About the Discovery Centre

RHDC School visit
Education groups will use the Discovery Centre © Martyn Comley

At the heart of our Project are our plans to create a new Discovery Centre, bringing to life all the wonder of nature for visitors, whether they be families on a day out or the many thousands of young people at school for whom science is a vital part of study.

To many this may be a new Project, but it’s actually been under discussion for years. Despite its vast scale, the Reserve has, to date, had only a very small information room from which to tell the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the Reserve the many stories of this special place. Based at Lime Kiln Cottage, the room was damp, cold and uninviting – and even flooded in December 2013 when the River Rother burst its banks. Unfit for purpose, a solution had to be found.

By contrast, the new Discovery Centre will be everything you’d expect it to be.

  • Modern, functional, and constructed from sustainable materials
  • Minimum impact on the delicate ecosystem around it
  • Constructed on precisely the same site as the former Warden’s cottage and garden, so there is no spread into protected wildlife sites
  • Easy to find – directly on the principal approach most people use to enter the Reserve
  • Fully accessible – for people with disabilities
  • Energy efficient – with low-impact heating and cooling and able to generate electricity from the sun
  • Flood resistant – to protect it from rising sea levels
  • High quality – designed by architects Simpson & Brown, responsible for the multi award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre
  • Flexible – to provide for a range of different activities

From our consultation with visitors, local schools and colleges, businesses - and the wider community – we know there is strong support for a custom-made and sustainable facility which can be a thriving hub for education, a venue for a wide range of meetings and events, and a destination attraction to bring new visitors to the area to boost the local economy.

The total cost for its construction will be approximately £2.5m. It’s a lot of money – that’s why we need to make it extra special to do everything we need it to do.

We also know people have lots more questions about the Centre, so visit our Discovery Centre pages to find out more.

Lime Kiln Cottage
Lime Kiln Cottage © Barry Yates