Feb 26, 2019 - 4min read
Humans don’t always work in perfect harmony with nature - though at Tonik HQ we’re doing our very best to change that! The UK is home to some really amazing man-made spaces and structures that both enhance and protect their environment.
From a sustainable theme park deep in the heart of the Norfolk woods to an educational charity in Wales that researches and develops sustainable technologies, there is no shortage of inspiring, eco-friendly attractions for you and your family in the UK.
Join us on a journey through some of our favourite green days out across the country!
One of the original eco-tourist spots, the Eden Project has been around for nearly 20 years since opening at the turn of the millennium. Made up of two sets of interconnected domes constructed from inflated hexagonal cells, the Eden Project turns the Cornish landscape into something out of a sci-fi novel. FUN FACT: once a china clay pit, the site was actually used as a sci-fi location for the BBC’s 1981 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series!
One of the domes simulates a tropical rainforest climate, the other a mediterranean one. The awe-inspiring array of plants inside are kept alive with sanitised rainwater, and the Eden Project’s energy comes from some of the first wind turbines built in Europe. Not only that, but the project is raising funds for a geothermal plant that would provide renewable energy for the surrounding community, and is trialling smart tech that could help balance renewables on the grid. That certainly sounds like heaven to us!
Since 1974, this educational charity in the foothills of Snowdonia has been teaching visitors about renewable energy technologies, with demonstrations of solar, hydro and wind power that feed into site-wide grid powered by renewable energy. Built in a disused quarry by businessman-turned-environmental pioneer Gerard Morgan-Grenville, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has since expanded its goals to promoting sustainable living as well.
As well as promoting the message that we already have all the necessary technologies for a Zero Carbon Britain, the CAT also features a water-powered funicular railway, organic gardens and examples of sustainable architecture that include its onsite eco cabins and B&B. So now you can enjoy the beauty of Snowdonia while finding out about the technology we need to keep it beautiful!
In the Warwickshire countryside, the Heart of England Forest is the result of a concerted effort to bring trees back to the local landscape - planting a series of ‘joined-up’ forests that connect the ancient Forest of Arden to the Vale of Evesham. The person who started the project was the late, great publisher and landowner Felix Dennis, and since then the charity has planted over 3,750 acres of woodland, including 40,253 trees this season alone!
Aside from the obvious positive impact this has on the environment, the Heart of England Forest also provides a serene escape from the nearby cities and towns. The project has created several miles of woodland walks and hosts a number of events ranging from tree planting to wildlife spotting. With so much on offer already, imagine what the forest will be like once it reaches its goal of 30,000 acres!
A man-made environmental oasis amid the urban sprawl of London, the WWT Wetland centre has turned four disused Victorian reservoirs into 100 acres of lush vegetation that are simply teeming with wildlife.
Just 10 minutes from the bustling hubbub of Hammersmith, you’ll find it hard to believe that these wetlands are actually home to 180 different species of animal - including kingfishers, otters, grass snakes and sand martins! No wonder it was voted Britain’s Favourite Nature Reserve in the 2012 BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.
Another little sanctuary tucked away in our own city, the Birmingham EcoPark is a Wildlife Trust site filled with ponds, frogs, newts, bees, butterflies and a wide variety of birds ranging from woodpeckers to buzzards. It’s the perfect place to teach children about nature, and can be used as a Wild School by schoolchildren and their teachers.
Better yet, it provides kids with a great opportunity to learn about renewable energy - the largest pond collects rainwater from the rest of the EcoPark, and a pump powered by solar and wind generators moves excess water to a storage tank, after which it can be used to water plants or top up the smaller ponds. Green energy in action!
For all-out fun, you can’t get much greener than the BeWILDERwood theme park in Norfolk. Picture the most epic network of treehouses you can think of, connected with rope bridges, zip wires and electric-powered wooden boats… all made from sustainable wood by local craftsmen, and spread across 50 acres of gorgeous woods and marshland!
The commitment to sustainability doesn’t end there, though. BeWILDerwood has planted more than 14,000 trees in its immediate vicinity to reduce its already small carbon footprint, sends 100% of its waste to a recycling plant rather than landfill, and has set up more than 50 bird and bat boxes to draw wildlife into the park. Absolutely bewonderful!
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