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A Hot Summer’s Day at Snuff Mills

Last week, I teamed up with the local PCSO officers from a local school who often come over to Stoke Park to do activities during the summer holidays. In this heat I thought a small camp fire might be too much, so as the group all turned up, I could see the children were unsure about what to expect.

”Morning kids,” I said, “I hope you have brought some lunch for me too, because I forgot mine!”

It was so funny because they all grabbed hold of their lunch bags as they said “No!”

“Oh dear,” I said, “As it’s nice and warm today, let’s have a vote on what you would like to do. We can go to the woods and have some lunch and a wildlife walk, or how about we go to Snuff Mills and have a paddle in the river and go fossil hunting, and explore the rivers to see what we can find? Hands up for Snuff Mills!”

Wow, every hand including the police officers (and mine, too) went up straight away. Lovely. So we jumped back in the cars and headed off to Snuff Mills.

When we arrived there, it was packed with people enjoying the summer sunshine. As we walked along the river we all lined up along the river bank while I talked about what animals we might see.

The Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

The Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

“Look out for the blue flash of the Kingfisher bird,” I said, but the kids’ attention was caught by the sight of a shoal of stickleback fish on the edge of the river. “That’s what the Kingfisher will be hunting for,” I explained.

As we went further along the river we stopped and had the chance for a cool paddle in the shallows. We were lifting up all the stones to see if we could see a bullhead fish (Cottus gobio).

Bullhead (Cottus gobio)

The European Bullhead (Cottus gobio)

The kids were so enthused into having more than just a paddle.
“Oh Sir! We should have worn our wellies!“ one person said.
“Just roll your trousers up,” I replied, “We will soon dry off in the sun.”

We then went fossil hunting, and the children found lots of fantastic fossils. Then we headed up to the play park at Oldbury Court where they could have a play around. On the way back we explored the river some more, but the minibus journey on the way home was very quiet, as the kids were all worn out and sleepy.
“Nearly home,” I said. What a fantastic day.
Then one girl sat bolt upright and shouted “Sir, I left my lunch bag back at the play park!”