Visitors to one of the country’s top garden attractions can now go on safari after the launch of two new wildlife experiences – including the chance to take to the water and spot beavers.
A green oasis on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent, Trentham Gardens is not only popular for its famous Italian Gardens, parkland, lake, adventure playground and sculptures, but the 18th century parkland and gardens are also a natural haven for wildlife.
And as part of its growing role in helping to protect endangered native species, Trentham recently became home to England’s largest beaver enclosure after a family of the once extinct UK native species was released into the historic landscape.
The Eurasian beavers – two fully grown adults and one kit – freely roam 182 acres, including a 69-acre ‘pond’, at the former showpiece country estate, which has undergone a huge regeneration programme since re-opening to the public in 2004.
Back after a 200-year absence, the re-introduction of beavers to the Estate follows the release last summer of hundreds of water voles around the lake, helping bring the riverside mammals back from the brink of extinction in Staffordshire.
Now visitors are being given the opportunity to discover more about the wild side of Trentham, thanks to two new tours – a wildlife cruise and a daytime wildlife safari.
For a guided cruise around the scenic Capability Brown Lake, visitors can hop aboard Trentham’s electric catamaran, Miss Elizabeth, to discover more about wildlife, including the recent arrivals of water voles and beavers.
While, of course, beaver sightings are not guaranteed, the lake is also a haven for birdlife, with native waterfowl and gulls along with a family of Black Swans who have settled and now breed at Trentham.
The cruise, with an on-board expert wildlife ranger, will also offer views from the water of the island Heronry – home to more than 40 breeding pairs – as well as cormorant nesting sites.
Scheduled to run every Wednesday until 25 October 2023, the tour costs £5 per person, with no charge for under threes, on top of normal gardens admission (£13 adults, £9.50 children, 3-15 years, and £39 for a family, two adults and two children).
For some land-based wildlife spotting, daytime safaris will see groups head out on foot to discover the sights, sounds and signs of wildlife within the 186-acre beaver enclosure. Led by a wildlife expert, who will point out the signs of the beavers’ work and reveal more details about Trentham’s rewilding and conservation projects, sightings should include a range of birds and insects.
Running on 7 and 14 June, the daytime wildlife safari costs £37.50 for adults and children over 12 years and includes binocular hire and wildlife spotter sheet as well as admission to the gardens.
For more details about Trentham’s wildlife tours, see https://bit.ly/42CKyhg
General tourist information on Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries can be found at www.visitstoke.co.uk