Weekend Walk: Lego Wildlife Walk at Castle Espie
Area: Strangford Lough
Distance: 1 mile circular
Map: Sheet 21 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series available from Land & Property Services osni.gov.uk or nidirect.gov.uk/map-shop-information.
Nearest town to start: Comber
Facilities: Visitor centre with a shop, cafe, art gallery and toilet facilities. Mobility scooters can also be hired for those with limited mobility.
Developed By: The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
Terrain: Parkland trails through lakeland and woodland.
Walk Description: Don't miss the larger than life Lego exhibition in Castle Espie Wetland Centre on the shores of Strangford Lough.
Home to Ireland's largest collection of native and exotic water birds, Castle Espie is the ideal location for those who love a spot of bird watching and families looking a fun day out.
While out exploring, keep an eye out for the giant animals that have gone on display, some up to 12 times life size made entirely from Lego Bricks. The first exhibition of its kind in Northern Ireland, the Lego brick animal trail showcases characters such as Natalie the Nene (the world's rarest goose), Kate the kingfisher, Benedict the Bewick's swan and Mac the mallard in their natural habitat. 92,400 Lego bricks were used to build all nine animals over 915 hours.
The Woodland Walk begins at the visitor centre, following the path to the Brent Hide. Along the way you will be joined by birds who will nibble grain directly from your hand. Having stopped to take in the spectacular view of the lough, continue along the path towards the limekiln observatory – with three glass walls, this is a great spot for some birdwatching.
The kids will enjoy spending time discovering the interactive learning zone in the Limestone pavilion before following the signs for the Swamp Walk and Stoat Town, a natural outdoor playground. The path leads back to the visitor centre via the duckery which is open to visitors all year round. This is home to many endangered species of duck which require hand rearing so spring and summer are busy times. Returning to the visitor centre enjoy a well-earned tasty treat from the cafe before you head home.
:: The Lego exhibition runs at Castle Espie until March 20.
Responsible Walking: Please remember to practice the principles of 'Leave No Trace' when enjoying the outdoors in order to minimise your impact on the environment. For more information, visit leavenotraceireland.org.
:: Visit WalkNI.com for route descriptions, maps, and transport and facility information for over 240 quality walks across Northern Ireland.
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