Crossness Nature Reserve – Kids Go Wild (Round one …)

We ran the first of two family events titled ‘Kids Go Wild’ on Saturday 15th July. Children and grandchildren got to try their hand at pond-dipping, where there was some friendly competition going on as to who could get the most Water Scorpions and biggest fish (Stickleback).

Children pond-dipping at the Crossness Kids Go Wild event.

They did some mini-beast hunting where the kids (and adults!) had all kinds of fun turning over logs and lifting up refugia. A highlight was catching a Grasshopper in a bug pot, as well as a number of Woodlice with lots of young.

Holding a Grasshopper in a bug pot for closer examination.

Some bird watching from the bird hide revealed a Pochard female with six young, as well as two Little Grebe chicks, and attendees were also able to take advantage of the early Blackberry crop and look forward to the freshest apple and blackberry crumble that evening. 

Birdwatching from the well-appointed hide.

In addition to the planned activities, a large Slow Worm was seen under some reptile refugia, as well as the tail end of another (after my big introduction, it disappeared far too quickly!). Four Common Lizards were seen by some, and the youngsters also got to see a Wood Mouse that was nest-building under some refugia laid down for reptiles. The obligatory petting of horses on the way out ended the afternoon nicely, and a highlight for me was when one young attendee claimed ‘This is the best day I’ve ever had!’ While I’m not sure what his granddad thought of such a statement, it certainly made my day!

Another Kids Go Wild event is scheduled for the school holidays. Taking place here at Thames Water’s Crossness Nature Reserve on Wednesday 9th August, please book your place with me, the site manager, Karen Sutton, by emailing 

Karen Sutton, Biodiversity Team Manager

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