The next generation of wildlife enthusiasts were inspired when a nature reserve threw its gates open for free to give youngsters the chance to discover and explore the natural world.

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The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust hosted the annual Wild About the Wensum event at Penshorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, this weekend.

Held each year since 2006, the free event gives children the chance to learn about conservation in the Wensum Valley and beyond through a range of activities.

Organisations including Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Hawk and Owl Trust and the Norfolk Ornithologists Association attended on the day to highlight the work they do, and children aged from six to 12 were given the chance to take part in bike safaris around the site, fact-finding missions and nature trails.

Mark Noble, commercial manager at Pensthorpe, said: “It’s always a really, really popular event and we are delighted to host it.

“The weather has not been on our side but despite that, we’ve had a healthy attendance of 1,000 to 1,500 people. It’s an important opportunity to bring together lots of different wildlife organisations from up and down the Wensum Valley and indeed throughout Norfolk and make people aware of the tireless work that goes into enhancing and protecting the natural habitat.

“Hopefully it’s inspired the next generation and sparked some enthusiasm. We’re now seeing a number of generations that have been brought up with technology and with the amount of time spent of laptops, iPads, iPhones, computers, watching TV, children are not understanding what’s going on outside their back door.

“So it’s about getting the next generation off the sofa, away from the virtual world and into the real world and inspiring the next set of wildlife enthusiasts.”

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