Wild and wonderful

NEWBORN: Shetland Lambs at Saltholme.
NEWBORN: Shetland Lambs at Saltholme.
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WHERE can you get close-up sunflowers and get hands-on with a bog?

And just where would you find new lapwing chicks and common terns?

The answer is the fantastic £7m Saltholme wildlife reserve where there’s loads to do for children from the Hartlepool area.

This is a great time of year to get along to one of the newest attractions on the Tees Valley scene.

May is the time when common terns will be heading to Saltholme to nest on the cockleshell islands. You might also spot the great crested grebes in the middle of the open water pools taking part in their elaborate courtship dances.

And there’s a chance you could see brown hares boxing which is when females try to fend off the attentions of males – or perhaps spot the new lapwing chicks or Shetland lambs which have just arrived.

As well as all that, there’s plenty to do this coming weekend in the Saltholme wildlife garden between 11am and 4pm.

You could get stuck into nature and help with planting sunflowers, go bog gardening, feed the birds and plant herb seeds.

Saltholme is open every day except Christmas Day and, at this time of year, you can get in between 10am and 5pm.

The entrance fee is £3 per car or free for RSPB members and people who come by bike, public transport or on two feet.

There’s more to do as well.

There’s adventure play, pond-dipping, boat-building and events and activities during every school holiday.

If that’s got you interested, why not find out more by contacting (01642) 546625 or email saltholme@rspb.org.uk

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

l Saturday, May 7, and Sunday, May 8: Stepping up to nature in the garden between 11am and 4pm.

l Sunday, May 15: Saltholme’s Phoenix group meets for wildlife fans aged 13 to 19, between 10am and 2pm. The cost is £2 per person or £1 for Phoenix members. For more information, contact (01642) 542076 or email paul.armstrong@rspb.org.uk

l Friday, May 27: Explore Saltholme in the company of other wildlife fans in an event called a Saltholme sortie. The group decides on the day what it will do – from having a natter in the cafe to going for a walk. It starts at 10.30am.

l Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29: Celebrate National Be Nice to Nettles Week at Saltholme. Pull on some special gloves and pick some nettles to make a refreshing drink of iced nettle and strawberry tea.

Drop into the classroom between 11am and 2pm. The cost is £2 per child or free for Wildlife Explorers and Phoenix members

For more information, contact (01642) 546625 or email saltholme@rspb.org.uk

l Tuesday, May 31: The Saltholme team will celebrate the return of Saltholme’s common terns by going cockleshell crazy. Common terns lay their eggs on islands covered in cockleshells.

To mark it, there’s a chance to make cockleshell jewellery and shell sculptures from clay between 11am and 2pm. The cost is £2 per child or free for Wildlife Explorers and Phoenix members

For more information, contact (01642) 546625 or email saltholme@rspb.org.uk