Mallydams Wood Education Centre's Hastings Wild Things Project: booking a visit, public events and volunteering
Mallydams Wood is a nationally acclaimed centre of excellence for animal welfare education.
We’ve encouraged thousands of children and adults to develop respect and empathy for animals and their environment through hands-on activities, outdoor exploration, learning through play and fun.
The Hastings Wild Things Project
The Hastings Wild Things is a project run at Mallydams Wood which supports families, children and young people to develop a positive attitude towards personal development, learning and the natural world. Developing self-esteem along with emotional and academic resilience helps families, children and young people realise the potential they have in their own lives and the valuable contributuion they can make to their community. At Mallydams people take part in a vast range of outdoor activities from exploring, playing and adventuring in the woods to building birdfeeders, fires, cooking outdoors and planting trees. All our activities are designed to be achievable and rewarding as well as having a element of discovery and learning.
Keep updated on the Hastings Wild Things project on our Mallydams Facebook page.
Our Education Centre and Woodland
Our comfortable education centre can accommodate both day visitors and whole class/group residentials with 38 beds in cosy bedrooms, a modern classroom with tv/DVD/powerpoint and natural history library. We have a well equipped self-catering kitchen and also a patio and BBQ area for groups who wish to eat al-fresco.
Our Discovery Room is a 3D recreation of the natural habitats to be found around East Sussex. With a woodland, reedbed, farm, seashore and rock pools to explore we have the opportunity to learn about all animals, in all habitats, in all seasons and weathers.
Our 55-acre magical woodland brimming with animal hideaways, quiet places and footpaths to explore sets the scene for wildlife detectives of all ages. Whether searching for animal clues, solving wildlife mysteries or sitting quietly listening to night time noises, Mallydams Wood has a host of experiences to set the senses alive and stimulate an enquiring mind.
School day trips and residentials - inspire, investigate, create and learn
We offer a diverse range of Key Stage 1&2 curriculum linked activities incorporating a rich mixture of learning styles to investigate the woodland environment and it's wildlife. We can lead coastal activities on the beach at Pett Level where we can investigate rock pools and learn about rocky shore ecology and visits to a wildlife friendly local farm to explore ancient wildflower meadows and find out about good animal welfare farming.
For school trips or outreach visits to your school please contact our Schools Officer, Sam Cattermole: firstname.lastname@example.org
Young people – learn skills and explore the wild outdoors
Bring your young people to explore our wonderful woodland!
Take part in mission trails, badger watches, night walks, cooking outdoors, conservation tasks, building animal homes and learn new skills and gain AQA certification in animal welfare and woodland skills.
For youth visits or outreach sessions please contact our Youth Engagement Officer, Emily Hedley: email@example.com
Families – play together in the wild outdoors
Parents and carers can get to know each other whilst taking part in organised games and playful activities with their children. Sessions provide natural play opportunities in the woodland as well as indoor activities in our Discovery Room if it's too wet and windy. We have baby changing facilities, drinks & snacks, and a wooden walkway making it easy for prams and buggies to get to the natural play area in the middle of our wood.
Mallydams staff can bring nature themed and animal welfare activities to your children's centre, classroom, community group or public event. We are also happy to do talks in your school, college or for your community group about animal welfare, the work of the RSPCA, wildlife rehabilitation at Mallydams Wood or any aspect of learning through play or wildlife education. Talks we have done in the past include Animal Architects (primary), Marine Masterclass (primary), Wildlife Gardening (adult community group), Wildlife Rehabilitation at Mallydams Wood (secondary), Learning through Outdoor Play (college), What is animal welfare? (youth), and Exotic pets and the wildlife trade (youth).Please contact the member of our education team (above) who you think best suits your needs.
Partnership working and building community connections
If you would like to chat to us about how you or your organisation could work with us to enrich the learning and personal development experiences of families, children or young people in Hastings and the surrounding areas please contact our Community Engagement Manager, Anna Herrieven: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Wood events - currently no open woods are taking place due to covid restrictions
We open our woodland and education centre to members of the public each Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Everybody is welcome to come for a stroll around the woodland nature reserve. If you are coming with children we always have woodland activities that you can do together.
We have a wooden walkway which makes it easy for buggies, prams and wheelchairs to access the woodland, there are drinks in our tea room or you can bring a picnic to enjoy outdoors. Well behaved dogs on leads are very welcome as long as they are picked up after - there is a dog bin at the woodland entrance.
Our next Open Wood will be advertised as soon as covid-restrictions allow us to be open to the public again.
Please note there will be no parking on site at Mallydams Wood but a free shuttlebus will be running every 15 mins from Hastings Country Park car park on Lower Coastguard Lane, Hastings. Parking is £3 per day at the Country Park or you can catch the 101 bus from Hastings or Rye (request stop at top of Peter James Lane)
To keep up to date with current news and public events you can follow us on Facebook
Work experience and volunteering at Mallydams
Work experience roles in the Education Centre at Mallydams involve working flexibly to assist as and when groups are visiting the centre and helping to set up before groups and to tidy away afterwards. Many of the children and young people we work with may be experiencing difficulty engaging in school for a variety of factors and therefore need a variety of approaches to help them feel safe and confident to take part and learn in the Mallydams setting. An understanding of the factors affecting children and young people today is an advantage as well as a willingness to be understanding, patient and a good role model.
An induction including health and safety, child safeguarding and risk assessment is given at the beginning of any placement and all staff, volunteers and work experience placements are expected to be diligent in these areas during their time with us. People aged 18 and over will be subject to a DBS check before their placement can begin.
Whilst work experience placements will never be expected to work alone with a visiting group, a high degree of motivation and personal initiative is required so that work can be undertaken independently when they are not working directly with a group or member of staff.
As a Hastings Wild Things project volunteer we would like you to:
• Enjoy working with families, children and young people
• Be reliable and dependable
• Be able to communicate with all ages
• Be enthusiastic and outgoing
• Have an interest in wildlife and nature
• Be sympathetic with RSPCA aims and policies
• Have a reasonable level of resilience for working outside
• Be happy to be checked by the Disclosure & Barring Service
Qualifications and experience required
No qualifications are necessary but experience of working with groups outdoors would be an advantage. Enjoying working with young people and children and an enthusiasm for wildlife and nature are vital.
Volunteer support and inclusivity
Volunteers will always work alongside a member of staff and will be given clothing and protective clothing for their own safety and welfare. RSPCA HQ offers advice and support for all volunteers if they wish to contact them about anything regarding their volunteer placement at Mallydams Wood. Any training which the volunteer feels they need to carry out their role will be considered.
We welcome applications from all and endeavour to ensure we create a mutually beneficial working relationship with each volunteer. We have an all terrain wheelchair so we welcome applications from people with limited mobility.
For further information or to apply please email the Community Engagement Manager, Anna Herrieven: email@example.com