seen no difference in trade.

Visit Suffolk's survey found 31% of coastal businesses said the programme had had a positive impact, while 46% said it had no immediate effect.

Springwatch, which is presented by Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games, broadcast from the north Suffolk coast near Sizewell from 26 May until 12 June.

The show highlighted species including marsh harriers, bearded tits, avocets and bitterns.

Image caption The reserve near Sizewell includes lakes, reedbeds, woodlands and heathland
Image caption The reserve also offers sanctuary to many mammal species, including deer and badgers

Amanda Bond, from Visit Suffolk, said the programme had provided an "amazing opportunity" for Suffolk's tourism industry and would have a long legacy.

According to Visit Suffolk's survey of 121 businesses, the impact was felt less strongly in the local countryside and towns, where 18% and 25% of respondents respectively claimed it had a positive immediate impact.

In the surrounding countryside, 58% said Springwatch had no impact on business, while in towns the figure was 50%.

Adam Rowlands, senior site manager for RSPB Minsmere, said the reserve had continued to feel the benefit of hosting Springwatch.

"Lots of people have been coming in saying they've chosen to holiday on the Suffolk coast as a consequence of seeing Minsmere on the Springwatch programmes," he said.

"It wasn't just for the period when the programme was on the telly."

The programme is due to be broadcast from Minsmere for the next two years.

Image copyright RSPB
Image caption There are more than 5,600 species at Minsmere

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