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One of the enchanted creatures at Mallydams Wood

One of the enchanted creatures at Mallydams Wood (photo by ZR).

Magical Mallydams

Apart from dropping off injured birds of various varieties, I’ve not been to the RSPCA Mallydams Centre at Fairlight to explore the acres of land they have there.  The summer Open Wood Day gave me the opportunity – and I’m glad I went along, writes HOT’s Zelly Restorick.

The branches of The Dream Tree Photo by Emma

The branches of the Dream Tree (photo by Mallydams volunteer, Emma Frankish Law).

In my lifetime, I have wandered through lots of woods, but these seemed somehow different; somehow they were incredibly, enchantingly, truly magical. The 22 hectares of Mallydams Wood were gifted to the RSPCA in 1961 by local art teacher and animal lover Horace Edward Quick to “benefit all living things.” Originally, Horace bought the wood to protect it from the previous owner’s ‘fell and sell’ policy – and then bequeathed it to the Society, believing they shared his values and principles of woodland conservation, education and wild animal rehabilitation.

Play Tent in the Wood Photo by Emma

Play tent in the Wood (Photo by Emma Frankish Law).

Four hundred and twenty two different animal species have been found living in or visiting the woods over the years, along with 17 species of birds and 299 species of insects including 204 different moths.

Within the animal rescue centre, all the species are either injured, sick or too young to be released back into the wild. Here they receive specialized care and attention – and have the peace and quiet necessary for their recovery and eventual release back into their native habitats.

Mad Hatters Tea Party amongst the trees Photo by ZR

Mad Hatter's Tea Party (photo by ZR).

On site there’s also an extensive education centre and café – with courses running throughout the year and four annual Open Wood Days, when the public can wander around most of the site and find out more about what the RSPCA and other local wildlife groups are doing.

Along with the staff members, volunteers play a huge role in serving the centre, the creatures who live within the woods and those who need rehabilitation and rescue. Well worth a visit.

Dates for your diary! Mallydams Open Wood Days 2014

Autumn Open Wood
Saturday 11 October 11am – 3pm (last entry 2.30pm). Enjoy a wander through the autumn leaves and bring something to toast on the woodland fire.

Festive Open Wood
Saturday 13 December 3pm – 6pm. Enjoy a wander through the magical, festive woodland, sit by the Christmas campfire and have a hot drink and a mince pie in the tea room.

Mallydams Wood website here for more information and location.

Posted 16:18 Sunday, Aug 10, 2014 In: Home Ground

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