Murder on the Marsh... and hear about the birds and the bees

From: Natural England
Published: Mon May 22 2023

Host of events in Kent during National Nature Reserves Week.

The first-ever week to celebrate national nature reserves is underway, with people in Kent encouraged to get out and about and explore nature in 1 of the county's 11 main NNRs.

The nature reserves boast a unique tapestry of flora, fauna and geological wonders and are home to more than 17,000 species, spanning 106,000 hectares of protected habitat across every corner of England - approximately 0.7% of the country's land surface.

National Nature Reserves Week runs from 20-29 May with a series of events across England aimed at getting residents and visitors to appreciate nature more.

Next Saturday, 27 May, you can play detective in a “murder” mystery at Stodmarsh NNR near Canterbury by helping to solve the clues while learning about ecosystems. There'll be 3 hunts for clues on the day. The hour-long event is free, but you need to book.

If you want something less taxing, perhaps, buzz over to Ham Street Woods NNR, south of Ashford, on Monday of next week, 22 May, to learn how to identify bees with the help of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. It's free to get with the bees!

There are 2 events at Dungeness NNR: a free guided walk organised by the Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership. Let's hope for good weather as you'll have a great view of the English Channel while you take in the air…

… then on Saturday 27 May, also run by the Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, you can find out more about the birds and the bees… around Dungeness NNR under the guidance of an official ranger.

Finally, if you love wildflower meadows in summer, book a place on a wildflower workshop at the RSPB nature reserve at Lydd on the morning of Sunday 28 May. You'll learn how to name different types of wildflowers, how they contribute to the environment, and how to look after them in your own garden.

Marian Spain, chief executive of Natural England, said:

I am delighted to come together with our partners to launch National Nature Reserves Week - a chance for all of us to celebrate England's remarkable wildlife and natural habitats.

National nature reserves have, for decades, played a vital role in conserving various species of plants and animals, but also provided an outdoor space for research and education, and opportunities to access, enjoy and engage with our natural heritage.

Whether you are visiting for the first time, or it's a part of your daily walk, I invite everyone to explore 1 of the 221 national nature reserves nationwide and see what's on offer.

This new annual 10-day celebration will help to raise awareness of the critical role these reserves play in combatting climate change, boosting nature recovery, and preserving endangered species.

It is hoped that it will inspire a new generation of nature champions and comes as Natural England celebrates the coronation with a new ‘King's Series' of 25 NNR declarations over the next five years, to support nature recovery and meet the ambitions of the Government's Environmental Improvement Plan.

The announcement follows Natural England marking 70 years since the first NNRs were declared last year. Since then, England's national nature reserves have continued to play a crucial role in protecting nature and are now at the heart of a growing nature recovery network - providing homes for different species of animals, birds, and plants to thrive.

Research has shown that NNRs managed by Natural England offer huge value for money, with a wide range of economic, environmental and societal benefits totalling £36 million.

A full list of National Nature Reserves in Kent and the South East:

Notes to Editors:

Murder on the Marsh: A Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve Murder Mystery by Natural England There has been a murder at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve! Can you follow the clues and find the killer? Put your detective skills to the test and help us solve the murder mystery on the reserve! Learn more about our ecosystem and work together by gathering evidence to help us identify the killer before they strike again! Who will it be??? Running 3 times on Saturday 27 May at 10am-11am, 11:30am-12:30pm and 1pm-2pm Free, booking required: Stodmarsh NNR, Stodmarsh, Canterbury CT3 4BA. There is additional pay and display parking by the Grove Ferry Inn, Grove Ferry Road, Canterbury CT3 4BP

Bumblebee Identification Training Day at Ham Street Woods National Nature Reserve by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Natural England. Training day for bumblebee identification. A full day of training indoors and outdoors to learn about the bumblebees on the NNR and even get involved in the long term transect on the site. Monday 22 May from 10am-4pm. Free, booking advised. The public can find out more from Piers Griffin on Ham Street Wood NNR, 3 Bourne Lane, Ham Street, Ashford TN26 2HH

The Wildlife of Dungeness Point by Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership A guided walk with Owen Leyshon from the Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership A wildlife packed guided walk taking in a part of the larger Dungeness National Nature Reserve. It will be an opportunity to learn about the landscape, look at the unique flowers, insects and birdlife and take a view out into the English Channel at this busy time of the year for both wildlife and people. Walk lasts 2.5 hours. This walk will involve some walking across loose shingle, so please wear shoes suitable for this terrain.
Sunday 21 May 2pm to 4:30pm. Free, no booking required. Dungeness NNR, Romney Marsh TN29 9NE

The Birds and Bees of Dungeness National Nature Reserve by Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership A guided walk with Steff D'Agorne from the Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership A circular walk across the buzzing landscape of Dungeness NNR with Ranger Steff. She will be catching bees and other insects in a bug net as you walk and keeping an ear out for any unusual birds that may be found along the way. Walk lasts 2.5 hours. This walk will involve some walking across loose shingle, so please wear shoes suitable for this terrain.
Saturday from 27 May from 10am to 12:30pm Free, no booking required. Dungeness NNR, Romney Marsh TN29 9NE

RSPB Do you have a passion for wildflowers, wildlife gardening and the smells of meadows in summer? Our Wildflower ID workshops are perfect for you! Come and spend a morning around our unique nature reserve with a knowledgeable guide to teach you how to spot and identify wildflowers of all different varieties, their benefits to pollinators and the ecosystem and how to garden for wildlife effectively at home. Sunday 28 May, from 10am-1pm £4.50-£12.50 Booking required:

RSPB Dungeness Reserve, Boulderwall Farm, Dungeness Road, Lydd TN29 9PN

Company: Natural England

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