It’s Half Term here!
On Monday we took a drive across the Preseli Mountains (OK technically the Preseli Hills!) over to the Pembrokeshire Wildlife Centre.
First off, I love the journey there, passing wild horses, sheep (lots of sheep!) baby lambs, wild rolling moors, blue stone, burial chambers… it is such a special place. I’m sure we’ll be visiting there at the weekends during the upcoming few weeks, as the kids love to play in the snow, that is soon to appear.
We briefly left Pembrokeshire, entered the county of Ceredigion, then we left Ceredigion and reentered Pembrokeshire to make our way to the Wildlife Centre. Mum actually went a different way travelling home which meant she also entered Carmarthenshire, so for her our day trip meant crossing three counties in one day!
The Welsh Wildlife Centre is based in the stunning Teifi Marsh Nature Reserve. We arrived, paid £3 to park and started off on the “Explorer Trail”, this took us to a large picnic table overlooking the River Teifi. It was a lovely spot.
We had our bird books and binoculars ready as we picnicked!
While a Robin, “people watched” us!
Pembrokeshire Wildlife Centre includes a wide variety of habitats including the river, ponds, reed beds, wet and dry woodlands and dry meadows. This variety means you can see everything from birds and dragonflies to otters and even water buffalo!
This photo is from www.first-nature.com
I was surprised to hear that there were Water Buffalo living in Pembrokeshire. I found out that they were re-introduced in 2009 and they help maintain the habitat. They were first introduced in 2000, but I’m not sure what happened in between these years.
We then visited the Glass House to buy our tickets for the Owl Experience. The Glass house offers shelter if it is raining and a cafe for lunch or a coffee. We didn’t make use of this facility, but the kids did like what I will call the Education Room.
They enjoyed colouring in nature pictures.
Learning about badgers, the West Wales Wildife Trust are currently running a “Say No to the Badger Cull Campaign”, which of course has been in the news a lot recently.
Caitlyn enjoyed playing with the interactive displays, varying from learning about habitat to how different species evolved over time.
Danny, I think he was learning what food different wildlife eat.
Then we went to the play area. I loved these wood carvings and sculptures. They are made by a very talented man (who is also a Professional Video Maker), David Welton at Animality.
Dave has recently been tutoring me on a video making course, so it was a surprise to see some of his work here,
Both mum and I would love these leaf benches in our garden!
The slides were also great fun, there were three layers of them!
Caitlyn loved balancing and climbing.
Then, it was time for the Owl Experience. Here is Caitlyn waiting with Cerys.
Then Cerys sat with Rebecca. It was a coincidence that both my daughters and my niece ended up all wearing stripes!
Danny amused himself playing with the sticks and stones while he waited…I know what to get him for Christmas!
The people running the owl experience were great. They had lots of personality and enthusiasm. Here is the pretend owl that the children all got to feed to learn about what food owls like best. He preferred the mice of course!
Then, the real owls came out. We were taught a few things about each owl and allowed to stroke them.
Then, children and adults who wanted to got a chance to “fly” the Barn and Tawny Owls. Rebecca and Danny both volunteered. I have lovely photos of them doing this, but they are floating in space in between my phone and laptop at the moment!
Then, the bigger kids and adults took turns at flying the Eagle Owl. What a sight he was when his wings were open. Amazing! He was very nervous though as someone once burst a balloon by him, and he has found it hard to trust us humans since.
They explained to us that owls are very hard to keep as pets. I remember a few years ago, there was an increase in owls being bought to rescue centres, as they had become a popular pet due to Hedwig in Harry Potter, but of course they were harder to look after than people expected.
Danny loves owls. I love seeing owls in the wild, but I wouldn’t even think of buying one for him. They did advise, if people were really serious about getting one, to go on a course first. You would also need a lot of space, wouldn’t you?
The kids loved meeting the owls and learnt lots about them. The only thing we didn’t do was look at owl pellets, but I’ll let the kids explore pellets from the woods one day (I’ll make sure they wear gloves/wash hands after!).
On the journey home, I stopped on the Preseli’s. The girls were sleeping, so we couldn’t go for a walk, we just got out and stared at the hills around us.
I needed that fresh air to clear my head!
It was a lovely day and I’m definitely going to be visiting Pembrokeshire Wildlife Centre again, I’ll also look out for the events that are held there, as we loved the Owl Experience. An amazing place to visit for £3. Parking is free if you are a member. Family membership is £40 for the year, so I’m hoping to buy that after Christmas. Membership includes:
- Access to all of our nature reserves including Free landing fees at the fantastic Skomer Island, Free parking and entry to Dinefwr Castle and Free parking at the Welsh Wildlife Centre at Cilgerran.
- Early booking for volunteer places and accommodation at Skomer Island.
- Three issues of Welsh Wildlife, our inspiring local magazine, full of the latest news, features and photographs from the Wildlife Trusts in Wales.
- Three issues of The Natural World, The UK wide magazine featuring articles detailing essential conservation work, campaigns and photographs from across the British Isles.
- A welcome pack containing a guide to our reserves, an events guide, a local newsletter detailing progress on our recent work, magazines and a car sticker.
- A free monthly e-newsletter.
I love Skomer Island!
and for the kids:
- Wildlife Watch magazine four times per year, containing lots of colourful photo’s, activities, games and a wall poster in each issue.
- A starter pack containing the Wildlife Watcher’s handbook, a membership card, a sticker sheet, badge and poster.
- Access to the Wildlife Watch website with games, competitions, downloads and the ‘Badger’s Blog’.
- An email newsletter for children full of activities for the younger naturalist.
Danny and Rebecca will love the magazine and website and the younger girls will love the days out!
I’ll let you know about our Halloween in our next post!
PS. Isabelle was with us! Her photos are also inbetween the phone and laptop!