One of our favourite local places is Mallydams Wood in Fairlight near Hastings. It is home to an RSPCA wildlife hospital and host to a fantastic education outreach team who run forest school sessions and a timetable of events. The woods are not normally open to the public, but the centre runs seasonal open woods events which give a chance to explore this beautiful site.
Our first encounter with Mallydams came when a colleague at work recommended them as a home for the baby bird that we were caring for after someone left it on our doorstep, and since having the boys we’ve been along to various forest school sessions and open woods events.
Today we went along to their summer open wood and were amused to see a photo of Ollie, Toby and some of their friends from a previous forest school on the front of the advertising leaflet (the boys being on adverts has become a running joke as they crop up all over the place).
The team of volunteers had laid on a fascinating exhibit of animal skulls. We were particularly impressed by the beaver skull
with teeth that could be gently drawn out to reveal an astonishing length of tooth hidden inside the skull. I knew that beavers, along with the rest of the rodent family, continually grow their teeth throughout their lives but I had never seen how much tooth was waiting in reserve inside their skull! Also the amazing skull of a woodpecker caught our attention, with a groove running along the centre where it’s tongue retracts back up onto the top of it’s skull.
The play net and tyre swing were a big hit, and the boys spent ages playing with their new friends in the mud kitchen.
There was time for a quick cuppa and a bit of cake in the discovery centre while we played a board game based around caring for pets and then we headed back on the free mini bus service back up to the Hastings Country Park car park on Lower Coastguard Road.
The next events coming up are:
Thursday 21st September Badger Watch 6pm – 7.30pm (younger children welcome at this session) £2.50 each book by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 6th October Badger Watch 5.30pm – 7pm (over 7’s to adult) £2.50 each book by e-mailing email@example.com
Autumn Open Wood Saturday 21st October 11am – 3pm FREE no need to book, includes campfire fun
Winter Open Wood Friday 8th December 4pm – &pm (last entry 6pm) FREE no need to book, includes a magical walk through the woods lit with twinkly lights and lanterns, and last year there was a visit by Santa so hopefully he may be there again.
Note there is no parking on site for open woods events – a shuttle bus runs every 10 minutes from 1st Carpark, Lower Coastguard Lane, TN35 4AB) parking there is £2 per day.
I have no affiliation with Mallydams, above details taken from Events 2017 Leaflet, check online at www.rspca.org.uk/mallydams or follow them on Facebook to check details haven’t changed if you plan to come along to one of the events.
The site is wheelchair/pushchair accessible through the first part of the woods along raised board walks. Accessible toilets available in education centre. The small onsite car park is not open to public during open woods but you could contact centre with regards disabled parking during events if you can’t manage the minibus. Refreshments provided by the volunteers are available to buy during open woods events. The wildlife hospital part of the site is not open to public tours in order to protect the welfare of the wild animals recuperating in it, but they are open to take in casualties 9am – 5pm October to march and 8am to 8pm April to September.