Camping out under the stars
Over the course of the year here at RSPB Lakenheath Fen, we organise a wide range of events. One of my favourite events of the year is our annual Big Wild Sleepout camping event. This offers members of the public (and a couple of members of staff) the opportunity to camp out under the stars on the reserve on Saturday, July 28.
This year, for the first time, we will be camping out in the sandy area around the Brandon Fen family trail. This is around five minutes’ walk from the car park and around a 10 minute walk from the toilets. This will offer participants the chance to truly experience the wild side of the reserve. Two members of staff will be camping overnight so if you have any issues during the night, someone will be on hand to help you out.
Once every one has set up their tents on the Saturday evening and we have had an introductory briefing, we will go for a short dusk walk to look for barn owls and listen for bats. We will then toast marshmallows over the campfire, which will be situated near the car park.
After camping out under the stars, breakfast baps and continental breakfast will be provided in the visitor centre. There will then be an opportunity to see some of our reserve wildlife up close and personal. Simon Evans, our local bird ringer, will be running a bird ringing demonstration to see some of our resident birds in the hand. If you are lucky, you may even get to hold a bird and release it yourself.
The reserve wardens will also be going through the moth traps that were out on the reserve the night before. We will hopefully see colourful species like elephant hawk moths, garden tiger moths and poplar hawk moths. There will also be a selection of activities to keep the children busy in and around the visitor centre while the adults are packing the tents away.
All of the above activities and breakfast are included in the price of the event. Please don’t forget your camping gear though! Although this event is mainly aimed at families, adults without children are also welcome to camp out and you don’t need to take part in all of the activities on offer.
If this sounds like your kind of event, find out more and how to book places at rspb.org.uk. If you don’t have access to the internet, please ring the reserve office on 01842 863400 for more information.
I hope this article has inspired to come and camp out under the stars at Lakenheath Fen this July. We hope to see you there!
David White, Visitor experience officer
RSPB Lakenheath Fen