12 May 2015

All of Pre-prep has been fascinated to start learning about minibeasts in the classroom, but it is nothing to getting outside and seeing the real thing, and we did see a LOT when visiting Wittenham Clumps today.

We had an aim to find a bug we had never seen before and our expectations were exceeded. In fact our Y2 teacher, Steve, said in all the years he has been involved in the big outdoors he has never seen so much variety of species in one place!

First we explored the Clumps itself climbing up the high hill where we could see the whole of Oxfordshire and most boys thought they spotted their mummy waving from a window! Despite the cows munching around us, we all zoomed down the hill as fast as we could ready to start exploring the meadow. We used nets to catch the bugs in the grass, at first we couldn’t see anything but we were amazed when we looked closely in the nets and found we had caught all sorts of flies, bugs, beetles and even a spider. We were being watched from the sky by a magnificent kestrel who circled around us.

Then into the woods where most of the minibeasts we found had legs, hundreds of legs! They were hiding underneath logs, branches, leaves, anywhere that was dark as rotting wood is their favourite thing to munch on, yum yum!

Finally after taking notice of the sign on the gate that said ‘Danger deep water, all children must be supervised' we entered cautiously into the pond area. We were shown how to sweep the net through the water and empty it into the observation tray. You will not believe the amount of creatures we caught, from quite large (crested newt) and water snails to miniscule water beetles and water mites! Using a magnifying glass and a bug catching spoon we closely observed how they moved and used an identification guide to name them.

We were all amazed by what wildlife we discovered, right here only a few miles from school. We all thought it was the best trip ever, and be warned parents as you may be requested to go back for a return visit soon and challenged to run up and down the Clumps!

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