To keep thing simple I have posted Michaels report of this years festival so that you get a good idea of what happened and what we all saw so here goes and a huge thanks to Michael and his brilliant team of volunteers for all of their help. The event raised nearly £1800 for the Trust.

Each summer Sussex Wildlife Trust teams up with The Secret Campsite near Barcombe in East Sussex to put on a 3-day wildlife extravaganza – The Secret Wildlife Festival. It’s a great opportunity for people to spend the weekend immersed in a beautiful corner of Sussex. The campsite is packed with wildlife and is surrounded by woodlands, ponds and fields. This year’s event sold out quickly and on Friday 3rd July the campers started to arrive and pitch their tents.

Sussex Wildlife Trust had laid on a packed schedule of events to keep everyone occupied throughout the weekend – moth traps, bat detecting, herbal foraging, small mammal surveys, children’s woodcraft, bug hunts, guided walks and much more. There was always something happening to get involved with.

There were plenty of wildlife highlights for the campers. The moth traps were full of incredible species from the large hawkmoths to the always popular buff-tip. There were some unusual moths in the traps too like theblackneck, four-spotted footman, four-dotted footman and Brussel’s lace.In the evening there were glow-worms, bats and tawny owls around the camp. The small mammal survey put two competitive teams against each other – although we caught more molluscs than mammals. In the neighbouring wood we found the first gatekeeper, silver-washed fritillaryand white admiral of the summer. Pond dipping provided us with newts, frogs and a huge toad as well as dragonfly and damselfly larvae.

For me one of the highlights of this event is arming children with nets and pots and allowing them to run wild around the campsite collecting insects for identification.

I’m always impressed with their knowledge but this year they seemed even smarter! – they didn’t need me to identify the bush crickets, shieldbugs, ladybirds and moths they were catching. They’re going to put me out of a job! Over the weekend we recorded all the wildlife we saw on huge sheets in the festival HQ and we put together quite a list. It seemed hard for some of the children to leave on the Sunday and some families were already asking to book for next year’s event. As always it was a fantastic weekend – thank you to everyone who came along and helped out. We’ll do it all again in 2016.

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