Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust

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Wild at Heart
Reproduced by kind permission of the Countryman magazine


Steve showed me the various projects on hand. The entrance lane, diving deep into the valley, is full of plants providing food and habitats - an initial introduction to the ethos of the place. To children, many of whom expect to see monkeys in the trees because all their nature experience comes from television, information about the deer, foxes , badgers and birds forming part of Offwell's wild life is enlightening and exciting.
After seeing the area of regenerating heathland on which different management techniques are being trialled, we visited the beech walk - then on through conifer woodland to see the aquatic habitats which were once a boating lake in the Coplestons' time. Where Victorian rowing boats once dallied, these are now wetlands, composing marsh, swamp and deep water habitats with their varying attendant plants.
Leaving the ponds, we went to the Lake Classroom which is a vital part of the Centre for visiting schoolchildren. Here essential information is given to help them start pond dipping. This is where Amy and her friends probably met the first wonders of the day when their nets produced mini-beasts - caddis-fly larva, daphnia, the larva of the
 great diving beetle - small creatures living in an underwater world about which they knew nothing.
But now they understand the magical concept that some of these strange creatures will grow wings and fly around.
On these school visits Centre staff have digital cameras at the ready, recording small faces lighting up with amazement and wonder. These images are at once transferred to a CD packed with information, pictures, puzzles, quizzes and other delights, which goes to the children's school next day.


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