Published: 06:00, 11 February 2020
It may be home to a 14th century manor house and its gardens, but Penshurst Place is also teeming with wildlife, all making their home there.
Away from the manicured gardens and historic house itself, there’s plenty of chances for kids to let off some steam - and this half term there’s even more opportunity than normal.
A Woodland Trail, complete with bug houses, wood sculptures, stepping stones and dozens of ways to see wildlife, opens in time for the start of the holidays.
It’s been a labour of love for the gardening team at Penshurst, especially deputy head gardener Nick McKenzie, who has led on much of it.
Behind the scenes, they have been making ‘stumperies’ from old tree trunks to provide a natural habitat for insects; putting up new owl boxes, while there will be a series of different sections for children to explore as they make their way along the trail.
Besides the many bugs and insects, they could see three breeds of deer who live there, owls including tawny, little and barn owls, and an array of birds. The team have also planted countless bulbs and a wild flower meadow.
Nick said: “You could walk around it in 10 minutes, or you could spend all day in there - it’s completely up to you.”
“We have already got fantastic bio diversity in our environments, but there’s always more you can do. We’ve got a miniature England in our 40-plus acres.”
There will also be regeneration boards along the way, so that young (and older) visitors know what to look out for, and learn as they go.
The trail project is ongoing, with more plans in the pipeline, including a Saxon Round House from which there could be badger watching sessions in the future.
The Woodland Trail is open from Saturday, February 15 andis open until October. The Amazing
Inventions Trail opens for half term from Saturday, February 15 to Sunday, February 23, from 10.30am
to dusk daily.
Young adventurers can explore to their hearts’ content this half term, as both trails are open daily.
Alongside the Woodland Trail will be the Inventions Trail specially for half term. In and around the formal gardens, there will be a trail sheet with clues for children to find items relating to important inventions hidden in the walled gardens.
They could be wheels or even an abacus, which relates to today’s computers. Children need to match the original invention with today’s technology shown on their sheet. The house itself is open to visitors at weekends from Saturday, February 15, throughout the week and then weekends through to Saturday, March 28.
Find out more at penshurstplace.com
More by this authorAngela Cole