Monday, 7 May 2012


Get your boots muddy this Easter at an RSPB nature reserve
Swap chocolate for the countryside this April

Looking for a low-cost, action packed outdoor adventure with the family this Easter? Then look no further than an RSPB nature reserve.
Packed with puffins, picnics and pond-dipping, RSPB reserves are about much more than just bird watching! Families can enjoy exploring some of the UK’s most beautiful and breathtaking locations, take part in all kinds of activities and finish their day off with some all important tea and cake!
Perhaps the best kept natural secret in the country, you can get your boots muddy, relax or get closer to nature with everything you could need for an incredible day out. Fun family events are taking place, so why not have a ‘wildlife experience' like spotting graceful deer, butterflies, dragonflies, hares and even sand lizards along with the hundreds of birds this Easter? The RSPB has over 200 nature reserves up and down the country meaning there’s bound to be one on your doorstep – from urban locations in major UK cities such as Rainham Marshes in London, to isolated locations like South Stack Cliffs in Anglesey.
After losing yourself in nature, relax at one of the visitor centres which are often open all year round and have picture windows enabling you to look out at the action from the comfort of a cozy chair, or enjoy a hot drink and snack at one of the reserve cafes.
There’s also plenty of opportunities to book a guided walk, or take the kids pond-dipping or nestbox-building whilst enjoying the incredible landscapes, ranging from big skies and grassy meadows in the Broads, to jaw-dropping mountain scenery in the Highlands.
Just head to to find out more.  Here we’ve picked out the top events and activities taking place this Easter.

Reserves & Easter activities

South East
Dungeness, Kent
Jutting into the English Channel, Dungeness is ideally placed to watch migrant birds and nothing can quite prepare you for the weird and wonderful landscape! The visitor centre serves hot drinks and refreshments and has incredible picture windows.
Did you know?
·         Dungeness is a great place for children to become 'wildlife detectives' and enjoy learning about nature
·         Borrow an Explorer Backpack which contain binoculars, bug viewers, wildlife guides and activity booklets for free
·         There are easy trails and hides throughout the reserve
Easter activities
·         Children’s birdwatching explore and make – Grab a pair of binoculars and watch the wildlife in the hides before making a bird model to take home!
·         Nestbox day - Make your own nestbox and get tips on encouraging nesting birds at home
·         Easter treasure trail – Grab an Easter trail sheet and follow the special clues to find a yummy Easter surprise
Free for RSPB members.  Non-members: £3 adult, £2 concessions, £1 under-16s, £6 family (up to 2 adults and 4 children)

Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex
Enjoy spotting the range of wildlife Britain has to offer at this beautiful location in the South Downs National Park. With events ranging from ‘Pondemonium’ where kids can get to know the creatures in the watery depths of the pond to playing ‘Wild Bingo’ there’s never a dull moment at this reserve.
Did you know?
·         Weasels and other mammals can be seen by those observing the grounds with a keen eye
·         Guests can make their own animal masks at the visitor centre
Easter activities
·         Wild Families – Take part in the wildlife challenge or play Wild Bingo as you explore the nature trail and see how much wildlife you can spot
·         Easter trails - over the Easter weekend (Good Friday to Easter Monday) try our fun Easter family trail – an eggstremely nice chocolate prize awaits you!
·         Pondemonium! – Wednesday 4 April, 10am – 12noon - Meet some of the wonderful creatures who lurk in the watery depths of the pond (with the help of a net)
Free entry for all to the Visitor Centre.  Nature trail entry free for RSPB members.  Non-members: £3.50 adults, £2.50 concessions, £1 children, £7 family (up to 2 adults and 4 children). Additional charges may apply to some events.

Rainham Marshes, Essex
Lying on the banks of the River Thames, these medieval marshes provide a wildlife paradise in an urban location.  Venture out onto the marshes, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the wildlife garden, take part in the family Easter activities or simply view the landscape from behind one of the many large picture windows in the visitor centre.
Did You Know?
·         The marshes were closed to the public for 100 years and used as a military firing range
·         An extensive boardwalk network across the marshes makes this an excellent location for those with a wheelchair or pushchair
Easter activities
·         Kids bird-watching club – Encourage your kids to cultivate their creativity and bring out their inner birdwatcher
·         Easter EGGStravaganza – follow the clues and collect a  prize in the annual Easter treasure hunt
·         The Sunday Stroll – Make new friends, learn about the various different wildlife on the reserve, and walk off that Sunday roast!
Car park: £1 voluntary donation.  Reserve free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock.  Non-members: £3 adults, £1.50 children, £9 family (up to 2 adults and 4 children)

Eastern England
The Lodge, Bedfordshire
A landscape of woodland, heath and grassland covering 180 hectares, the Lodge contains over five miles of trails as well as plenty of picnic areas for a bite to eat. Kids can follow the Easter trail, spotting pictures hidden in the woodland before collecting a Creme Egg as a reward!
Did you know?
·         The Lodge is a great place to see woodland species
·         The Lodge holds two ancient hill forts, dating back to the Iron Age
Easter activities
·         Easter hunt trail - Follow the Easter trail and spot all of the pictures hidden in the woodland, with a Creme Egg to collect
·         Birds 4 beginners - A guided walk aimed at those new to birdwatching
Free to anyone using non-motorised transport. Car parking free to RSPB members. Non-members: £4 per motor vehicle.

