Kent Wildlife Trust; Events getting you closer to nature this Spring

There’s no doubting the fact that we are a family of wildlife lovers. Always looking for an opportunity to get outdoors and experience a little bit of Kent’s finest green spaces, we have talked about visiting Kent Wildlife Trust’s headquarters, Tyland Barn several times, but never quite got round to it (because has it EVER stopped raining?!).

This Easter half term, whilst Tigs school made a head start on the breaking up, we finally made it over to Maidstone to visit Tyland Barn and see what it has on offer for young visitors and families. It is, as Tigs pointed out, not in Thailand.

Sadly, the weather wasn’t on our side for our planned visit, but having been rained off far too many times before we donned our waterproofs and set off regardless – after all, what is a Nature visit if not experienced in all weathers?!

On arrival, we parked up (free – bonus) and made our way towards the visitor centre. General admission is also free; a rarity on school holidays days out! Of course the whole premise of Kent Wildlife Trust is to protect and provide wildlife habitats, and as a conservation organisation, if you visit it’s so important to support the centre in any way you can. Donation boxes are dotted around, as are pin badges for sale and so forth, so whilst visiting is free,  running the place for our pleasure isn’t. That’s a nudge to take some donation pennies guys.

 

Tyland Barn is the headquarters of the Kent Wildlife Trust and is centred around a gorgeous restored 17th century barn. The visitors centre is open daily from April through to October and as well as having clean facilities for families (toilets, baby changing room, picnic areas) there is also a lovely cafe with lovely people serving hot drinks, local juices and freshly prepared food. And, of course a gift shop selling all things wildlife, including stuffed animals, bird feeders, wildlife gifts and cards.

The visitors centre has a somewhat unusual element; an art gallery section, showing local artists work on rotation throughout the spring and summer.

Talking of artwork, the children made some of their own in the uber child friendly craft zone, so you can have a coffee in peace whilst the children take in all the information, read books and get creative themselves. There is so much to look at for children in the visitors centre – and for adults to. With a vast display of local information to take in, you can plan a country walk (from Tyland Barn – you could leave your car here), read about conservation projects in your area, admire the art or just take a moment of peace to yourself with a spot of lunch. The barn itself is a glorious building, with high beams restored to their original beauty, and finished off with stained glass and modern touches to allow you to see how the Barn works today.

Of course the real magic at the Nature reserve lies outside, and we spent a bit of time in the downpour touring everything the site has to offer.

The reserve really reflects Kent and it’s rural history and culture, with different sections for different parts of the county; A coastal area, chalk mound and display of kentish rocks. There is plenty of sheltered areas to picnic or take a rest, or to play and learn.

An adjacent cottage garden is also now property of KWT and it’s garden will be open during an upcoming event – see details below. The huge pond has accessible decks for pond dipping, something you can try this Spring at a family event, and I’m told the water is teeming with life – we saw masses of frogspawn and a newt too.

Walking around the site we got hands on with the minibeast areas, and admired the huge bughouses. There are vast areas of wild meadow, and also willow hides to pause for a rest or watch the birds feeding from the feeders.

Much like our own garden, we probably didn’t see Tyland Barn at it’s best this soggy March day, and I’m sure it is just about to burst into life. Our tour guide described how the wetland grasses and meadow flowers will be reaching high into the sky in a few months, and it’s something we’ll definitely be heading back to see.

Handy to know that there is also a play area which was closed on our visit, much to the kids disappointment, but it was just too soggy! On a drier day the girls would have loved running in and out of the hides at ‘Camp Wild’ an area dedicated to letting the children run around and let off steam.

There really is so much to see and do at Tyland Barn – and I can’t wait to see it change with the seasons, now I know how to find it we’ll definitely be regular visitors. Dad muddling through will definitely need to come and see it too, and I’m sure the seasonal plants for sale don’t stand a chance…

 

If you aren’t close to Maidstone, there are also Kent Wildlife Trust Sites at Sevenoakes and Romney Marsh. They too offer visitor centres with facilities and a cafe, and with a different landscape have many of their own unique wildlife treasures to offer.

SEVENOAKS WILDLIFE RESERVE is a pioneering nature reserve with five lakes and is a spectacular site for bird watching or walking through woodland areas to discover a variety of wildlife.  Inside the visitor centre children can learn about the history of the reserve and use the touch tables to discover all sorts of ‘treasures’ including birds’ nests, feathers and 30,000 year-old mammoth teeth!

ROMNEY MARSH visitor centre is an eco-friendly building with many interesting and sustainable features and fascinating displays to learn about Romney Marsh’s unique landscape and heritage plus an art gallery with exhibitions by local artists.  Outside go for a walk along the boardwalk past seasonal ponds with beautiful views across Romney Marsh and discover what a ‘Lookers Hut‘ was used for.

