Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The bison are here...
Wildwood is proud to announce the arrival of our newest animals; 3 European bison.
The European bison is the largest terrestrial mammal ever to live in Britain and were native throughout Europe before being made extinct in the wild in the 1920’s.
Wildwood’s head keeper, Paul Wirdnam, who has several years experience of looking after bison said “it’s fantastic to have these magnificent creatures at Wildwood. Many people don’t realise that animals of this size used to live in the UK, but now they have the chance to see them for themselves.”
Bison are the largest animals ever to be kept at Wildwood and at up to 2m tall and weighing up to 1000kg; their arrival has posed some challenges for the keeper and ranger teams.
Keeper Paul said “Despite their large size, bison are very agile and can be quite wilful animals, so we have had to specially design their enclosure to give them plenty of space and a natural habitat whilst allowing safe access for staff and a good viewing area for visitors”.
The specially designed paddock and log-cabin style enclosure has been built by the Wildwood ranger team and volunteers to allow visitors to see these amazing creatures in a natural setting.
Bison are just one of the huge range of British animals that can be seen at Wildwood; the ideal day out for all the family where you can come 'nose to nose' with British Wildlife

Monday, 1 November 2010

Wildwood e-news November 2010
1.  NEW! - Bison at Wildwood
2.  Wildwood on BBC Country Tracks - this Sunday
3.  Free Wednesday wellie walk
4.  Wildwood Christmas Gifts
5.  Christmas trees
6.  Wildwood water voles win photo award
7.  Winter opening hours
8.  Play park re-development
9.  Items needed – can you help?
10.Jobs at Wildwood - Restaurant manager
1. NEW – Bison at Wildwood
Feeding baby dormice film

Be the first to see Wildwood’s European bison, our newest animals. The 3 bison arrived this week and have quickly settled into their new home.
The European Bison, or Wisent, is the largest terrestrial animal in Europe and once roamed from southern Britain as far as Russia but became extinct in the wild in 1927 when the last wild bison was shot and killed.
At up to 2m tall and almost 3m in length, the bison are Wildwood’s largest animals. Despite their large size and usual slow movements, bison are surprisingly agile and can jump over a 3m stream from a standing position! An adult male can eat an astonishing 32kg of food every day!
Being so large, the Bison are easy to spot in their enclosure, so be sure to come up and visit soon to get a good look at this magnificent animal.

2. Wildwood on BBC’s Country Tracks – Sunday at 11.00am
Feeding baby dormice film

Wildwood will be on TV again this weekend, when Country Tracks comes to Kent. Don’t forget to tune into Country Tracks on BBC1 at 11.00am on Sunday to see the Wildwood beavers and an interview with keeper Simon Nash.

3. FREE Wellie walk – every Wednesday

Brighten up your autumn days with our new wellie walk every Wednesday during term time. Meet outside the restaurant at 1.30pm for a 1-hour guided walk around the park. Every week there will be a different activity such as gathering autumn leaves, bug hunts and meet an animal sessions.
The wellie walk is a free event (membership or entry fees to the park must be paid).
(Love the boots? They are available in the Wildwood shop!)

4. Wildwood Christmas Gifts

Stuck for that perfect gift idea? Wildwood adoptions and photo days make the perfect present:

Animal adoptions
An animal adoption is a great gift for any animal lover as well as helping to support Wildwood’s conservation work. Choose from animal adoption bags for kids or postal adoption packs for adults. Prices start from just £25 with over 20 animals to choose from.
Visit or call Pat or Sharon on 01227 712111 to give someone their favourite animal this Christmas.

Photo Days  
A unique experience for novice and more experienced photographers alike. Enjoy exclusive access around the park to take close-up photos of our animals, with our resident photographer Dave Butcher on hand to give help and advice on how to get those special shots. A range of different animals will be photographed across the day, with animal feeds for the more elusive animals to help you get close up shots. Days run from 10:30am - 12:30pm and 1:30pm - 4pm with an hour for lunch (make use of our restaurant or bring a packed lunch). Max 10 persons per day.

Cost: £75 per person, which includes entry to the park. To book call 01227 712 111 Gift vouchers available.

5. Christmas trees at Wildwood – On Sale 9th December

Wildwood will have Christmas trees for sale again this year. Don't forget to get your real tree from the Wildwood Shop from 9th December.

6. Water voles star in British Wildlife Photography Awards
Feeding baby dormice film

Wildwood’s pioneering work to save the water vole has been featured in a winning entry in the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2010.

The 2020VISION Special Award for conservation photography has been won by Terry Whittaker for his photographs documenting Wildwood’s water vole conservation work. The award is part of the British Wildlife Photography Awards and is their most ambitious conservation initiative to date with twenty of the UK’s top nature photographers submitting portfolios of photographs that illustrate topical UK conservation stories or themes.

Terry’s collection, titled “Water Vole re-introduction scheme”, showcases the behind-the-scenes work of Wildwood’s conservation experts. 

As part of the mandatory mitigation process for new development projects in Kent, all water voles living in habitats that are due to be destroyed or disturbed are re-homed at Wildwood. These are then bred and their offspring are released into habitats in Kent and south east England, or back to their original site at a later date. Hazel Ryan, Wildwood’s Senior Conservation Officer, said “It’s a very real possibility that the water vole could face extinction in the south east without our help. Although the day-to-day work involved in conservation is generally not the most glamorous, the photos are beautiful and it’s wonderful that our project is associated with such a prestigious award”

You can find more information on the awards at

7. New winter opening hours

As the nights draw in our opening hours have been adjusted. The park is now open from 10am to 4pm; last admission is at 3pm.

8. Play park re-development
Please note that our adventure play zone is now closed until Easter 2011 for major re-development work. The under-5’s play area is unaffected. Keep an eye on our website for news of our fantastic new-look play zone.

9. Wanted – can you help?
Laptops – We need laptops less than 5 years old for our staff to use around the park and when out and about.
Televisions – We need flat screen TVs to display information and videos about the park and our conservation work.
Ferrero Rocher boxes – A yummy Christmas favourite, but we like to fill the empty boxes with educational exhibits to show to children.

10. Jobs at Wildwood - Restaurant Manager
Job Title:                   Restaurant Manager
Function:                   Run the Beaver Lodge Restaurant at Wildwood
Salary:                      £15,730 to £21,800 (+ 9% pension & other benefits)
Responsible for:         Restaurant assistants, Seasonal and casual staff

We are looking for a hands-on Restaurant Manager to run the Beaver Lodge restaurant, an attractive log cabin style building situated at the heart of the Wildwood woodland discovery park.

We cater for lots of families looking for hearty food, served in a timely and courteous fashion. It consists of an 80 seat restaurant with additional seating on a veranda and picnic tables, attractively scattered around woodland and overlooking the adventure playground.

Wildwood is a charity dedicated to wildlife conservation and attracts 100,000 visitors a year and has a membership of 47,000 individuals.
The post holder will be hard working and hands on, who can demonstrate practical expertise in cooking and serving food in a busy environment, specifically:

•    Leading from the front – showing dedication to serve good food to our visitors in a timely fashion
•    Planning, ordering, stock control and menu preparation
•    Supervision of staff and timetabling
•    Championing cleanliness and adherence to visitor expectations

Applications should be sent to Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7LQ or email to

The closing date for applications is 30th November 2010
Interviews will be held at Wildwood offices at Wealden Forest Park, Herne Common by arrangement in week following the closing date.

Job Descriptions can be downloaded from these links:

Fiona Paterson
Wildwood Trust
Tel 01227 712 111

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Wildwood e-news June 2010
In the June edition of Wildwood's e-newsletter we have:
1.   Babies galore - we are celebrating the arrival of baby badgers, foxes, owls, beaver, polecat and more - come and see.
2.   BBC One Show highlights vital work to rescue Water voles
3.   Baby Beaver - Huge hit on BBC News
4.   Bill Oddie - picks Wildwood Dormice as his number one animal
5.  EVENTS - Booking now!
6.   PHOTO DAYS - Take photos of animals around the park
7.   Electronic Equipment Needed

1.   Babies galore - we are celebrating the arrival of baby badgers, foxes, owls, beaver, polecat and more - come and see.
Photo Credits Les willis, Jon White and many thanks to all our photography enthusiasts who help us out with photos 
We have had a bumper season of births - so make sure you come and see some of our lovely baby animals. The baby beaver can be seen in the big lodge and there is a baby badger in our set (although mum is not letting the cub out yet...)
2.   BBC One Show highlights vital work to rescue Water voles
Wildwood’s vital work has been supported by the BBC Wildlife fund and to highlight this, the One Show followed the work of Wildwood Trust’s team in the water vole conservation centre.
Modern farming, land drainage and destruction of river banks have combined to drive the water vole to the very edge of extinction with a catastrophic 90% drop in numbers over the past 20 or so years.
Twenty or thirty years ago, if you walked along any British river, you might easily see Water Voles shambling along the bank, or dropping into the river with a distinctive ‘plop’ and swimming across the water. But today, a Water Vole is a very rare sight.
Wildwood Trust has helped rescue water voles from sites which were about to be destroyed by development. These water voles were brought back to Wildwood's specially constructed water vole rescue centre. From there the animals and their offspring are taken to newly created sites, where the habitat has been restored to a state suitable for water voles to thrive.
Scientific research so far shows that most of these rescued water voles have survived and created new colonies that could help prevent the water voles extinction in the UK.

3.   Baby Beavers - Huge hit on BBC News
Wildwood's two adorable newborn baby beavers, born on Thursday 14th May 2010, made an exciting debut on the BBC’s local television news. BBC Environment Reporter Yvette Austin has followed the story of the Beavers and previously joined the Wildwood & Kent Wildlife Trust team to pick up our first beavers on our expedition to Norway ten years ago.
The beaver kits, as they are known, are set to help with projects to restore this remarkable mammal back to our riverbanks. The beaver are a part of a bold and innovative conservation programme, designed to protect and restore our wetland habitats.
Wildwood Trust and Kent Wildlife Trust, who first brought the European beaver into the UK in 2001, have pioneered the use of beaver as a wildlife conservation tool. The success of this project has inspired a number of other projects in Gloucestershire and in Scotland. 
The baby beavers parents were given to Wildwood Trust as a gift from the German Government, and they arrived in the UK earlier last year. Their journey to Wildwood was documented in a special two part programme shown on countryfile.
Peter Smith, Wildwood's Chief Executive said:
"More than 20 other countries, including France, Germany and Denmark have reintroduced beavers and the experience has been very positive. Beavers fit into the landscape very well and in places like Brittany they have become part of the environment, with minimal damage to agriculture and other forestry. 
4.  Bill Oddie - picks Wildwood Dormice as his number one animal
Bill Oddie came to Wildwood to film his top 10 wildlife frights and delights, and named the dormouse as his number one favourite animal. He is pictured holding one of Wildwood Trust's dormice from our breeding programme. Wildwood's dormouse breeding centre helps breed many dormice every year for reintroduction to woodlands where they have been made extinct.
5.  EVENTS - Booking now!

1st – 4th June Half Term
Summer Celebration week
Tues-Fri, 2-3pm, celebrate summer with a range of seasonal crafts all about minibeasts, including ladybirds, spiders, dragonflies (£2.00 per person for materials)

Sunday June 13
2-3pm Minibeast Sunday
Be a mini-scientist and discover which tiny animals live on the woodland floor, using sieves and pooters to collect them.  £2 each. Must book.

July 10-11 Fossil Weekend!
Owing to the popularity of our previous one-day fossil roadshow over the last two years, this year we are now hosting a two-day Fossil Weekend. Fossil experts from Kent RIGS will run both a roadshow and fossil walk on the beach over the two days Road show – free admission; must book for beach walks.

Monday July 26 Thunder Moon night tour 8-10pm (hot meal at 7.30pm) £20 each, min. age 10yrs. Must book
Wednesdays August 4, 11 and 18
Junior Zoo Keeper half day events:
August 4 and 11 for 7-11 year olds; 10am-12noon, £50 each. Must book
August 18 for 12-17 year olds, one session, 10am-4pm, £100, Must book.

For members with pre-school children, meet in the restaurant 10.30am-12.00pm.
Every Monday except for school holidays. For info contact Penny Cornet on 01227 712111.

6.   PHOTO DAYS - Take photos of animals around the park
Wildwood is offering the opportunity to take photos of our animals with our resident photographer Ryan Ladbrook.
These days will allow photographers of all skills levels the chance to get close to and photograph British animals, at the same time Ryan will be on hand to give help and advice on how to get those special shots.
Different animals will be photographed across the day.
Days will run from 10:30 – 12:30 and 1:30 – 3:30 allowing an hour for lunch when you can make use of our restaurant or bring your own packed lunch.
The days will have a minimum of four people up to a maximum of 10.

