Paxton Pits

I was up bright and early this morning, thankful for a lull in the beautiful weather as we were instructed to wear long sleeves and long trousers on our visit to Paxton Pits and didn’t fancy walking round with the sun beating down on us.

Girls breakfasted and dressed appropriately, packing waterproofs, towel, spare clothing, sun hats, suncream, etc…picnic done and off we went.

Although I have never been to Paxton Pits before, I had a good idea where it was, but to be doubly sure hooked up Katie (our satnav) – big mistake as she clearly didn’t know where she was going so after arguing with her for a bit, switched her off – HA! Arrived on the dot – surprised that the Beans beat us after we passed them going the wrong way!

We all gathered together outside the cafe, as well as meeting up with the beans, we were joined by the deependers, gina and family and a number of other home edders, most of whom I had never met before, some had met the girls on trips out with Wayne. We waited for our lady to arrive and guide us whilst we stepped back in time… She did start off very teachery-ish but seemed to settle with the group as the activities wore on and was very knowledgeable when it came to identifying bugs, birds and pond life which was useful 🙂

The description provided for the day was ‘Children undertake a wild journey through time, equipped with time travel wristbands, explorer kits and time dials to discover how Paxton Pits became so important for wildlife. The children ‘stop off’ at key points in time in the history of Paxton Pits to undertake activities, including fossil hunting to discover the remains of creatures that once lived in Jurassic seas; pond dipping to catch the creatures that colonised the holes that filled with water after the gravel pits were excavated; sweep netting to find the creatures that have moved into the meadows that established after the site became a nature reserve; log-rolling to discover who lives under the logs at the ‘pingo swamp’; bird watching to spot some of the residents Paxton Pits is famous for; and journeying into the future to discover what the site will be like in years to come.’

So that is basically what we did and these are some of the objects and creatures they found…

Fossil hunting from the quarried stone – Belemnites, ammonites, bones/tusk remains which, once found and dusted off, they had to sort into the relevant tray. Poppy found a rather large piece of ammonite!

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Log rolling – spiders, woodlice, centipedes, millipedes, caterpillars and various other creepy crawlies.

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Tree tickling – a moth, grasshopper, some black bug things

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Bird Watching – they were all given binoculars and spotted cormorants, a heron, chaffinch, blue tits, tern, crested grebe and swans

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Pond Dipping – Dipped into tanks and the river and collected lots of pond life, lesser water boatmen, greater water boatmen, leeches, tiny swan mussels, water stick insects, pond skaters, newts, pond snails, caddis fly nymph, caddis fly larvae, beetle larvae, flatworms, pond scorpions, freshwater shrimp, pea-shell cockle and water worms.

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Sweep netting – huge crickets, grasshoppers, spiders and other buggy things. Poppy said it reminded her of bug hunting on animal crossing 🙂

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Finished off our busy day at the cafe with an ice cream for the girls and an ice cold drink for me 🙂 Fabulous day although not sure I agree that it was aimed at 8+, seemed perfectly pitched to the younger members of the group but saying that, Skye and Pops had a great time, especially when it got to pond dipping and bug hunting. They also enjoyed spending time with SB and BB and making new friends along the way.

Girls seemed pretty exhausted after their action packed day and so relaxed by playing with their ello and each had some time on Club Penguin before dinner. Dropped girls over to Mum and Dads for sleepover as its back to work again for me in the morning 😦


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