Explore the UK's Wetlands for Wetlands Awareness Day

The world's wetlands are crucial habitats. Not only do they support a wide range of wildlife, they are also the key to fighting climate change. Peat bogs cover just 3% of the world, yet store nearly a third of all land-based carbon – twice as much as the world's forests. Coastal marshes and wetland areas are also extremely carbon-dense ecosystems. What is more, wetlands can aid in adaptation and mitigation when it comes to extreme flooding and other extreme weather-related events.

Yet the world's wetlands are in threat. They are disappearing three times faster than forests. Their loss contributes significantly to global warming. February 2nd is World Wetland Awareness Day. This is the perfect time to gain an appreciation and understanding of these vital ecosystems. What better way to do so than by taking a camping trip, and getting to know one of the wetland areas in the UK?

Camping near one of the wetlands mentioned below could afford you the opportunity to explore wetland ecology, and perhaps to learn what you yourself can do to preserve these precious places.

Wildfowl & Wetland Trust Caerhaverock Wetland Centre, Dumfries & Galloway

This centre on the northern shore of the Solway Firth is one of the best places in the UK to see geese and swans. Each autumn, thousands flock here to south west Scotland to take advantage of the relatively mild climate and abundance of food.

Campsites nearby include:Caerhaverock Castle Campsite, West Moss-Side Livery & Campsite, Queensberry Bay, Hoddom Castle Caravan Park.

Minsmere, Suffock

This is a show-piece RSPB reserve on the Suffolk Coast. It is famous for a man-made lagoon with shingle islands known as 'the scrape'. This habitat is home to nesting gulls, avocets and terns, as well as other key wetland species such as the marsh harrier and bittern.

Campsites nearby include: Beach View Holiday Park, The Eels Foot Inn, Eastbridge Farm, Cliff House Holiday Park & The Bell Inn.

Cley Marshes, Norfolk

The extensive reed beds and lagoons here make this a wonderful place for birdwatching. A wide range of birds can be seen here, and you can find out more about the marshes at the visitor centre, run by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Campsites nearby include: Friary Farm Caravan Park, Amber's Bell Tent Camping, Highsand Creek Campsite, Foxhills Camping.

Shapwick & Meare Heaths, Somerset

Restoration efforts on the Somerset Levels have made them another wonderful place to watch the wildlife. This is a great place to see otters, and also to experience breathtaking starling murmurations. The Natural England Reserve is a great place to learn to appreciate the natural diversity of a wetland ecosystem.

Campsites nearby include: The Hideout, Lark Rise Caravan & Camping Park, Dragon Willows Farm,Castle Farm Campsite, Pine Tree Farm Caravan & Camping Park.

Wallasea Island Wild Coast, Essex

RSPB Wallasea Island is part of the largest conservation and engineering project in Europe. Here you can walk along the seawalls to see the saltmarsh, mudflats and lagoons which are a haven for birdlife, including huge flocks of waders and wildfowl which arrive in winter.

Campsites nearby include: Riverside Village Holiday Park

These are just some of the many fascinating wetland areas you can discover across the UK.