Minsmere, Suffolk
With all new facilities scheduled to open at Easter, there has never been a better time to visit Minsmere.  Discover Minsmere with your family as you explore the Wild Zone, or embark on your own Wild Wood Adventure. You can take advantage of the many guided walks and family activities and learn from their friendly and knowledgeable staff and volunteers.
Did You Know?
·         The brand new Wild Zone will enable children to take part in activities ranging from den building to mini beast hunting
·         Pick up an Explorer Backpack and choose your own tools to discover nature
·         The cafe offers a range of food using authentic Suffolk produce
·         The Wild Zone includes a child sized reedbed and giant Bittern nest, helping children experience firsthand what it’s like to be a nesting bird
Easter Activities
·       Easter Egg Hunt – Pop down to Minsmere from 6-9th April and enjoy fun family activities including face-painting, a quiz trail and, of course, an Easter egg hunt
Free to RSPB members.  Non-members: £7.50 adults, £5 concessions, £3 children, £15 family.

Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk
Titchwell Marsh is in a prime location on the north Norfolk coast, allowing visitors to take a stroll on the sandy beach and watch the wildlife unfold around them.  A ‘Feeding Station’ themed cafe sells a selection of hot and cold food, drinks and locally-made cakes and there are a number of activities taking place throughout the year.
Did You Know?
·         Kids and parents alike will love tucking into the wholesome grub on offer at Titchwell’s ‘Feeding Station’ themed cafe
·         Pond dipping is available for children during the summer holidays
Easter Activities
·         Spot-it! Families - try our free Spot-it! nature trail booklet and in this Olympic year receive a bronze, silver or gold badge and certificate depending what you spotted!
·         Titchwell’s Fabulous Wildlife – Take a walk on the wild side at Titchwell and get to know the amazing range of wildlife every Monday Wednesday and Friday. Booking essential.
Free to anyone using non-motorised transport. Use of facilities is free to RSPB members. Non-members: £4 per motor vehicle.

Conwy, Wales
Conwy has events to suit everyone, whether your interest is wildlife, history or art. A Farmer’s Market takes place every month and there are a number of family events taking place over Easter. The Waterside Coffee Shop overlooks the lagoon and serves delicious local produce. Situated on the banks of the Conwy estuary, the reserve has magnificent views of Snowdonia and Conwy Castle.
Did you know?
·         There are a network of pushchair-friendly trails with viewpoints and hides
·         Bird Bingo cards are available for free
·         RSPB's Wildlife Explorer's Group meets on the first Saturday of the month giving young people aged 8-12 years the chance to get outdoors and learn more about nature and the environment
Easter activities
·         Gardeners Market and specialist plant fair - A wide variety of plants for sale, along with expert advice on compost making, bee-friendly gardening and poultry keeping
·         Monthly Farmers Market – Browse farm and locally produced quality produce
·         Muddy Puddle Club – Help little ones discover nature with organised activities designed to get them outside, get their hands dirty and have lots of fun!
·         Easter Egg hunt – Follow clues and trails to discover a chocolate surprise
Free to RSPB members.  Non-members: £2.50 adults, £1.50 concessions, £1 children, £5 family.

South Stack Cliffs, Anglesey
Ever wondered what a nesting seabird colony is like, or wanted to see one at close range?  The cliff-top heathland of South Stack offers just this opportunity; the RSPB provide binoculars and telescopes so you and your family can truly get in touch with your inner adventurer.  If that’s not enough, at this reserve you can also witness ravens calling to each other during their spectacular tumbling displays.  If you train your eyes on the open sea you may spot porpoises and dolphins and if you look very carefully in the heath you might spot an adder.
Did You Know?
·         Ellins Tower visitor centre reopens for the new season 30th March 2012
·         South Stacks provides Wildsquare Bingo sheets to help families discover nature on the reserve
Easter Activites
·         Snake and Lizard Safari – spot these slithery creatures in the undergrowth at South Stack, and see your kids rewarded for their efforts with their own special goody bag
·         Stunning Spring Guided Walk – Marvel at the wonders of the reserve then return to the cafe for complementary tea and cake
Free access; fees apply to events and booking advised.  Donations welcomed.

Newport Wetlands, Wales
A haven for wildlife on the edge of Newport, the wetlands has a new RSPB visitor centre, a cafe, shop and children's play area. Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. There are spectacular views of the Severn Estuary that can be seen all year round.
Did you know?
·         Children will find the outdoor children's activity area with its 4m high simulation of the East Usk Lighthouse very enjoyable
·         See the little owls in their favoured spot or watch marsh harriers quartering the reedbed
Easter Activites
·         Easter Egg-stravaganza - Follow the egg-cellent map to solve the egg-citing puzzle and win a chocolate treasure
·         Mini Beast Mania - Discover all about the weird and wonderful world of bugs and help us find which mini beasts lurk in the woodland and reed beds
·         Wild About Art - A bird-themed afternoon of art where kids can find out which birds live on the reserve and create their own colourful masterpiece
Free to all.

