The Wind in the Willows Sculpture Trail

Wednesday 1st April 2015

Hanningfield Reservoir nature reserve - Becky GibsonHanningfield Reservoir nature reserve - Becky Gibson

New themed attraction opens at Essex Wildlife Trust’s Hanningfield Reservoir.

An exciting new, permanent trail has opened at Essex Wildlife Trust’s Hanningfield Reservoir visitor centre.

The Wind in the Willows Sculpture & Brass Rubbing Trail features stunning, large-scale wooden sculptures of characters from Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved book The Wind in the Willows, first published in 1908. All the favourite characters are there: Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger – as well as two dastardly Weasels.

The trail follows paths through the stunning woodland of the Trust nature reserve, with fantastic views of the reservoir (which is owned by Essex & Suffolk Water). People can purchase trail guides in the Trust’s visitor centre and then embark in Mole’s footsteps, into the ‘Wild Wood’, to seek out the sculptures. Beside each sculpture is a brass rubbing, from which people can fill in images of the characters on spaces in the guide, by using the crayons provided.

The Trail opened to the public on Saturday 28 March, before an official opening event later this year. It is the latest is a series of The Wind in the Willows-themed activities and events at Essex Wildlife Trust Hanningfield Reservoir. Last year, The Wind in the Willows Wildlife Garden, which features Ratty’s Boat and Toad’s Caravan, opened.

Essex Wildlife Trust is introducing individual themes across its nine visitor centres. “The Wind in the Willows was an obvious choice,” said Gayle Dyer, Centre Manager at Essex Wildlife Trust Hanningfield Reservoir. “We have the characters on Hanningfield Reservoir nature reserve: Moles, Badgers, Toads, Weasels and even Water Voles [Ratty]. Moreover, the ancient woodland evokes the Wild Wood from Kenneth Grahame’s book. We look forward to welcoming visitors onto the trail – the sculptures are fantastic and it will be a fun activity for all the family.”

Essex Wildlife Trust Hanningfield Reservoir visitor centre and nature reserve is at Hawkswood Road, Downham CM11 1WT, a couple of miles north-east of Billericay. Call 01268 711001 for more information. The site is open daily, from 9am-5pm.