The Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, owned in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, is situated in 936ha of land known as ‘sloblands’, which were reclaimed during the mid 1800’s. Wet grassland and tillage, along with a brackish-water drainage channel and reed beds, form the main habitats which collectively make for an internationally important wetland and one of Ireland's finest bird sites. The area is renowned for the wide diversity and density of its birdlife, particularly during the winter months, when thousands of Greenland White-fronted Geese (around a third of the world population) arrive in October and remain within the area until mid-April. These are joined by wintering Bewick's and Whooper Swans, as well as Light-bellied Brent Geese and a variety of other ducks and waders. Of particular importance are the flocks of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits that arrive in nearby Wexford Harbour, where good numbers of Common Scoters also over-winter.
White-fronted geese arrive in October to spend the winter feeding on the grasslands and specially planted tillage areas and are generally present through until early April. Look carefully at their bills; these are orange which indicates they are of the Greenland race.
Arriving from Arctic Canada in October in numbers, Light-bellied Brent Geese feed on the grasslands until well into the spring before making the long journey back to their Arctic breeding grounds.
Now a rare sight in Ireland; they are similar to their cousins - the Whooper Swan but look carefully at the bills and the characteristic yellow patch; they have proportionally more black and less yellow on their bill and are smaller. They arrive here in October and stay until early April when they make their way back to their Siberian breeding grounds.
Parking is available at the entrance between 9am and 5pm. There is a Visitor Centre nearby and marked walking trails; please keep to these trails for your own safety and to avoid disturbance to the wildlife. Please do not open gates or climb over fences and be aware that grazing animals are present at certain times of the year. Please respect the wildlife and other visitors and refrain from bringing dogs onto the reserve, other than Guide dogs.
Opening times: The Reserve is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 9am until 5pm. The car park and entrance gates are locked every evening at 5pm.
Entrance charges: Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome.
Facilities: There is a Visitor Centre with wheelchair access, toilets and an audio visual display. There is a wildfowl collection. From the Visitor Centre it is a short walk to an observation tower overlooking the sloblands. There are also two observation hides, the Pump House hide and Pat Walsh hide, which overlook parts of the reserve. Information boards are provided at the Visitor Centre.
Location: 3 km north of Wexford town
Grid Ref: T 076 238