Located just outside of Medway in Sandling, Tyland Barn is the headquarters of Kent Wildlife Trust.
We went along earlier this week as part of our Easter half-term ‘staycation’ here in Kent. We were blessed with the weather on this occasion, with only a short downpour to dampen our mood.
The centre provides childrens and adults alike with a great opportunity to explore our natural environment, with plenty of hands-on exhibits and displays. Outside, the park has a number of areas which have been developed to provide a range of habitats aimed at supporting a wide variety of flora and wildlife. Kids are encouraged to explore the surrounding area, hunting for bugs and other wildlife. There is also an outdoor play area aimed at slightly older children.
On the day we visited, volunteers encouraged children to take part in nature trails around the park and I have to say this was very well managed (hello Richard!). During our exploration we even managed to find a lesser stag beetle while hunting for bugs, something which got the staff quite excited as they haven’t been seen at the barn this early in the year for quite a while. Quite a looker I must say!
There is a fantastic pond in the centre of the park which, on first inspection looks very sedate, but on closer inspection is teeming with all sorts of wildlife and we spent quite some time just watching the various insects, water snails and sticklebacks go about their business. I also spent a bit of time watching a pair of beautiful pied wagtails at the bird feeding station. Quite wonderful!
Although we only planned on staying for a short while, it was a few hours before we got to sit down for a well received cup of hot chocolate and a sandwich in the cafe area. There are a number of displays inside the barn itself alongside a well-stocked shop with plenty of information which you can take away.
All in all, another great reason to keep it local when considering how to keep the children occupied this summer.