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An Interest Trail for Children – Dunham Massey

We have created an “Interest Trail” around our allotment community garden, and we see it performing two roles, firstly it guides all our visitors around the site taking in as big a variety of features as possible and secondly it performs as an activity trail for children. It has proved very popular. Whenever we come across a similar trail in large gardens or parks we always have a look to see how the idea has been executed. We visited the National Trust garden, Dunham Abbey, primarily to enjoy the Winter Garden but we discovered that since our last visit a few years ago a couple of the gardeners have created a children’s trail so we could not resist trying it out.

It was wonderful! Come with us and enjoy! We found the sign and below it one of the decorated bikes and then enjoyed a woodland wander before discovering the first of many fun and educational features designed for children.

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Any child who is brought here is very lucky indeed! At our allotment we also have features and arrange activities for the children and grandchildren of our members and their friends so we left with many new ideas.

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New Wildlife Pictures for the Allotments

We have an interest trail on our allotment site with accompanying trail guide and also several quizzes for different ages of children. For one quiz we challenge the children to follow our trail keeping an eye out for the pictures of several creatures who live in the wildlife friendly green spaces. The pictures are found in the sort of habitat where each creature would live. The pics are just photocopies of pictures which are laminated so have a short life span. We seem forever to be having to replace them so decided to try a more permanent solution.

I have just finished creating paintings of the creatures onto marine plywood and varnished them so that they will last a long time. So here they are for you to look at. It seems a while since I included any of my paintings on a post so I shall have to try to include more this year. Being destined for the outdoors the signs needed to be waterproof and able to stand up to our open site. I decided my usual watercolours would bot suffice so I retuned to a medium that I had not used for decades, Acrylics. Once I started using them though the skills all came back – just like riding a bike!

The Greater Spotted Woodpecker and the Peacock Butterfly. I start with these two as they were the cause of strange happenings as I was painting them. As I finished the picture of the Woodpecker I held it up to show Jude and a real one flew across the garden and landed on a feeder where he proceeded to devour peanuts for a long while. This seemed a little coincidental but the Butterfly picture caused a similar happening. As I finished the painting again I held it up and as I did so a real Peacock Butterfly flew down and fluttered around me. Amazing! We can only presume it was hibernating in the roof of the conservatory where I was painting and for some reason woke up. I caught it gently and placed it carefully in the garage where we hope it has found another snug winter hibernation home.

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The Grasshopper and the Bumble Bee.

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The Grass Snake and the Soldier Beetle.

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The Bat and the Seven Spot Ladybird.

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For my next batch I will try to depict a Damsel Fly, Dragonfly, Field Vole, some moths, more butterflies and some more birds especially birds of prey which have become a bit of a hallmark for our site.