Report from the Nature Sleepout June 2019

A micro-adventure is fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.  A real escape to wilderness, simplicity and the great outdoors.  It’s also short, simple, local, cheap.  Barnwell Country Park Nature Sleep Out is just such a micro-adventure.  Here’s what happened this year, read on …

75 brave adventurers, of all ages, arrived at 3pm ready for a busy afternoon of activities.

  • Richard led the dragonfly hunt, spotting the Common Blue Damselfly, the Four Spotted Chaser and the large Emperor – here is a picture of the stunning Emperor.
  • Fishing by the lake with Andy, everyone managed to catch some perch, but the Chub got away, clever Chub.
  • Vicky the park ranger told us about her job as a ranger and told stories from the park.
  • The moth trap was set up and on return in the morning we had trapped two remarkable big moths, the Privet Hawk and the  Elephant Hawk Moth (both pictured below), together with hundreds of micro-moths.  The Privet Hawk Moth is the darker one, the Elephant Hawk Moth is very brightly coloured.
  • Judy led the bat search at dark and with the help of the bat detector we were able to hear three different types of bat: the common and the soprano Pipistrelle, and the Whiskered bat.  Here is a picture of a whiskered bat, looking fierce but note that it is very small.  All our bats are protected and it is good to know two species are living happily in the Country Park.
  • Having prepared our cosy campsite and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate, we headed to our sleeping bags. Owls calling, foxes barking and sunrise coming far too soon.
  • Buffet Camp breakfast was served, cereal, fresh bread and sausages, washed down with coffee and tea.
  • By 9am, tents were cleared, everything we brought cleared up and packed, even the grass ruffled up to leave no trace we had been there – following the Country Code, we left nothing behind but our footprints – and our micro-adventure was over.

Fun was had by all and to the sound of “See you next year!” we happy campers headed home.