Wednesday, 17 February 2016


BBOWT have been running a Wild At Heart campaign during February, to highlight some of the many reasons to love local wildlife. One of the events was at College Lake this morning, so we decided to go along as the kids love it there, especially when there are extra crafts and trails to enjoy.

We headed straight down to the barn, where Bug Mad Girl got stuck into some papier mache. She was helping to make a lapwing head that would eventually be painted and stuck up on the wall of the barn. She was quite happy to be elbow deep in a bucket of glue !

Honest, it's a lapwing!
I helped Little Brother make some wings, which he flapped with pride for the rest of our visit. He received many compliments for his beautiful wings!

We looked at a selection of different birds nests and some skulls. There's something fascinating about bones and it was very interesting to look at the different types of beaks that each bird had.

Nests of all shapes and sizes
Curlew skull

Barn owl skull

Woodpecker skull
After we'd made all our crafts, we headed out to the wildlife garden and the woodland walk. The garden was full of beautiful snowdrops, as well as aconites and primroses.



We found some fantastic lichen growing in the woods. I believe this is called Pixie Cup Lichen, but I think it looks like the tees that golfers use to rest their ball on. Looked amazing anyway!

Pixie cups or golf tees?
We walked through the woods and the kids put on a quick play in the outdoor theatre. As we walked, the kids completed their Nature Challenge Trail sheets, which I'd printed out and brought with us. They had to use their senses to listen for birds singing, feel and describe different things and even close their eyes and see what they could smell. There were some interesting answers to that one! We made our way along to a couple of the hides to see what we could spot out on the lake.

The kids couldn't resist helping with the sightings board ...
The very rare orange winged monkey bird!
Some long-tailed tits were in the bushes right outside one of the hide, so we sat and watched them for a while. They really are the cutest little birds.

Long-tailed tit
We also spotted a hawthorn bush that not only has leaves, but is very nearly in flower. That's bonkers as it's only the middle of Feb and I don't think it should flower until the end of April. The mild weather really is making it a crazy winter this year.
Hawthorn not quite in flower, but very close
We headed back to the visitor centre and the kids handed in their completed Nature Challenge Trail sheets. There's going to be a prize draw from all the completes sheets, so fingers crossed.

While we were in the visitor centre, I spotted 'Spring' on sale. I fought off the urge to race around the centre waving it above my head, but how exciting to actually see it on sale.

I think we're already pretty wild at heart, but it was still another brilliant morning at College Lake.

You can find out more about the Wild At Heart campaign at


  1. Hooray, thanks so much for sharing your day at College Lake with us! Catherine and Claire, education team :)

  2. Thank you - we had a lovely morning!