Go Wild at Your School

Go Wild at Your School

Outreach programmes for Foundation, KS1 & 2

Why not ‘Go Wild’ in your school grounds with your local Wildlife Trust?

Find out more

Visit the Nature Discovery Centre

The Nature Discovery Centre is the perfect day out for all the family whatever you prefer to do. Walk, feed the ducks or let off steam in the adventure playground, there's something for everyone!

Contact us

For more information about any of our education programmes or to book, please contact us on 01635 874381 or berkshireeducation@bbowt.org.uk

Minibeast safari by Helen Walsh

We look forward to seeing your school at the Nature Discovery Centre soon!

Bring a group

We welcome visits from other groups. Take a look at our Bring your Group page to see our exciting programmes or contact us on 01635 874381 or ndc@bbowt.org.uk.

Family Fun

Nut hunting by BBOWT

We run various family events throughout the year during school holidays.

Nature Discovery Centre

Nature Discovery Centre

The Nature Discovery Centre offers a great day out for all the family.

This fantastic visitor centre is packed full of interactive wildlife and natural history displays. There is a network of footpaths ranging from small family-friendly walks to longer paths for the more adventurous, and the bird hide offers a perfect opportunity to watch the world go by. 

My Wild Neighbourhood

Photo by Phillip Shaw Hamilton

Thank you to The Southern Co-operative who are helping local children discover nature by supporting our Nature Tots programme in Berkshire!

With the help of The Southern Co-operative, the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust is helping families to get outside and explore our wild neighbourhoods. Whether you live in a town or the country there are new wildlife experiences waiting to be discovered right on your doorstep. Spending time in green spaces makes us happier and healthier - and best of all is good fun.

Discover more and share your experiences on Twitter at #MyWildNeighbourhood.

Environmental Education at the Nature Discovery Centre

Managed on behalf of

A journey of learning and discovery at the Nature Discovery Centre

Welcome to the Nature Discovery Centre

Explore the beautiful reserve which is teeming with wildlife. The network of habitats includes lakes, woodlands, hedges, grassland and specially-protected areas of inland reedbeds which are the largest of their kind in Southern England. It’s a fascinating place to visit year-round.

Discover that whatever the season, The Nature Discovery Centre is the ideal place to visit for a day of learning outside the classroom. Our schools programme provides exciting hands-on opportunities for children to experience a magical learning adventure.

Understand why there has never been a more important time to take children outdoors to enjoy nature and reconnect with the natural world. Our activities are planned to reach children through their heads, hearts and hands to promote all-round understanding.

We are open for pre-booked groups all year round. Trips usually run from 10–2.30, but can be flexible. We request a donation of £7 per child (£4.50 for half day programmes). Minimum donation per group £120. The reserve is open to the public daily, and the Nature Discovery Centre is open to the public daily except Mondays.

Our programmes

All our programmes offer links with Science and Geography, and excellent opportunities for developing literacy and numeracy skills. Each programme will be tailored to the age and ability of your group. There will be a variety of activities to help children learn in different ways, with lots of opportunities for hands-on engagement at a range of levels. We provide high quality indoor and outdoor resources, including varied teaching spaces, specialist science equipment and a diversitu of habitats. Sessions are enjoyable, inspiring, exciting and fun.


Teddy Bears’ Woodland Adventure

Foundation Stage & Key Stage 1

Children are invited by Teddy Edward to bring their teddies to have an adventure in the woods and learn the secrets of how wild animals survive. Put on a teddy disguise and help save the trees from the woodcutter! Exciting hands-on activities build confidence in being outdoors and help children understand the needs of life. Create a rainbow teddy using the colours of the woodland to take home.


Sensational Senses 

 Reception and KS1

Experience the world through the eyes, noses, ears and paws of different animals. Discover how moles find their way in the dark and learn about sparrowhawks' keen eyesight. Find out about badgers' brilliant sense of smell and foxes' fantastic sense of hearing. Take part in a sensory scavenger hunt or a production of 'Nature's Theatre' and hold baby insects to see their unusual sense organs close up!




Spectacular Seasons

Reception and KS1

Choose from 'Spring into Spring', 'Summer Fun' and ' Getting Ready for Winter'. Learn about the cycle of the seasons and the important changes taking place in the natural world. Explore, through fun games, hands-on activities, role play and art, ways in which animals and plants adjust to the ever-changing environment.


Minibeast Marvels

Early Years, KS1 and KS2

Meet a medley of minibeasts and learn what makes them different from the other animals at the Nature Discovery Centre.                                           Options for Early Years include: bug hunts, stories, learning to care for the little creatures, counting minibeast body parts and creative fun.                    KS1 and KS2 options include: invertebrate identification (keys), lifecycles, pollination, food chains and adaptations.




Habitat Safari

 Key Stage 1 & 2

Get first-hand experience of the creatures that live in The Nature Discovery Centre’s varied habitats. Catch minibeasts in the meadow with sweep nets, use bug-hunting kits in the woodland and go pond-dipping. Learn how to identify and name your catch! Find out about food chains and about how animals are suited to the place they live.


Fantastic Plants

Upper KS1 and KS2

Learn about the life cycle for plants: explore the woodland to find seeds and discover how they are dispersed; make a paper plant pot and sow seeds to watch them grow at school; dissect flowers to find eggs and pollen, then dress up as a bee to pollinate a flower. The session also introduces tree identification using charts and keys in our 'Secret Names of Trees' game.


Water World

Upper KS1 and KS2

Discover a world of wetland creatures and watery features  exploring the Nature Discovery Centre's lakes, streams and pond. Children can enjoy an exciting walk between lake and stream exploring 'the journey of a river'. Find footprints in Butterfly Lake to identify which animals use and live in the water world and pond dip to see the aqutatic species close up. Scienfic investigations in Cold Ash stream include velocity, temperature and kick sampling.

Contact us

For more information on any of the programmes or to book please contact us on 01635 874381 or berkshireeducation@bbowt.org.uk.

Where to find us

The Nature Discovery Centre
Muddy Lane, Lower Way
West Berkshire
RG19 3FU

The Centre is off Lower Way in Thatcham, easily accessible from the A4 and close to Newbury. Postcode: RG19 3FU.

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What's on

Home Educators' Day at Woolley Firs

Wednesday 18th July 2018,
10.00am - 2.00pm

Venue: Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre

Come and join us for a fun, summer's day of indoor and outdoor wildlife-themed activities, from pond dipping and crafts at our education centre to a 'farm bingo' challenge around our beautiful site. BOOKING ESSENTIAL

See all events

Family Wildlife Watch

Wildlife Watch is an exciting way to explore your surroundings and get closer to the wildlife you share it with!

Find out more about Family Watch memberships.

Join Wildlife Watch

Start discovering your local wildlife!

To join the Wildlife Watch scheme please use our secure online direct debit form or call our Membership team on 01865 788300.