Northern England
Old Moor, Dearne Valley, South Yorkshire
Situated right in the heart of Dearne Valley, the grasslands of Old Moor are teeming with wildlife.  A trip to this reserve proves a great day out for both young and old, with regular events and activities, a Kids Go Wild adventure playground, a developed Bird Garden and home-cooked food on offer from the Gannets cafe.
Did You Know?
·         Dearne Valley is an important stopping-off point for ducks and geese in the winter months
·         Old Moor has 6 hide-outs and 2 viewing platforms within its grounds to make sure you won’t miss that sought-after wildlife spot
·         Self guided pond dipping and crafts are available throughout the year
Easter Activities
·         Saturday Morning Cycle Tours – A novel and active way to see the best of what Old Moor has to offer
·         Tuesday Tales – Enjoy a magical tale about nature, as told by a professional local storyteller
·         Wild Wednesday – Enjoy pond dipping and Easter crafts such as egg painting
·         Easter Egg hunt – A number of Easter Egg hunts will be taking place on Easter Sunday
Free to RSPB members and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council 'Passport to Leisure' and 'Rothercard' cardholders.  Non-members: £4 adults, £2.50 concessions, £2 children, £8 family.

Saltholme, Middlesbrough
The adventures available for kids are endless at Saltholme; they can go pond-dipping, try out one of the many hands-on activities or splodge their way through the new welly splash.  If you are looking for something a bit more peaceful, seek out a bench in the tranquil wildlife garden or venture to the far reaches of the reserve for some quiet time with nature.
If you’re in search of a real wildlife ‘wow’ factor, ask to be taken to the best spots to see boxing brown hares this March and April.
Did You Know?                                          
·         The walled wildlife garden was designed by celebrity gardener Chris Beardshaw
·         Saltholme’s flock of Shetlands have their newly born lambs – look out for the strange patterns on their wool, some of them look like pandas!
Easter Activities
·         Watering can safari – set off with your watering can and help keep Saltholme wet. An activity for the whole family
·         Meadow patch planting – help us to plant a wildflower meadow.  Pick up a planting kit and get digging for wildlife
·         Dig this competition trail – follow the trail and find the clues to enter Saltholme’s prize competition.
Free to anyone using non-motorised transport.  Entry £3 per car, £1.50 for motorcycles. £10 all-inclusive family ticket.  Free to RSPB members.

Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire
One of the few wetlands left in west Scotland, there are daily activities including pond dipping and bug hunting (April to October) along with a Monthly Wildlife Challenge and Bird Bingo! Pop into the visitor centre for a light snack or a browse in the shop.
Did you know?
·         The treetop tower has indoor games and activities
·         Keep a look out for otters on site
·         Free entry for those travelling by 'green' transport
Easter Activities
·         Easter EGGStravaganza – plenty of wildlife-themed Easter activities for children of all ages will be taking place over Easter, including egg decorating, a treasure hunt and face painting
·         Scavenger Hunt - the reserve’s biggest ever scavenger hunt will also be taking place
·         Stargazing for beginners - experience the reserve in a very different way as you look up towards the sky
Free entry to Visitor Centre, viewing area and shop.  Free admission to nature trails for RSPB members and those travelling by ‘green’ transport (complementary hot drink to those visiting by bike).  Non-members: £2 adults, £1 concessions, 50p children, £4 family.

Loch Leven, Perth & Kinross
Loch Leven is a must-visit destination for all adventurous families.  If you’re feeling particularly active, tackle the steep trail up to the top of Vane Hill – and be rewarded with a fantastic view out over the reserve.  Alternatively, make use of the Observation Room in the visitor centre, or even take a virtual tour around Loch Leven with special interactive CCTV cameras.
Did You Know?
·         If you keep your eyes peeled you might be able to spot a woodpecker!
·         Guests can hire binoculars at the visitor centre
Easter Activities
·         ‘Deadly 6’ events – complete the activities – including pond dipping and minibeast safaris – in your bid to be crowned a Deadly Detective
Free to RSPB and Wildlife Explorer members.  Non-members: £5 adults, £3 concessions, £1 children, £10 family.

Northern Ireland
Rathlin Island, County Antrim
There is a special, unspoilt beauty to this reserve just off Antrim’s Causeway Coast making it a must-see for all nature lovers.  The adventure starts with the ferry ride over, during which you might spot gannets, gulls and even dolphins.  Once on the island you can get up close and personal with the smells and sounds of Northern
Ireland’s biggest seabird colony at the Seabird Centre, or take a walk along the Roonivoolin trail at the south of the island.
Did You Know?
·         Recent changes to farming practices have resulted in drastic declines in many species of bird, so donations are needed at this reserve more than ever to fund the conservation effort
·         Take advantage of their child friendly assisted telescope viewing to ensure the best sightings
Free to all.  Donations welcomed.

For more information regarding any of the above activities or for details on pricing please visit

No comments: