It's busy times here at Wildwood and we wanted to briefly let you all know what we're up to and how your generous donations and membership fees are helping British wildlife through our conservation, education and rewilding projects. Please get in touch with us if you would like any more information on any of the stories below. Merry Christmas!!
The beavers have won!
Wildwood staff are celebrating at the historic decision to give formerly native beavers full legal protection.
Wildwood Trust have worked for nearly 20 years to reestablish beaver back to the UK and the Scottish Government has announced that beavers are to get full legal protection & native resident status. This is a major battle we have campaigned for since our first beaver project started back in 1999. This led to the formation of our charity and has been our main campaign effort all that time. The campaign is not over as BREXIT could threaten how this is incorporated into the law in England and allow for natural recolonisation of English waterways.
Wildwood Trust's CEO Peter Smith commented: When we started the project back in 1999 everyone though it could never happen – but drive, hard work and determination has created this milestone in reversing wildlife loss. Beavers are now free to naturally recolonise the UK and this will be the biggest positive step for wildlife in the last 100 years. Beaver back in our streams will do more for wildlife than any other conservation project yet to be devised.
Wildwood co-ordinated and arranged a 2 day training course for Kent Wildlife Trust staff for monitoring their beaver population at Ham Fen. The course was taught by leading beaver expert Roisin Campbell-Palmer and involved handling, survey and trapping techniques.
Harvest mouse babies
Our marvellous conservation team has successfully bred harvest mice again this year, all are now venturing out of their nests and foraging on their own! We are still looking for volunteers for our Kent Harvest Mouse Survey, so please click the button to get in touch!
Some of the more intrepid members of our team recently moved four of our female Konik horses at the Stodmarsh nature reserve. Our Konik horses were introduced at Stodmarsh to help naturally manage the wetland through their grazing habits, which provides a more biodiverse habitat. The area in which they were in was soggy, full of reed beds and, although they are extremely hardy creatures, we decided to move them to a drier area with more grazing availabilty to see out the winter months.
The task of moving these lovely yet stubborn animals was not made easier by the 2km route through an undulating landscape. The horses had to be kept moving so they didn't stop to eat and get lost in the wetland. They also needed to be moved as a herd, but kept at a certain speed so that our frail human legs could keep up. Not an easy task, but the move was a major success!
We'll be keeping an eye on them over the winter with regular site visits, we may even take them some special treats at Christmas!
Wildwood is assisting 3 ecological consultant companies this winter with water vole mitigation. The voles are being looked after on our Kent site and will return to the wild in the spring of next year.
We are currently assisting University of Kent Bioscience department with investigating the micro biomes of the species in captivity at the park. Preliminary findings have already produced some interesting results and we'll be posting the information as soon as it's available.
Water vole babies
As part of our ongoing captive breeding efforts, this year we have put together 10 pairs of water voles hoping for them to breed and we’ve now had confirmation of success!
Escot Christmas Market
Our first Devon Christmas market is being held in the courtyard outside the popular Coach House Restaurant on the 10th and 11th of December, and will be filled with local craftspeople and businesses. If you're looking for the perfect, unusual gift this Christmas, then Wildwood Escot is the place to find one. Find out more by phoning 01404 822188.
Christmas at Wildwood Escot
On the 3rd and 4th of December, meet Father Christmas in his grotto, get stuck in with activities and go back to Yuletide at the Saxon Village. Festive food will also be available, plus meet our animals and enjoy our winter trail. Find out more by phoning 01404 822188.
Christmas at Wildwood Kent
We will once again be hosting our amazing hand-built Wildwood Santa’s Grotto. Tickets are available for every weekend in December and the week leading up to Christmas Day and each child will get a quality gift, a visit with Santa, a mounted photo and will also see Santa’s reindeer in their stable. In addition to the grotto, we also have crafting activities for the little 'uns on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday just before the big day. Christmas raffle tickets will be available from the shop for a chance to win a bear experience, a zoo keeper experience or a luxury large soft toy.
If you need that perfect gift for him or her or the little 'un, then our shop has got you covered. We have stocking fillers starting at ONLY 5p, a new range of fantastic home decor items at greatly reduced prices, and gorgeous, plush luxury toys PLUS tasty sauces, spreads and oils for those gift hampers!
Don't forget...you can browse without paying entrance to the park, and if you want to give a really meaningful gift check out our adoption packages available in the shop or by phone.