The Wildlife Warriors Trail with Discover Brightwater

 Disclosure - I worked with Discover Brightwater Social Media campaign in October 2020. I have not been asked or paid to write this post. 

Trails and walks are always popular with my readers and today, I am sharing something a little bit different which has been launched by Discover Brightwater this autumn. 

The Wildlife Warriors Trail is part of Discover Brightwater which is a landscape partnership funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project focuses on the areas surrounding the River Skerne in County Durham. I love their motto which is, 

"Restore, reveal and celebrate life around the River Skerne"

Lots of work to restore the areas surrounding the river has already been completed - you can read about some of the work which has already been completed and more ideas for days out in the area here. 

This Autumn, Discover Brightwater has launched a 'Wildlife Warriors' trail & interactive activities. It is completely free to join in (there is a small admission charge for Head of Steam and may be parking charges at some locations) and something that you can spread out across the year as a family challenge in your own time. 

There are six 'Wildlife Warriors' to find across six different sites. At time of publishing, a couple of these do still need to be placed in their locations still so please check out the website before heading out. Visits to Head of Steam and Locomotion both currently need to be pre-booked : 

  • Brodney the Badger at Bishops Fen
  • Ondine the Otter at Darlington South Park 
  • Hali the Hedgehog at Head of Steam Darlington 
  • Fen the Frog near Darlington Town Hall 
  • Brook the Bee at Locomotion Shildon 
  • Skerney the Swan at Hardwick Park 
Simply head to your preferred location and hunt for your Wildlife Warrior. Once you have found them, help to spread the word on social media using #DiscoverBrightwater 

Each Wildlife Warrior has its own QR code which you can scan. This will share interesting facts about the animal, why they are a Wildlife Warrior and fun competitions for you to enter. 

I love that this experience is more than just a trail where you need to find things, each warrior has their own webpage with additional activities you can enjoy too. A brilliant and immersive way to get children involved in caring about their local environment. 

Once you are back at home, re-visit your Wildlife Warrior's webpage (you can see them all here). Each page is packed with info, crafts and tasks and features a hidden clue. Find all of the Warrior's clues and crack a hidden code then submit your answer for your chance to win a fab prize prize. 

Skerney the Swan at Hardwick Park

Familiarise yourself with Skerney the Swan at Hardwick Park's webpage before heading out for info including.........
  • Information about visiting Hardwick Park, an address and what else there is to do there (including a recommendation for their homemade soup).
  • Interesting facts about Mute Swans including vital statistics and how to identify them.
  • A linked craft idea including activity sheet to download (this one is to create a moving river scene). 
  • A fun fact you can impress your kids with
  • Information on some of the work that is still to come (in this case, a new wooden sculpture trail will be launched in Hardwick Park in Spring 2021 - a good reason to come back). 
Skerney the Swan can be found it the play area at Hardwick Park. We scanned the QR code, made a note of the clue (we are going to try and find all six clues and enter the competition), read up on some swan facts before having a play in the park and enjoying an autumnal walk. 

This was our first trip to Hardwick Park and I absolutely loved it. The walk around the lakes is accessible and flat (just over a mile circular route), there are ducks, geese and swans aplenty (buy duck food from the cafe for 50p), a wild woodland area with a Gruffalo and insect hotel, beautiful scenery, an augmented dinosaur trail (download the love exploring app), three small play areas, a Rapunzel tower, a lovely cafe serving takeaway food (all homemade and lush) and more. You can read more about our trip to Hardwick Park here. 

I highly recommend visiting, finding Skerney the Swan and enjoying the wider park. Here are a couple of photos from our trip: 

Fen the Frog near Darlington Town Hall 

Fen the Frog is by the River Skerne near Darlington Town Hall. You can walk here from Head of Steam (it should take 20 mins ish). 

If you scan the QR code you will find a fun craft activity (build your own model pond), fun facts and the code (collect them all an

Ondine the Otter at Darlington South Park 

This was our first visit to South Park and what a lovely place it is! There were loads of squirrels, beautiful walks, a lake, river, aviary and play park. Ondine the Otter is just over the bridge. 

Scan the QR code to reveal the hidden code, discover Otter facts and learn how to draw an Otter. 

Hali the Hedgehog at Head of Steam Darlington 

Hali the Hedgehog is inside the Head of Steam museum. At the moment, visits should be pre-booked. It's a lovely little place with trains to spot, interactive exhibitions, museum trails and a mini trail play area outside. 

Scan the QR code to discover the hidden code word, Hedgehog facts and a craft idea (create a leaf tree - you will find lots of leaves just outside of the museum). 

Follow the signs and enjoy a short walk to Skerne Bridge - the oldest working railway bridge in the world! You can enjoy a walk along the river from here. 

We still have Brook the Bee and Brodny the Badger to find! Find out more about Wildlife Warriors here:

Follow Discover Brightwater on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram for Wildlife Warriors competitions and news and if you take part in the trail, don't forget to share your photos using #DiscoverBrightwater 

Read next: 

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Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Remember face coverings are required for indoor attractions / shops for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 


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