Our First Nature Detective Day – Saturday 8th June

June 2024

Our first Nature Detective Day on Banstead Downs was a huge success.

Families came along to explore the wonderful chalk grassland habitat, learning about its wildlife and how help conserve its natural beauty.

Activities included a Bug Hunt, Nature Walk and an opportunity to Meet the Sheep. Our team of staff and volunteers were on hand to help, and they were all impressed with the curiosity and enthusiasm everyone showed in finding out about the nature on our Common.

The Bug Hunt was a big hit with children as they swished their bug nets through the grassland to try and catch some of our invertebrates hiding in the vegetation.  They collected circa 47 bugs in total and our experts were on hand to help identify the various species.  They included a Black Tailed Skimmer dragonfly (see picture below), Green Oak Torix moth, and a Swollen-Thighed beetle.  All the data is now on iRecord.

During the Nature Walk children discovered how to identify birds and butterflies using their smart phone and useful pull out guides.

Children also got to Meet the Sheep, our conservation grazing heroes, Dibby and Hebe.  The Downlands Partnership Grazing Team explained how the sheep help to enhance biodiversity on Banstead Commons.  The sheep were happy to be stroked and very well fed by the children.

Lastly, we had a bit of fun with our Guess the age of the oak tree competition with the children counting the rings of the tree.  The winner will be announced at the end of our programme of events and will get to keep the slice of timber and a certificate of authenticity.

Our whole event was child led and in addition to the structured activities, we also did butterfly painting, twig owl making and bug house building.

We also had some lovely feedback the families that attended:

“Our children had so much fun and it was great to have all the experts on hand to help them identify the specimens they found. They’re still buzzing about it and have been asking when the next one is!”

“I found the Nature Detective Day great fun.  I loved having the ability to go and discover parts of Banstead Downs that I hadn’t seen before and observe different species of insects.”

Thank you to all our fabulous Nature Detective families!

These events have been made possible thanks to support from Cllr. Rebecca Paul and the Your Councillor Community Fund.  It is being supported by the Downlands TrustDownlands Partnership and the Surrey Hills Society.