Winchester Science Centre

As the forecast was rain during much of our week away we planned for days out that had both indoors and outdoor areas. Alice has shown a good interest in space as a topic over the last year so the science centre and planetarium seemed a choice.

On arrival, Alice was very excited about the bins. I think she possibly enjoyed them enough to justify the price of admission. When she was asked what here favourite parts were at the end of the day the bins were mentioned.

The main exhibit area upstairs had lots of displays around the science of sound. Lots the kids can get their hands on and lots of visual displays of how sounds travel.

The planetarium show was great fun. We were shown several key constellations and then taken on a journey through the planets.

There were several displays downstairs showing visual illusions. Tricks of the mind. The little/big room was like an Alice in Wonderland illustration with the room appearing normal but shrinking in the corners.

In the middle is a space for experiments. They had different shows about every half an hour or so. Here they built up pressure in the tubes to fire socks up to the roof. Alice watched and cheered along.

Alice picked her souvenir, a space ted which she showed around the space are.

A Lego model of how we move around the sun.

The outside area had been set up for a butterfly trail but it was a bit wet so there weren’t many to be found.

A gatepkeeper sheltering on yarrow.

A caterpillar hiding on scabiosa.

It was starting to get busy when we left just after lunch but we’d had plenty of time to go around the centre. It kept Alice’s attention well and she came away happy. Well worth a trip to.

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Hengistbury Head

We have returned from house sitting in Doset. We’ve had a lovely week down there looking after a house in Christchurch and over the next few blogs I’ll be recounting our adventures. The journey down was painfully slow. You can really tell more people are staying in the UK this year. But it was well worth the journey.

After our day of travel we headed off to Mudeford Quay. We have visited before when Alice was a tiny toddler and could only manage a short burst of walking so it was nice to return. Mudeford Quay is a stopping point to get on the ferry to Hengistbury Head. Hengistbury Head has every nature title going for it. It’s a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is also a Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area, an Environmentally Sensitive Area and a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. There are many critically endangered insects found here. We have usually been in the rain so seen none of the things that make it significant. The quay is filled with lots of crab and lobster pots. The sparrows and starlings were clambering all over and stealing the odd scrap from tourists.

The ferry goes back and forth between Mudeford and Hengistbury. It’s probably only ten/twenty metres across the water to the headland of Hengistbury though it’s fast flowing. But it’s a nice little loop across and going on a boat is an adventure in itself for a five year old.

Hengistbury has lots of holiday lets along the beach section. The beach is sandy and covered in shells. There are patches of wild plants along the beach. Some like ragwort I see regularly then a few less common to us like Crambe martima, sea kale

Alice’s legs can handle us going a bit further these days and she was in a fairly cheerful mood, though she puts on daft expressions any time she’s asked to pose for a photo.

She’s also rubbish at looking in the right direction.

It’s the first time we’ve made it along the beach to go up the cliff top. Here is the view back along the beach.

Along the top heathers predominate. Alice’s legs weren’t up for walking any further but it was good to make it further than previous visits.

A patch of honeysuckle.

Ragwort was attracting more than anything else. There was a lot of soldier beetles around.

We saw a few of the cinnabar moth caterpillars. I’ve not seen many this year so good to know they are still around.

And a strange something.

Gatekeepers were probably the commonest butterfly we saw throughout the holiday.

And a white. Ragwort really is a great plant for insects. It supports so much.

We made it back across on the ferry to the carpark just as the rain started. It was nice to visit and see the area in slightly dryer weather than previously and make it a bit further along. There is still more to explore if we return. I’ll be looking at some more of our holiday over the next few days. It’s been nice being away but good to be back at home and my own garden.

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