Amy Moore suggests ways in which groups could offer a helping hand.
WILDFOWL & WETLAND TRUST
Since 1946, The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) has worked to protect, repair and construct wetlands. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust is one of the world’s leading conservation charities in its field, managing around 3,000 hectares of prime habitat.
Wetlands are a natural source of drinking water, with The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust offering visitors the chance to learn more at one of their world-class reserves. There are sites in Arundel, Caerlaverock, Castle Espie, Llanelli, London, Martin Mere, Slimbridge, Washington and Welney. Discovery trails, unique exhibitions and wildlife safaris are guaranteed to keep groups occupied, with The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust welcoming parties of all sizes. Groups of 12 or more could receive exclusive benefits, including discounted admission, a free familiarization trip, free entry for the group travel organizer, free coach parking and refreshments. All Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Centres have ample coach parking. For more information visit www.wwt.org.uk
CRICH TRAMWAY VILLAGE
Crich Tramway Village offers a truly historic day out for groups with Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham nestled nearby. Visitors can enjoy unlimited tram rides, whilst exploring 30,000 square feet of indoor attractions. The Exhibition Hall houses the largest collection of vintage electric trams in Britain, with The National Tramway Museum drawing revenue from the trams themselves. The National Tramway Museum is an independent, educational charity run by an enthusiastic troupe of volunteers. Upon arrival, groups can collect an old penny, which will be collected by the conductor in exchange for a day ticket on the trams.
Trams depart regularly, calling at various stops along the scenic, one-mile track. Special discounts are offered to groups of 10 people or more, with complementary tickets for a familiarization trip, which are issued upon request. Ample coach parking is available by the admissions building. For more information visit www.tramway.co.uk
FERNE ANIMAL SANCTUARY
Ferne Animal Sanctuary sits on the brink of Devon and Somerset. Ferne Animal Sanctuary houses over 300 animals, with a charitable history that dates back to the beginning of the Second World War. Ferne Animal Sanctuary was founded by the Duchess of Hamilton, who provided shelter for pets whose owners had left for duty; seeing the first 40 dogs, cats and a parrot rehomed. The sanctuary now showcases a number of rescued animals including donkeys, pigs, goats, chipmunks, chinchillas, birds and tortoises. Guided tours of the site are welcomed when booked in advance, and there are several special event days throughout the year that could be of interest to visiting groups. The Sanctuary Café is a real treat for visitors, offering warm morning coffee, scrumptious cakes, lunches and cream teas. The Sanctuary Café also features a sensory garden, filled with herbs to simulate the senses. For more information visit www.ferneanimalsanctuary.org
Dartington Hall is an inspiring destination near Totnes in Devon, featuring an eclectic mix of ancient and modern buildings, set within a spacious 1,200acre estate. Dartington Hall is a Grade I listed venue of The Dartington Hall Trust, which works to build positive social change through food, farming and sustainability. Dartington Hall offers excellent overnight facilities, with 50 bedrooms dotted around its 14th century medieval courtyard, ensuring guests are provided with a comfortable view. Even better, profits from the stay contribute to the charitable work of The Dartington Hall Trust. Dartington Hall boasts a rich sense of history through spectacular garden features, such as a 1,500 year old elm tree and sculpture of Henry Moore. Dartington Hall is easily accessible from the M5, with direct transport links to local towns such as Torquay, Brixham, Plymouth and Exeter. Special seasonal offers are available. For more information contact email@example.com
IOW DONKEY SANCTUARY
Combine a group visit to the Isle of Wight with a trip to the IOW Donkey Sanctuary. Conveniently located between Shanklin and Ventnor, the IOW Donkey Sanctuary provides animals in need of care and attention, a safe and permanent home. Open between February and October, the IOW Donkey Sanctuary relies solely on donations, through adoptions and fundraising events held throughout the year. The IOW Donkey Sanctuary was established in 1987, and currently boasts free admission and complementary on-site parking for guests. Open from 1030hrs to 1630hrs, specialist features include comfortably accommodating educational groups by arrangement, out-of-hours visits and guided tours upon request. For more information visit www.iwdonkey-sanctuary.com/site
Wildflower Thrives For Devon Wildlife Trust
Kate Langdon, a member of the Devon Wildlife Trust’s ‘Working Wetlands’ team, saw success in re-establishing a rare species of plant: Devil’s Bit Scabious aka Succisa Pratensis. Devil’s Bit Scabious usually grows up to one-metre tall, with lilac lobed leaves that naturally open out in sunlight. The beautiful wildflower plays a key role in supporting local wildlife, considered an important food source for an internationally endangered species of butterfly called Marsh Fritillary. Katie Langdon spent the last eight years working for the Devon Wildlife Trust, which manages 50 nature reserves across the UK. Previous attempts to revive the Devil’s Bit Scabious using commercially bought seed had fallen flat, with only four out of 4,000 germinated.
Instead, Katie Langdon and her partner Simon Tomasso welcomed success by raising the delicate plants in their own back yard using locally sourced seed. “It has felt like a real sense of achievement getting these plants to germinate in such large quantities, and it will be very exciting to see if they have all taken to their new homes, the results of which we will see next year,” said Katie. For more information visit www.devonwildlifetrust.org/working-wetlands/