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Its a natural summer in the city for Gloucester

18th June 2010

Nature will burst to life in Gloucester this spring and summer in a family-friendly celebration of nature, art and wildlife - right in the heart of the city.

From enjoying the sights and sounds of the countryside within the city to the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to art inspired by nature, Gloucester is the perfect choice for summer fun with a natural shade of green.

There’s a chance to fly birds of prey, meet a ‘celebrity’ chick and even have a go at paddling an ancient coracle boat at the birthplace of modern conservation.

Heritage rich Gloucester is already a firm favourite for its mix of award winning attractions, exciting festivals and must-see events, but as well as a stunning waterside setting there’s a greener side to the city too.

For the sights and sounds of the countryside right in the heart of the city, head for the City Farm in St James Street to experience hands on contact with cute and cuddly animals ranging from sheep to goats and pigs to rabbits.

Feed the animals and meet up with celebrity, Snowy, the orphaned chick. Born during last February’s heavy snow, she was the only egg to hatch from 15 and has gone on to front a ‘things to do’ city council poster campaign, tweeted on the council’s Twitter page and starred in her very own ‘chick flick’!

Just 2 miles north of Gloucester, art and nature combine at Nature in Art, the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature. Housed in a fine Georgian mansion, it offers vibrant exhibitions and an unrivalled programme of artists in residence, making it a must for all those interested in world-class art, nature and heritage.

Until 6th June it features Flowerscapes, the work of Meg Stevens, renowned for her paintings of wild places almost all completed near her home in Wales, while among other exhibitions for the summer is Stella’s Ark (29th Jun - 25th Jul) a unique exhibition of works by ceramic sculptor, Stella Crofts, whose work - particularly of animals and birds – was well known between the Wars.

How about getting up close and personal with birds of prey – just minutes from the city? Not only doesThe Barn Owl Centre, Hempsted, offer a conservation haven and education centre dedicated to owls, plus a 12 acre Nature Reserve, they have also created Gloucester city’s first Birds of Prey Centre.

With owls, hawks, buzzards and a majestic Golden Eagle, handling and flying experience are staged everyday, there is also a purpose built indoor flying area, just in case of wet weather. The Barn Owl Centre is open during weekends and school holidays and all activities operate on a pre-booked basis.

And just a little further afield, Slimbridge Wetland Centre, which was the vision of naturalist and artist Sir Peter Scott and internationally recognised as the headquarters of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), is home to an array of wildlife including the world's largest collection of swans, geese, and ducks.

Known as the birthplace of modern conservation, a year round programme of walks, arts, events, workshops, talks and spectacular wildlife encounters offer a way for visitors to connect to their natural surroundings.

To see wildlife from a new perspective, try a Canoe Safari. Or how about testing your skills to the limit by trying to paddle in a coracle? The ancient one-man boats were an important part of the heritage of the River Severn and special coracle training sessions are staged at the centre.


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