Spend time at nature reserve this Easter

Pond dipping by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com) SUS-140904-100034001
Pond dipping by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com) SUS-140904-100034001

The RSPB are calling on wild families in West Sussex to explore the wonderful nature reserve at Pulborough Brooks during the Easter holidays. What better way to put a spring in your step than spending time as a family, getting some fresh air and having some fun.

In the beautiful Arun Valley, nestled at the foot of the rolling South Downs, RSPB Pulborough Brooks is home to all kinds of wildlife. Just like the National Park itself, the habitats on the reserve are incredibly diverse and provide hundreds of homes for wildlife. As well as giving nature a home, the reserve is managed to ensure it is a great place to connect people with nature too. With facilities including a cosy café, play area, wildlife-watching hides, friendly volunteer guides and a busy events programme, a visit to Pulborough Brooks makes a wonderful day out.

Spring is a magical time to visit – birds are singing, blossom is blooming, bees are buzzing and butterflies are fluttering. Over the pools and wet meadows the lapwing is performing acrobatic aerial manoeuvres, calling ‘peewit, peewit’. Later on, look for the cute fluffy chicks that have to be up on their feet and running as soon as they hatch.

Anna Allum, RSPB Visitor officer says: “Creatures are beginning to stir in the murky depths of our ponds and you can get up close and personal with fierce dragonfly larvae, water boatmen and diving beetles. During the holidays our ‘pondemonium’ events are a firm favourite!”

Throughout the Easter holiday, you can take part in special events and activities and there are always seasonal spotting sheets and activity packs for families. As well as pond dipping sessions, you can go ‘wild in the woods’ where you can meet tree giants, build yourself a woodland den and listen to stories with the friendly RSPB helpers. Or, for budding artists, follow the poetry trail, make a wildlife mask and play hide and seek with the wildlife.

RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve is located off the A283 between Pulborough and Storrington. The pond dipping events take place on Saturday 05 April (between 2 pm and 4 pm) and on Sunday 20 April (between 11am and 1 pm).The Wild in the Woods event takes place on Wednesday 16 April and you can drop in between 2 pm and 4 pm. Hiding & Seeking will be held on Wednesday 09 April between 10.30 am – 1 pm. Charges apply to these events and more information can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/pulboroughbrooks.

Anna added: “We are taking part in the South Downs National Park ‘Discover more of the South Downs for less’ spring campaign and offering 2-for-1 entry to visitors who travel here via public transport. Travelling by bus or train can be part of the adventure, especially for children. Rather than keeping your eyes on the road you can enjoy the beautiful landscape or play I-spy on your way here.”

The South Downs is one of the South East’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting some 44 million visits every year, the vast majority by car. However, the amount of traffic within the National Park can threaten the very qualities that attract people in the first place, as well as causing congestion at some sites.

To encourage more visitors to travel by bus and train, 13 popular visitor centres, including ourselves, are offering 2-for-1 entrance fees for public transport users until the 30th April 2014. The attractions are located in different parts of the South Downs and are all accessible by public transport. Watch the campaign video at www.youtube.com/sdnpa and see the South Downs National Park come alive this spring.

Nick Stewart, South Downs National Park Authority Campaigns Manager said: “There is so much to see at this time of year as the South Downs bursts into life - lambs in the fields, butterflies emerging, trees and flowers blossoming on the roadside and the return of migrating birds like swallows and swifts. As well as enjoying the scenic views, bus and train passengers will leave a smaller carbon footprint on the countryside they love.”

For more information and for full terms & conditions, please visit www.southdowns.gov.uk/discover

For an enjoyable day out we always advise you to check the outward and return journey times of public transport before setting off. Compass travel www.compass-travel.co.uk run a bus service (route 100) with a request stop at the nature reserve entrance.

Report and picture contributed by RSPB Pulborough Brooks.