Wildwood Discovery Park is set in ancient woodland near Herne Bay, a short drive from our Broadstairs holiday lets, with bears, wolves and many other animals as well as a fantastic adventure playground for the young ones, it’s a great day out for anyone who loves nature.
It takes about half an hour to drive to Wildwood from Broadstairs (directions below) – if you don’t have your own transport take a bus or train to Herne Bay and then the ‘Triangle’ bus will take you straight to the park gates – and there are special offers for bus users if you choose to travel that way, just see the Wildwood website for info. There’s lots of free parking on site if you drive.
On entering you are greeted first with the family friendly cafe with seating outside and in and a good range of refreshments and basic meals – baked potatoes and a selection of fillings will fill you up if you’re properly hungry – otherwise there are plenty of snacks to choose from plus hot and cold drinks and ice creams.
Adjacent to the cafe there’s the adventure playground which includes the tallest drop slide in Europe. We suggest you see the animals first and then finish off at the playground if the kids still have some energy left – and you’ll be glad of a cuppa by then! There are also several small enclosures around the seating area featuring interesting creatures such as tortoises, grass snakes, hedgehogs and rabbits (don’t worry, they’re all kept apart!)
Wander off into the park and you’ll soon be transfixed by the larger animals – the bison is enormous, the black storks so elegant, the foxes will watch you watching them and you may catch them sunning themselves on a roof in their enclosure. Wash your hands after you’ve visited the wallabies and goats – there’s a sink and soap there and notices to explain that’s very important. The lynx may fix you with a baleful glare, the Scottish Wildcat looks disarmingly like a common tabby but bigger and infinitely fiercer with his distinctive black tipped tail. The bears and wolves are the most exciting but the elk with his funny face and the pretty red deer, like bambi, are also wonderful to see, likewise the wild horses, beaver, badgers and…. well lets just say there are a lot more animals there than we can possibly list and you might not spot them all but you will see plenty for sure, whenever you visit! The owls are spectacular – and there are many other interesting birds as well. Don’t miss the avocets and the clever ravens.
The above wolf photo was taken by us as we sat in front of a glass panel looking in to the wolves enclosure. We were lucky, it was feeding time and a big chunk of meat was placed right in front of our camera to tempt the wolf to pose for us. They are in fact very shy animals and it took its time coming over while we were sitting there!
It’s a wonderful peaceful place to stroll as well, there’s no traffic sound, just the wind rustling the trees and soft woodland floor to walk on.
Each enclosure has an information board giving the natural history of each animal, explaining their conservation status, what they eat, how they like to live and giving details of their usual habitat and where they can be found across the world. Some are now extinct in the UK and the Wildwood Trust is very actively involved in programmes to conserve and reintroduce wildlife to our country and internationally. Some of the boards are interactive and you can test your knowledge before finding out the answers to questions about the animals.
There are frequent talks about the wildlife by the knowledgeable conservation staff at the park who are all very friendly, you will see times advertised on blackboards at the entrance and also outside the enclosures of the relevant animals. You can also discover some of the animals’ stories and see lots of lovely photos on the Trust Facebook page.
The two European brown bears’ background is terribly sad as they were badly abused, in Bulgaria, where they had been bred for hunting, before being saved and brought to Wildwood. But it is wonderful to see how happy and content they seem now in comparison to their sorry selves just two years ago when they first arrived. When we visited last week we saw them right up close, snuffling around in the grass, seeming very relaxed with us watching and it was absolutely magical. If you are braver than we were you can even take a tree top walk over the bears’ enclosure and look down on them from above.
We are very happy to be able to share this super video showing their story, as featured on BBC The One Show (this also shows the tree top walk).
Entrance costs are shown on the Wildwood website and include a small voluntary donation to support their conservation work.
Directions: To get to Wildwood from Broadstairs head towards Herne Bay and London on the A299 then at the Herne Bay exit off the main road turn left at the roundabout, towards Canterbury, then just follow the Canterbury Road (A291) until you come to the park. It’s very straightforward, though the park sound a note of caution about sat-nav devices which they say can sometimes misdirect: On the A291 look out for the Wildwood sign with the Wolf at the Wealden Forest Business Park, between Herne Common and Broad Oak and follow signs to the entrance.
Address: Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7LQ
Now give us your best growling or howling animal impersonation and mark on your calendar what day you’re going to go to Wildwood when you stay with us in Broadstairs! We are sure it will be a highlight of your holiday here in Kent, the Garden of England. Check for our Broadstairs holiday lets accommodation availability on our home page.Tags: adventure playgroundanimalsbearsconservationkentwildwoodwolveswoodland