Today we visited College Lake Nature Reserve which is located in Bulbourne in Buckinghamshire close to Tring.
Its managed by the Wildlife Trust and was a former chalk quarry which has now been converted into a nature reserve which is home to over 1000 different forms of wildlife.
The reserve is completely free to visit and there is plenty of on site parking.
You enter through a visitors centre which has a lovely little shop and information about the site and there is also a cafe which sells lunches, coffees and ice creams etc.
When we arrived a lady asked us if it was our first visit and then talked us through the site and the different paths that you can take. We opted for the full two mile circular walk but there were shorter options than that.
The lady told us about mammoth tusks and ammonites that have been found at the site and explained how millions of years ago the area was under a tropical sea.. She also showed us a list of wildlife that had been spotted recently at the reserve. We found all the staff to be extremely friendly and great at engaging the children.
As you head round the reserve there are various viewpoints and hides that you can take a break at which give great views of the site. There is also a variety of different areas such as wildflower meadows, woodlands and marshes etc to explore.
One of the first areas we came to was a woodland glade which had a totem pole, a wooden bear and carved badgers in it. From there we headed towards an interesting hut which had animals skulls and horns and fossils in it which you were free to handle and the boys found interesting. There was a small second hand book shop in this area.
The visitors centre had details of various events they have on over the summer holidays and the lady working there said they are always popular and very hands on.
We had a lovely morning here and I'd say you need about 2 hours for a full visit.