Ribble Discovery Centre renovations. Things are moving rapidly at the Ribble Discovery Centre (RDC). The contractors have now moved in and the internal walls are down already. The suspended ceiling is also gone exposing the original roof beams. It is deemed that these will remain on view, albeit I hoping the dangling cobwebs will be removed! The new office has taken shape, it's much more spacious and warmer than the old one. Last week it was great to meet with Alison Butterworth from Radio Lancashire and explain what's going on and just how exciting it is to be part of these major renovations works. You can tune in here , the feature starts 24:20 minutes in. In other Fairhaven Lake news a female scaup was observed on the lake last week, in with the tufted ducks. Scaup like tufted ducks are diving ducks, probably explaining why this one has allied itself to them. Keep your eye out for it and if it's spotted again then please let us know. Twitter @RSPB_Ribble Facebook @ RSPB Ribble Estuary The new RDC The RSPB building the pagoda building was the original boathouse. The existing RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre opened in 1997 delivering outdoor education for visiting schools, a retail space and visitor centre. The renovated Pagoda Building will become the "Welcome Hub" of the the rejuvenated Fairhaven Lake site, housing a larger RSPB shop and visitor centre. New informative and eye-catching site interpretation is being created along with other exciting developments such as a 360 degree rotating kiosk and a free downloadable app packed with information about the area. After a hugely successful 2019 with visiting school numbers on the up we were looking forward to boosting this further this year, however with Covid hitting hard, all school visits were cancelled from March. With the new development, the classroom for visiting schools will be located in a purpose-built classroom within the Isaac Dixon boathouse, on the edge of the lake. The boathouse will also offer watersports sessions to schools and groups and there will be ample toilet and shower facilities, which will make a huge difference to our school visits. With expected completion of the buildings set for spring 2021 it will be perfect timing as we are hoping to be able to welcome educational visits back to the site at that time. We are currently taking bookings from April onwards and have already received a number of booking enquiries and requests, which is really encouraging. For more information about school visits please click here. The Fairhaven HLF Project The Ribble Discovery Centre renovation is just part of the Fairhaven HLF project. Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund, the project aims to conserve and restore Fairhaven’s heritage buildings and landscape, improve the lake’s infrastructure and water quality, and provide an exciting new programme of events. What else is being restored? The restoration objectives focus on 4 key elements; buildings, landscape, lake and activity. Key features of building works include: External and internal restoration of the pavilion café building (original 1896 golf club house) Internal development of the current Isaac Dixon Boathouse (1920’s) to support water sports and community activity Restoration works to the Pagoda Building (1901) which is currently home to the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre to enable a wider range of park heritage interpretation and act as main welcome centre to the park Key features of the landscape works include: Improved facilities for tennis and bowls Changed planting to restore historic vistas Restoration of the Japanese Gardens Creation of full perimeter pathway Forest School Island and Winter Bird Roost New adventure play area Key features of the lake works include: Lake dredging and aeration Lake edge innovative pilot projects Reconstruction of the Lake Inlet/Outlet (courtesy of the Sea Defence Project) Key features of the Activity and Interpretation include: Information points around the gardens to highlight the historic importance of Thomas Mawson’s original design and highlight the site’s international importance for wildlife Education offer expanded in partnership with RSPB and others Increased volunteer activity – in partnership with FOFL and UR Potential Significant increase in water based activity – kayaks, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, open water swimming Arts/Crafts/workshop activity delivered by private partners with links to hard-to-reach groups Annual events programme to include outdoor theatre, performance arts, sailing regatta and much more How you can support/get involved The project is looking for volunteers to support a wide range of activity. For more information contact Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org You can follow the projects progress with details of events on Twitter with @Fairhaven HLF and on Facebook through the Friends of Fairhaven Lake page, and you can download the landscape masterplan here.