• Matt Kendall: FujiXplorer

Go and join your local Wildlife Trust! - Autumn at the Wolseley Centre

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

I tend to always travel far and wide for new places to go and walk or photograph - and like many of us I never really consider what is on my own doorstep thinking that the grass is greener (or the mountains bigger) on the other side.

Whilst the second part of that might be true with having to travel to the Lakes, the Peak District or Wales for the hill walking I love, there are so many hidden (well to me anyway!) local gems harbouring all sorts of wonderful wildlife and amazing scenery to visit.

It was only at our local food and drink festival in Stone this summer that I got chatting to a lovely chap at the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust stand called Dave who introduced me to what was on offer within the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust area for just £3.75 a month (for two adults). It is a fantastic and cheap way to provide endless days out for you (and a partner if you have one) and even the kids/family. The welcome pack you get is thoughtfully put together and is jam packed with useful information. There are local Wildlife Trusts to join all over the U.K. so there is no excuse wherever you are!

For less than a pint of beer a month I now have free access to 26 fantastic nature reserves across Staffordshire as well as woodland. Not only that but you get yourself a fancy car sticker, 3 wildlife magazines a year and regular news on what's going on in the area. You also get the rather warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing you are helping with conservation and protection of nature/wildlife on your doorstep.

The first place I chose to visit was the Wolseley Centre. It seemed to be known for Kingfisher spotting so I hoped to capture one (by camera not by net!). Unfortunately it wasn't to be - but I did bag some great Autumnal shots with its amazing colour like this one...

Autumn leaves at the Wolseley Centre

The walk around the Wolseley Centre was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon exploring with the camera. A brilliant place for reflection (get it?) when walking past the river too!

Time to reflect

Not far from the river as you walk past, there is a sweet little bird hide on the right which sits a handful of people to watch a couple of bird feeders and the lake opposite. During my visit I got to watch a couple of hungry birds feeding from it which was relaxing and a peaceful way to spend 20 minutes or so. This place really does have it all in 26 acres of grounds, and is a nature lovers paradise. I couldn't believe I had never looked closer to home for days out walking and exploring with my camera.

Hungry birds

The Wolseley Centre is such a pretty place that really comes into its own in Autumn, but would be a very pretty place to walk at all times of year with its natural sculptures, boardwalk, wildlife friendly display gardens and woodland. The wooden board walk was one of my favourite sections of the walk

Where will it lead?

The walk was finished with a very much needed hot chocolate at the visitor centre which is currently quite small (but friendly), however it is due to undergo a transformation between 5th November and March 2019. Building works are being completed to expand the visitor centre - including the addition a large cafe which will be very welcome and a great addition (the grounds will remain open).

The £3.75 membership cost a month was well worth it for this trip alone and I now cannot wait to get out and see more of the hidden gems in Staffordshire. I will return to Wolseley in the hope of photographing an elusive Kingfisher!

We all love a Dave, but I really do thank the one who kindly talked me over to the Wildlife Trust stand at Stone Food and Drink festival this year as he has opened my eyes to a whole new set of wonderful places to visit and photograph!

Go sign up to your local Wildlife Trust ASAP as you will not regret it one little bit with places like these to explore!

Where will you decide to explore?


Wolseley Wildlife Centre (Rugely, Staffordshire, ST17 0WT)


01889 880 100




Visitors are free to park outside the gates (the car park closes at 4:15pm weekdays and weekends but there is a large car park which works on a donation basis for parking rather than set fees which I think is a novel idea.

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