This blog contains gifted experience, but opinions all entirely honest and my own
Making the most of this beautiful sunshine we are having lately, yesterday we decided to venture up to Northumberland (always my go to place on a sunny day) and check out the ‘Wild at Kielder Festival’.
With a whole host of family activities including Den Building, Alpaca Walks and a Forest Wildlife Safari, the aim of the festival is to encourage everybody to experience first hand, the wonders of the area, and it’s part of the ‘Living Wild at Kielder’ project.
We possibly should’ve set off a little sooner, as traffic was busy and we arrived a little later than we’d planned. But we parked up next to a family pub on the site, then headed to Kielder Castle.
My girls day was made as soon as we arrived at the Castle. They both love the Gruffalo so he received a big hug off them both.
They both then spotted the arts and crafts table at the Northumberland Wildlife tent, so ran, took a seat and Jess decorated a small piece of wood, whilst I had a wander around the tents and found out a bit more about Kielder, whats on and planned our day.
We decided that as it was our first time visiting Kielder, rather than do any of the activities scheduled throughout the day, we were just going to walk around the forest itself. The age the girls are at, 6 and 9, it’s sometimes hard to get them to stay focused for any length of time and they like to just run about, so decided that was what we would do.
The girls then spotted the Highway Rat trail, so we set off on that. Walking down the winding path spotting visual art and architecture our way. Various art installations are located around the lake, in the forest, and within Northumberland National Park.
The calming surroundings were just beautiful as we continued on our trail. In fact, we soon forgot we were even on the Highway Rat trail as the girls ran along the footpaths, up the banks towards the trees, through a field and over a big stone bridge.
We then sat on the wooden steps down towards the stream for a bit. There’s something so magical about hearing the trickling of a stream as the sun shines down through the trees.
This really had been the perfect weather for a woodland adventure. Although admittedly, I do prefer cold, crisp Autumn days to blazing hot sunshine, but in this instance the surroundings just wouldn’t feel the same.
It’s almost as if the sun brought the forest to life. We could easily have spent hours down by the stream, and I’m sure we will return in the summer with a pic-nic, but aware of the time, (we planned to go to the Birds of Prey show at 3.00), we then continued through the forest, some parts slightly muddy, and made our way back to the castle where we stopped for some lunch.
The Cafe is inside the ancient Kielder Castle, which also contains a free exhibition. With seating both inside by a log fire for the colder months, and outside for days like today, the cafe serves locally sourced homemade food. I opted for Quiche, jacket potato and salad, lasagna and chips for the hubby, and fish fingers and chips for the girls.
Food was delicious, served really quickly so we didn’t have long to wait at all. But whilst we did wait, the girls were fascinated with the Osprey sat in its nest on the Live Wildlife Cam, and Emily took out her note pad and pen and started to write bits about what we’d seen and done so far. An aspiring blogger for sure.
After lunch we then headed back to the car and set off for the Bird of Prey Centre, well when I finally tore the girls away from the rope swing
It was only around a 10 minute drive from the Forest Park to the centre at Leaplish Waterside Park. When we arrived I walked straight down to the lake to the most breathtaking views. I really though we’d have to travel to the Lakes to see anything like this. The sun was still out and making the lake so blue. You really need to take a trip there one sunny day to experience it for yourself.
I love animals. I love them to the point I think we’ve almost ran out of Farms, Safaris and Zoos still to visit, but I’m never really interested in birds. But I am so glad we went to the Bird of Prey Centre because I’ve never seen Eagles, Owls, Hawks and Vultures so close up before. The centre is home to over 60 birds as well as a family of Wallabies.
The birds are all house separately, tethered to their own perch within a small wooden surrounding, whilst not out flying in the wild. The reason for this is so they will not eat any of the other birds in the centre. But the birds are all free to fly as they wish, and return by choice. And I loved that concept. The thought of all of the birds flying about in the wild, but chosing to return to the centre.
The staff at the centre were very friendly. From the lady asking me about blogging as she’s interested to know more about what it is us bloggers do, Steven who kindly let the girls stroke Eden the Owl as he told them about her, and Ray who led the flying demonstration, along with Steven.
The demonstration was fantastic and well worth sticking around for if you visit the centre. We learned so much about the birds, and I think we all got to experience one of the birds landing on our hand when encouraged by the handlers.
I was sat right next to one of the perches so had these beautiful creatures land right above my head. It really was an experience
The show lasted around an hour, then we took another look around the centre, then the girls had five minutes in the park then headed back down to the lake to skim some stones, before heading for home.
Thank you to Kielder Water and Forest Park and Northumberland Wildlife Trust for having us along to blog about our day which we thoroughly enjoyed and cannot recommend to anyone enough. But I would suggest you get there early to make a full day of it. Or even better, book a short break in one of the nearby lodges.
We look forward to returning and we plan to return to make a trip to the Observatory.
To find our more about Kielder and what’s on throughout the coming months as well as other places of interest , click on this link