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Top wildlife encounters in West Sussex
Falconry Day at West Sussex Falconry – discover different species of birds of prey, learn about the important conservation work that goes on at the centre and get to handle these majestic birds up close and personal at this hidden West Sussex gem in Compton near Chilgrove. A great experience for all the family.
Three Greys Riding School – there’s nothing quite like the beauty of the South Downs National Park to make you feel at one with nature or each other. What better way to enjoy it together than with a two-hour hack on the Downs, taking in the stunning scenery? Hop in the saddle at this riding school based near Pyecombe.
Go Ape in Tilgate Park – if you don’t like heights, this sky-high encounter probably isn’t for you. You’ll be suspended on a harness high above the ancient West Sussex woodland, ready to whizz down zip wires, swing through the trees and walk through the lush green canopies with your heart in your mouth. Perfect for adrenalin junkies.
Boat Safari at Arundel Wetland Centre – with over 26 acres of natural beauty to discover, this is the perfect spot to escape it all and enjoy some good old fashioned family fun. You can discover birds, voles, snakes and other creatures on a free Boat Safari that takes you deep into the reed beds – relaxing, rewarding, educational and perfect for all ages.
Birdwatch at RSBP’s Pagham Harbour – Pagham Harbour is a local nature reserve and a peaceful haven for wildlife, with big skies, marshland and sweeping views of the sea. It’s home to migrant birds, wild ducks, pintails, geese, wading birds, butterflies, dragonflies and lizards. The whole family can also take part in mud monster workshops, pond dipping, bug hunts and sensory arts and crafts.
Dawn Safari on the Knepp Castle Estate – if you can drag the kids out of bed early, this 3,500 acre estate near Horsham, home to the largest rewilding project in lowland Europe, offers Dawn Safaris. Expect to see roe deer, red deer, stoats, weasels, foxes, badgers, Exmoor ponies and Longhorn cattle. Reward yourself at the end with a well-deserved cup of tea and bacon roll.
South of England Show – this annual show celebrates everything that is great about the British countryside and is one of the biggest agricultural spectacles in the south east. Watch livestock parades, sheep shows, sheepdog demonstrations, a Shetland Pony Grand National and enjoy some outdoor family fun on vintage fairground rides and the Ardingly Eye.
Wood’s Mill – Sussex Wildlife Trust is a fantastic local charity that helps protect important wildlife in and around the region. There are a number of family-friendly sites to visit – Wood’s Mill near Steyning is a small but perfectly formed nature reserve where you can reconnect with nature and spot woodpeckers, nightingales and mini beasts as you explore the reed-fringed pond.
Weald and Downland Working Museum – leave the digital world behind and escape to the stunning West Sussex countryside at the Weald and Downland Working Museum. Step back in time and experience a bygone era of traditional arts and crafts in a unique natural setting, which tells the fascinating story of people who lived and worked in this region over a 950-year period. A quirky, unique attraction for all the family.
Buchan Country Park – part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this park is just a short hop from Crawley and a place where families can switch off and enjoy the great outdoors. Bring a picnic and a sense of adventure and spend the day here, discovering wildlife and animals such as nightjars, great-crested grebe, dragonflies and grass snakes.