The two-acre nature reserve is located outside of the main zoo entrance and entry is free of charge. It highlights a traditional Cheshire landscape and is already home to a wide variety of local wildlife including birds, mammals and insects.
The reserve has been developed with wildflower meadows, 150 native trees, a wildlife pond and a grass amphitheatre which will be used for environmentally-themed events and as an outside classroom for schools.
Sarah Bird, Chester Zoo’s biodiversity officer, said:
“Chester Zoo’s conservation activities extend far beyond the zoo animals we know and love. We believe conservation begins at home and in the UK we are responsible for looking after native species right here on our doorstep. The nature reserve is already home to some amazing species such as the sparrowhawk which our experts have spotted, and the hedgehog we’ve caught on camera traps.
“By opening up this beautiful and tranquil area to the public we aim to inspire people to take a longer look at the nature around them and discover how they can play their part in looking after it.”
Youngsters from Acresfield Primary School, Upton, were the first to try out the nature reserve during the opening as they take part helping to identify bugs and insects.
Chester Zoo trustee and horticulture expert Professor Stefan Buczacki, who spent 12 years a panel member and chairman of BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, opened the site.
The nature reserve is open during normal zoo opening hours.
Professor Stefan Buczacki, Chester Zoo trustee Rebecca Burke-Sharples and Chester Zoo's director general Dr Mark Pilgrim opened the nature reserve