The cost will be £75 per person.
These unique days are on June 25th and July 30th this summer, with further dates for the autumn.
If you would like to book or would like more information please contact Beth on 01227 712111 or e-mail
All information and booking form available at


7. Electronic Equipment Needed
Wildwood loves to recycle and is again in need of equipment. 
Computer monitors LCD only (including broken ones), TV’s LCD/plasma only (including broken ones), computers/laptops less than 5 years old, digital projectors, USB keyboards and mice, duplex laser printers, webcams, networked attached storage, digital cameras/digital video recorders, sat navs, PDA, phones cordless, mobiles & smart phones.
If you can donate any of the above please get in contact with the office on 01227 712111

Follow us on Twitter                    Find us on Facebook           See our latest pictures on Flickr
Peter Smith
Wildwood Trust

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

New Weasel at Wildwood

Wildwood has taken delivery of a new male weasel.

Studley, on breeding loan from the British Wildlife centre is to be mated with Wildwoods own female weasels over the coming months.

It is intended that the some of the offspring will be going back to the British Wildlife Centre.

The keeper team will be hand rearing a couple of these amazing animals so that they can be involved in filming and for talks at the park.

"He is just getting used to his new enclosure and a new mate" commented Karen Price, Senior Keeper at Wildwood "They are getting on fine and it will be good to have the patter of very small feet later on in the year!"

Monday, 5 April 2010

Wildwood hosts Countryfile

Countryfile have been filming (Tuesday 30th March 2010) at Wildwood, Kent's award winning woodland discovery park for a programme to be aired on Sunday 11th April 2010.

The programme being filmed was dealing with the disappearing species of the UK, and will feature a Wildwood hedgehog and pine marten.

John Craven came to the park especially to do the filming and Wildwood has featured a number of times on Countryfile.

Hugh Warwick who has written a book recently "A Prickly Affair - My life with Hedgehogs" was interviewed with a hedgehog, Tony Mitchell-Jones of Natural England was filmed with the pine martens all to illustrate the fact that many species are in danger of disappearing.

"Wildwood is a great resource for this type of filming" commented Peter Smith Chief Executive of Wildwood Trust "There are animals here that would take a film crew a long time to get good shots of and it gives us the opportunity to let people know about the work we do"

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Holiday Fun at Wildwood

Holiday Fun during Easter at Wildwood

Over the two weeks of Easter Wildwood is hosting animal inspired craft afternoons from 2-3pm

Monday April 12 - Rabbits and Hares craft workshop.

Tuesdays April 6 & 13 - Rabbits and Hares craft workshop.

Wednesdays April 7 & 14 - Flowers craft workshop.

Thursdays April 8 & 15 - Life cycle mobiles workshop.

Friday April 9 & 16 - Birds, Bees and Butterflies craft workshop.

Tickets are available at £2 per person and is in addition to the usual entry fee to the park. Please call Anne to book a place on 01227 712111.

Easter Egg Competition

Wildwood is running it's annual Easter egg competition on Sunday and Monday April 4-5.

Collect the free trail sheet and as you go round the park fill in the answers. If you get the answers right, then you can claim your mini-easter egg prize.

This is a great way to learn about the animals of Britain over the Easter weekend.

"This event is always popular" remarked Laura Hester Education Officer for Wildwood "it gives the youngsters something to do as they go around the park and they learn all about our animals as well"

Thursday, 11 March 2010

KONIK HORSE WALK - See the horses at Stodmarsh

Thursday March 25, 11am - 1:30pm

Join us as we pay our weekly check on one of our herds of wild horses at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve.

The visit is subject to weather and ground conditions.

Restricted to 20 adults and over 16yrs only, must be booked with the office on 01227 712111 or e-mail

Please note that this walk is available only to members of Wildwood, if you would like to attend but are not currently a member then speak to the office or download, complete and return our membership form and become a member today!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Adders waking up

As winter comes to an end Wildwood is starting to see the first proof of the arrival of spring amongst those animals that have slept through the cold weather.

Wildwoods adders are beginning to wake up from their long hibernation and are being hand fed by the keepers in a Wildwoods reptile room.

The lizards, frogs and pond tortoises are expected to be waking up soon too as the weather improves.

"It is always exciting to see them waking up", commented Ali Bennett a keeper at Wildwood "We are always concerned that some of them might not survive their hibernation and getting them to eat their first meal is always a challenge".

Visitors to the park will start to see them in their enclosures as the weather gets warmer.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Hi and welcome to Wildwood's blog. Spring is finally making an appearance, buds are coming out on the trees and the animals in the park are enjoying the weak sunshine.
The park is slowly drying out from the wet winter we've had, but wellies are still a must!