Visiting Kent Wildlife Trust could certainly be a day out for the family; with SO many family events running over the holiday periods, you could take part in an event, have a scrummy lunch (or bring a picnic) and still have time to play and enjoy the scenery. All the events are bookable via the website www.kentwildlifetrust.org – make sure you keep your eyes peeled on their social media channels too.

Twitter: @KentWildlife

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KentWildlife

Instagram: @KentWildlife

You can also pick up a current ‘Whats On’ pamphlet inside all the visitors centres.

By supporting these paid events, you are truly giving back to our wonderful county and it’s natural inhabitants. The Kent Wildlife Trust is a charity, and the investment into your holiday activities will support ongoing conservation projects, whilst of course, raising your own future conservationists too, and what could be more important for our habitats future than that.

x MMT

 

UPCOMING EVENTS AT THE KENT WILDLIFE TRUST

EASTER TRAILS

30th March – 2nd April – Anytime between 11am-3pm each day

Romney Marsh visitor centre

Join in our fun wildlife themed Easter trail at Romney Marsh visitor center.  Help Romney Rainbow Sheep to find the clues around the gardens and grounds then claim your chocolate prize at the end.  The trail is available from Good Friday to Easter Monday, 11am – 3p each day.

£5 per child.  For information or to book online go to www.kentwildlife.org.uk

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Join us at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve for a wildlife themed Easter trail.  Find the clues along the Kingfisher Trail then claim your chocolate prize at the end.  The trail will be available from Good Friday to Easter Monday

£5 per child.  For information or to book online go to www.kentwildlife.org.uk

Tyland Barn visitor centre

Come to Tyland Barn and join in our fun wildlife themed Easter ‘Snail’ trail.  Find the snails around the nature park and answer the questions then claim your chocolate prize at the end.  The trail will be available from Good Friday to Easter Monday

£5 per child.  Book online at www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

DISCOVER COLLAGE  

4th April –  from 10.30am

Tyland Barn visitor centre

Collage workshops are fun for all ages; a pile of magazines, a pot of glue, canvas, scissors and a picture to work from.  There will be a short talk and demo to help you on your way.  Be prepared for an enjoyable & creative time.  Each child will make their own picture to take home.  All materials will be supplied

£7 per child.  Book online at www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

DISCOVER BUGS AT THE BUG ROAD SHOW 

Thursday 5th April  – from 10.30am

Romney Marsh visitor centre

Hug a bug or two at this great experience for all the family!  Come and meet the amazing giant tropical bugs from the Bug Road show, see and handle giant millipedes, stick insects, katydids, cockroaches, leaf insects and giant moths to name but a few and discover lots of facts about them.  There will be an opportunity to hold some of the creatures and to ask lots of questions.

£6 per person (adult and children).  For information or to book online go to www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

DISCOVER FOREST SKILL CRAFTS 

Friday 6th April -10.30am-12pm

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Join this fun outdoor event will be led by one of our Forest School team.  Have a go at some woodland crafts including willow weaving and make something to take home.  There will also be a trail through the woods.

This event is suitable for children age 5+ and adults.  Tickets should be purchased for anyone taking part in the craft activity.

£6 per person.  For information or to book online go to www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

DISCOVER FOREST SKILLS – FIRES 

Friday 6th April – 1-4pm

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Spend an afternoon in the woods with one of our forest school team learning bushcraft activities. Discover ways to have fun outdoors as a family, making a fire and lighting fires without matches.  Finish the afternoon off by toasting marshmallows on the fire whilst enjoying a hot chocolate drink

£15 per person.  For information or to book online go to www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

 DISCOVER POND DIPPING 

11th April – 1 hour sessions start at 10.30am

Tyland Barn visitor centre

Join Kent Wildlife Trust for a great family event – a one hour pond dipping session to find and catch a variety of pond life, then get up close and view them through a microscope and identify what you have found (every participant will get a spotter sheet to take home).

£15 group ticket.  Each group ticket is for up to 5 people (max 2 adults and min 1 adult per group).  Booking essential.  Book online at www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

DISCOVER NATURAL CRAFTS  

Thursday 12th April From 10.30am

Romney Marsh visitor centre

A great creative event for families and a chance to explore the local heritage of Romney Marsh; children will have the opportunity to have a go at variety of natural crafts such as felt making and willow weaving and create something to take home.  They can also participate in a community collage activity. All materials will be provided.   Some of this event will be outside so please wear appropriate weather depending on the weather.

£6 per child.  For information or to book online go to www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

DISCOVER the GRUFFALO 

Friday 13th April- 11am-12.30pm or 1.30-3pm

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

After the success of our Discover Stick Man events we would like to announce our new Discover Gruffalo event.

Come along to hear the story in our special story telling area then participate in Gruffalo themed crafts, trails and fun!

£6 per child age 2+ .  For information or to book online go to www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

OPEN GARDENS

Sunday 6th May

Learn about wildlife gardening and tour the cottage gardens alongside our Wild about gardening team.

£5 per adult / children free.  For information or to book online go to www.kentwildlife.org.uk

 

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

 

 

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