*This is a collaborative post
Earlier in the year we visited Kielder Water and Forest Park to follow their Gruffalo Spotter's trail, where an augmented reality app for a phone or tablet brings the characters from The Gruffalo to life on your screen. You can read about our trip here. We are planning to return again soon, but this time we'll be on the hunt for the real versions!
This year Kielder have launched Wild at Kielder to encourage families to explore the park and highlights all of the wild and wonderful animals, birds, insects and plants that call Kielder Forest and Water home.
Kielder Water and Forest Park is perfect for any wildlife loving kids, as it is packed full of animals. The last time that we visited we saw three deer running across the road. The closest my kids come to deer normally is on a trip to one of the bigger local farms, so it was amazing to see the wild animals in their natural habitat.
All of the animals from The Gruffalo really live in the park, so if you were waiting for the warmer weather to try out the fab Gruffalo spotters app, then whilst you are visiting you could look for any signs of real life foxes, owls, snakes and mice. As yet no one has found any living purple spotted prickly backed animals yet, but there are lots of other habitants to look out for like toads, bunnies, squirrels and lots of insects. Recently water voles have been released back into the park. They are super cute and are on the decline in many parts of the country, so they definitely deserve top marks if anyone spots one of those.
If you are on the hunt for wildlife then a great place to start is the wildlife garden at Kielder Waterside which is a raised pond, a bog (don't forget the wellies) and a nest box demonstration area. Adders, butterflies, stoats and amphibians inhabit the garden, so there is lots to see.
Kielder for Kids
If you are more of the David Attenborough than the kids, then Kielder is a brilliant place to keep everyone in the family happy. It has so much to offer kids. There is a decent sized play park and a minotaur maze to get lost in near to the Kielder Castle visitor's centre . The excellent Gruffalo Spotters trail with 5 augmented reality spots, plus a large Gruffalo and Gruffalo's Child wooden sculpture and the chance to do tasks and answer questions in the activity pack. And new for 2017 the Pete's Dragon Activity Pack packed full of information about den building which can be downloaded for free using that link.
As part of WIld at Kielder geocaches have been placed around the Park. Geocashes are objects which have been hidden in the forest, and using GPS it is your job to find the. Local bloggers Here Come The Hoopers have some great information on geocaching so check our their site, and download details of the Kielder geocaches to your phone before you visit at www.geocaching.com
Kielder Winter Wonderland Competition
Whilst the kids are busy, you can work on being a Christmas Hero (I apologise for saying the C word in June, but when you hear what is on offer then I think you will forgive me). Wild at Kielder is running a competition that is perfect for families. #Wildatkielder photography Competition is your chance to win tickets for Kielder Winter Wonderland . That's right. This not a drill. Actual free tickets for a family of four to go to the Winter Wonderland, which always gets excellent reviews as a really special Christmas day out. These tickets often sell out, and can set you back over £100 for a family of four (based on my poor memory of checking last year - this year's ticket prices haven't been released yet) so this is such a great prize.
To be in with a chance of winning snap a photo of something WILD at Kielder this summer and share it on social media using #wildatkielder. Your pic can be of anything that you spot while you are exploring; that could be an animal, plant, bird or even an insect. The deadline is 12pm on Friday 1st September 2017.
Hopefully from this post you already have a good idea of the vast amount of wildlife living at Kielder, so there are lots of opportunities to snap a great photo. If you were looking to get even closer to the animals, using expert knowledge, then there are a number of WILD events on offer at Kielder.
- Dates are available in June, July and August (check the link as there are too many to list) for this FREE workshop. Observe the beautiful Kielder ospreys close up through a live camera feed and even spot the birds on their nest using high powered telescopes. Trained volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
- 12 July 2017 - Visit a local mire and find out about carbon-capture. We will extract a peat core and go back 12,000 years. Search out the elusive carnivorous sundew.
- 7 August 2017 - Search for red squirrels and discover their way of life in a changing world. Join professional naturalist, Bruce Ferguson, to track down one of Britain’s best loved animals, the red squirrel. £5 per ticket or £15 for family ticket
What animals have you spotted at Kielder? Do you have any tips for families visiting the park? If so leave us a comment. We love comments.
Disclosure Policy - This post was written in collaboration with Kielder Water and Forest Park. See the about us section of this website for the full corporate speak disclosure policy.