I'm the first to admit I am not a 'morning person'! I'm not sure I ever really thought about it until I had children and suddenly those lazy mornings of just getting yourself ready for the day, vanish into distant memory amid the chaos of, at first, nappies, feeding and generally surviving, and then later, getting yourself and everyone else up and dressed and fed and out of the door in time for work/nursery/school!
So whilst it's not the most obvious thing for me to do of a morning, I recently d-r-a-g-g-e-d (literally!) myself out of bed before dawn and took myself off to RSPB Broadwater Warren to spend a morning trying to photograph all that it has to offer.
Despite studying the weather forecast almost hourly the day before and deciding that the predicted clear skies would make an excellent sunrise backdrop, I didn't pull back the curtains until I had pretty much got ready and it was only then that the foggy landscape made itself apparent! However, I was up, AND dressed, AND ready with a thermos of tea, so I headed on out.
And, do you know what? I am SO glad I did. There is something completely calming and serene about being out in the countryside before the break of the day; to be the only person, for what feels like, miles and miles and to be able to get up really close and personal to wildlife. Despite standing within 15 feet of this deer, he didn't seem to be too scared of me, and we looked at each other for good 5 minutes while he carried on foraging and making sure I wasn't getting any closer!
Unfortunately, the misty skies didn't lend themselves to much of a sunrise, but it did provide a certain ethereal beauty to the woods and by the time I'd spent two full hours communing with nature and photographing some lovely sights, I felt about as refreshed as I've felt in a long while!
Broadwater Warren - between Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough - is a great place to visit with your family. There is free parking, and for younger families, a relatively easy (but not buggy friendly, sorry) 1.5 mile signposted nature trail that takes in heathland, woodland and the fabulous decoy pond where you might see tadpoles and frogs and beautiful dragon flies. Dogs are welcome all year round, but MUST be kept on leads from 1st February to 30th September to avoid disturbing ground nesting birds.
The RSPB suggest this walk takes 40 minutes, but if your children are anything like mine, it can take a lot longer, as there are plenty of nice spots to stop at along the way for a rest or a snack!
For families with older children, there is a 3 mile trail which gives you a real taste of the whole reserve. Take some binoculars along in case you're lucky enough to spot something exciting!
Have a look at other family friendly walks around Tunbridge Wells here.
If you're an existing fan of Broadwater Warren, or if you have only recently discovered it, I'd love to hear about your visit and what you saw there.
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