Youngsters have been exploring the world of Wild Things this week as part of a Halloween experience at RSPB’s Titchwell nature reserve.
With a treasure map they were able to scramble through shadowy woods and enchanted reed beds as they followed a spooky signposted trail through the reserve.
It’s part of a national campaign by the RSPB to encourage more families to engage with nature but adapted by each reserve to take into account local conditions.
Titchwell’s visitor experience manager, Carrie Carey, said: “It’s our newest campaign. Here we are doing a treasure trail.
“Children look for clues, solve the riddles and unbind the Halloween box and get a treat or a trick.”
Laminated images of wild life were hidden along the trail each with a question to answer.
They include a picture of a slimy slug, a water vole and the world’s largest bat. One head-scratching question asked how many acres are covered by the largest living organism, the ‘honey mushroom’.
The idea is that whilst searching the treasure trail youngsters will notice the world of nature at large and not just the bird life.
Ms Carey said: “All nature is entwined. If we overuse pesticides, for instance, and kill off the invertebrates birds feed on then there is less food for the birds.”
Invertebrates are living creatures without a backbone and comprise about 95% of all animal species.
To help young visitors realize the multitude of small wildlife that often goes unnoticed the reserve also hid a number of small painted rocks along the nature trail.
Searching for them makes the treasure-seekers look more closely into the undergrowth and in the process discover the lives of creepy crawlies such as ants, beetles and even dragonflies which, because of the relatively mild weather, were still in evidence at the reserve in October.