The Woodland Centre at Ruislip Lido
Next to the café near the beach at Ruislip Lido is the Woodland Centre. Ever since it was built The Ruislip Woods Trust have had an ambition to upgrade the displays and provide an exciting introduction to the Ancient Woodlands surrounding the lido.
With the help of the Colne Valley Park Landscape Partnership funding from the Heritage Lottery, Grundon’s landfill fund and Hillingdon Council this ambition has now been realized.
The Woodland Centre now has exciting interactive displays for all ages. The designers have packed a lot into the space with;
- displays on the seasons, big spinners that you can turn to show how the woods change with the seasons
- a detailed time-line putting the Woods into context with major dates in history
- story corner
- tracing tables
- a large map of the woods and walk instructions that you can photograph to take with you.
Those of you who might have fond memories of the hand painted mural, do not fear this has been repurposed and now forms and excellent educational back drop with a key to finding the creatures in the mural, peep holes for small people (or those that can get down on their knees!) to view burrows and their inhabitants and a sounds of the wood feature.
There are additional features such as microscopes and magnifiers which can be used by teachers/group leaders on class visits or by the office or volunteer on duty on quieter days.
Whilst there is a lot to interest children, the centre also packs in a lot of information that will interest adults: there is a huge selection of wildlife photos scrolling on the TV, many kindly donated by Tony Hovell and a cabinet of moths loaned to the centre by Andrew George which can be viewed on request as well as a small library on Woodland topics. Looking at a history timeline from the point of view of the Woods is also fascinating. Did you know that wood from Ruislip Woods was used to construct Windsor Castle? This was at around the same time as the Domesday Book was written.
Outside of the centre, there is a board detailing some of the key points of interest in the history of the Lido and a board encouraging people to use the Woods responsibly.
The Woodland Centre was formally opened by the Mayor of Hillingdon although we are awaiting a fixed programme of opening times for the centre. We are sure that the Council will welcome volunteer input to help them keep the centre open so if enthusing people about the woods excites you do get in touch.
The Council will have some events organized so keep an eye out for posters or on the LBH website.
Fiona from the Colne Valley Landscape Partnership has kindly offered to host a couple of exclusive open days for the Friends of Ruislip Woods ( when it is safe to do so). Invites will be sent out by email and a poster put up outside the Woodland Centre. If you would like to join one of these visits membership of the Friends of Ruislip Woods is £8 per year and you can join here: http://www.ruislipwoodstrust.org.uk/friends.htm