We are back from a lovely staycation in Suffolk, visiting our rather fantastic friend Lolly. We were lucky enough to have lots of highlights in a short space of time, but one of them was our afternoon on Sizewell Beach joining a kids’ activity run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Thank you L for organising this for us, we almost passed for locals!
We know what to do on a sandy beach on a hot day, but the beaches along the Suffolk shore offer all different sorts of opportunities (and I mean this in a good way). The Wild Beach session on Sizewell was instructive and fun and gave us the chance to do and find so many things on the beach that we would never have noticed or done on our own.
We did all sorts of good games – played Beach Bingo (finding different things on the beach from a picture), learned about and drew plaice and made sure they were camouflaged by decorating them with sand, painted stones, looked for kittiwakes with the binoculars, and of course looked for living creatures in and around the sea. We found tiny organisms, magnified them and then learnt what they were.
My son in particular had the best fun doing boys’ stuff with his dad, and they kept going off exploring together and coming back with some unusual finds. First, the moon jellyfish (dead, washed up onto the shore – hard to make out in the photographs but he’s the one on the white tray), then the hornet butterfly from the sand dunes, and the best of all was an amazing spider from the scrubland. Manny spotted it, Dafe caught it with his hilarious butterfly net, and none of our guides even knew what it was. I have to come clean, I will not normally get close to a spider without palpitating, but this one was safely inside a plastic (closed) container, and I have to admit it was kind of beautiful. The guide book came out and it was finally identified as a Argiope bruennichi (wasp spider). Everybody was so excited, especially the SWT staff, and Manny proudly went round showing everyone his spider – and posing for Lorna to take photos of them together – before letting her free again.
All in all it was a great informative and fun way to spend a few hours, by the wonderful muted colours of the North Sea coast, and in the slightly incongruous shadow of the Sizewell B nuclear reactor.
The Suffolk Wildlife Trust is a conservation charity in Suffolk whose vision is for a ‘Living Landscape, rich in wildlife; for everybody to enjoy.’ We were given lots of reading material, bookmarks, stickers, and the kids were really enthused about wildlife and nature.
The next Wild Beach session at Sizewell happens on 28th August (and there are others in other locations) so if you are in the area and are interested in sea creatures, beach stuff or just need something different to occupy the children, please go and check it out. And you should try adventuring into the scrub and shaking the bushes to see what you can find.
Lots more information at the Suffolk Wildlife Trust website. Many thanks to Lorna, Bev and the team for their kind assistance and amazing enthusiasm! Some of the spider pictures were taken by Lorna Collins.