The Easter holidays are approaching, so why not come and explore beautiful Coombes Valley with the little ones?
We're running three wildlife arts and craft sessions called 'fairies, goblins, flowers and grubs'. Try pond dipping and bug hunting before having a go at making magical woodland creatures and their dwellings out of natural materials with help from local artist Meg. Look out for fairies and goblins hiding in the trees!
The sessions will run on 11, 13 and 20 April, from 1- 4 pm. They cost £5 per child, accompanying adult go free! Call the office on (01538) 384017 or email email@example.com to book your place.
And if you need inspiring to visit Coombes Valley, then take a look at these great photos by Kay, a travel and tourism student from Leek college who has been on work experience with us this week. Thanks for all your enthusiasm and hard work Kay!
Finally! Blue skies...
The first chiffchaff of the year was heard by the site manager on Monday. Their song is quite easy to spot, listen for "chiff chaff, chiff chaff, chiff chaff!" These migrants will be here until September when most head into France and then to the Mediterranean region, and some fly on to West Africa. They can be hard to spot as they flit through trees and shrubs, sometimes darting out to catch insects in the air.
A big thank you to all our volunteers who helped with the brashing and ride clearance over the winter. Hundreds of log piles were created, mountains of brash cleared and plenty of biscuits were devoured in the process. Clearing up felled trees can be a repetitive and tedious task, but with a group of enthusiastic and willing volunteers it was almost...fun! It's really satisfying to see the results of this work as we've opened up areas of the woodland. This will allow more light in for the benefit of wildflowers, insects and butterflies. We won't be doing any more brashing until autumn, as we don't want to disturb the birds and other wildlife during the breeding season.
Taking a well-earned break
Coombes sightings over the weekend include a grey wagtail hopping from rock to rock in the brook (thanks to Lisa for emailing this in) and several greater spotted woodpeckers who were heard drumming loudly. Listen out this amazing sound resonating through the valley. If you're not sure what to listen for, check out the bird song display in the visitor centre before heading out.