This blog is a celebration of the nature in the South East and highlights ways you can get involved and explore nature in the region. If you've got news of the South East’s nature that you'd like to share, please contact the RSPB South East office on 01273 775333 or email SERComms@rspb.org.uk
The RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout returns for a sixth sensational year, and over the summer months, thousands of children and their families will be pitching tents at RSPB reserves across the UK, hoping to discover the night time creatures are living on their doorstep.
And our RSPB South East reserves offer truly unique environments so campers can get even closer to nature, but be warned, places sell out fast!
At RSPB Pulborough Brooks in West Sussex, you can uncover moths, bats and enjoy unrivalled dark night skies at this stunning South Downs location. The reserve is within one of only 11 Dark Skies Reserves in the world, offering campers the chance to enjoy exceptionally clear night skies at night and enjoy activities in beautiful surroundings during the day. Particularly great for little ones, we’ve recently invested in fantastic wild play equipment at this reserve.
Events run Friday 27th to Saturday 28th July and Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th July. Book your places here
Alternatively, families can watch the sunrise over the UK’s only desert landscape at RSPB Dungeness, on the Kent coast. This unique corner of the UK is home to lots of weird and wonderful wildlife…try pond dipping for medicinal leeches and water scorpions, or listen to scores of swifts screaming across the skies as they pick off flies above huge lakes. Last year’s campers found glow worms before bed and woke up to marsh harriers gliding across sunrise skies!
Events runs Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th July. Book your places here
How about a city break with a difference? Right on the edge of London, our RSPB Rainham Marshes reserve might surprise you! Replace the noise of city life with the plop of a water vole searching for food, and the call of lapwing as they look after fluffy chicks. You might even spot a ‘ghost’…the pale, silent form of a barn owl hunting over the marshes!
Event runs on Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th July. Book your places here
Want cosy campfires and fragrant heathland? Head to RSPB Farnham Heath reserve and explore bug traps, wildlife walks and search for a toasting stick before tucking into marshmallows cooked on the campfire. If you listen closely, you might even hear the squeak of bats as they search for food around the campsite! This reserve is part of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and campers can explore the stunning heathland - an important habitat now rarer than rainforest.
Events run on Friday 10th to Saturday 11th August and Saturday 11th to Sunday 12th August. Book your places here
Determined to be beside the seaside? Our RSPB Pagham Harbour, West Sussex reserve overlooks the English Channel and is home to some of our rarest breeding seabirds. Wake up to a cacophony of tern calls and look out for lizards basking on the hot sandy ground. Ever heard of a yellow necked mouse? Neither had our campers until a mammal hunt revealed one! What will you discover?
Event runs on Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th August. Book your places here
For many campers, Big Wild Sleepout is the first step in signing up to our free Wild Challenge, our online award scheme supported by Aldi, which encourages families to go out and get closer to the natural world.
By completing activities ranging from minibeast safaris and habitat exploring, to making a compost heap and planting for wildlife, participants can log their achievements on the RSPB Wild Challenge website and collect bronze, silver and gold awards.
With over 25 activities to choose from, it’s enough to keep your family busy for the whole school holiday!
Start your summer right, and step into nature with us!
Top - Pond Dipping at RSPB Pagham Harbour, RSPB Images
Bottom - Sunset at RSPB Rainham Marshes courtesy of Tony O'Brien