Exploring our wetlands in the rain

While the wet weather can be a little off-putting, our wetlands are perfect for a rainy day adventure!

With lots of things to see, smell and listen out for, there's so much to explore in our woodlands and wetlands - and you can guarantee it will be very quiet so you can enjoy much of the outdoor space to yourself! So if you're planning a visit and the heavens open, see it as an opportunity...

Here's some fun 'rainy day' activities to try while you're here...

  • Watch our cheeky Asian short-clawed otter family as they swim and play. These entertaining animals can regularly be seen enjoying a mooch in the rain before heading to dry out in the warmth of their holt.
  • Damp days are the perfect time to see a range of insects. Venture into North Wood or Hollowood and see if you can spot any hard-shelled woodlice (did you know they shed their skin as they grow!?), leggy millipedes, wriggly earthworms or slimy slugs on your travels.
  • Our reedbed shelter has a gorgeous view towards Penshaw Monument, but there's also lots to hear around there too. Listening ears on for moorhen, mallard and coot amongst the reeds.RS29551_WWT_150204_1973.jpg
  • There are still families of young birds to be seen around site - can you spot any juvenile moorhen, mallard ducklings or greylag goslings?
  • Spring Gill wood has lots of different flowers and plants around the path edges, offering the opportunity to go on a flower hunting expedition! See if you can find three different flowers and ID them.
  • Wader Lake is a great place to shelter from the rain, with a choice of waterside hides. Hunker down and enjoy easy views of a range of wading birds including lapwing, common tern (with chicks!), black-headed gull, shelduck, moorhen and red-listed black-tailed godwit.
  • Our amphibian ponds are a fab spot to explore during wet weather. Amphibians are often on the move, so be on the lookout for toads, frogs and newts as they go about their journeys - remembering not to touch or move these delicate creatures!
  • Our dragonfly ponds are full of life and the rain doesn't deter these cool creatures. See pond skaters and water spiders just on the water's surface, while water boatman and daphnia (water fleas) swim just below.
  • Try your hand at photography, looking for ripples in the water and reflections that give your work an edge (and share these with us please... we'd love to see them!)
  • Make some natural art - this could be using leaves and sticks to make shapes and patterns or adding leaves to puddles and making them dance - the natural world (and your creativity) is all you need!

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  • And of course, everyone's favourite rainy day activity... throw on your wellies and see who can make the biggest splash! Then warm up with a well-earned brew or tasty hot chocolate from our cafe before you head home.

So when the weather gives you rain, splash in puddles!