Hunting for crocodiles in West Sussex: One Thing or a Mother

Another week, another trip out to enjoy nature.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 10:22 am

Since the Government’s ‘stay at home’ message officially ended, we’ve definitely been taking advantage of being allowed to venture further afield and explore our county a bit more.

And after not being able to do it much in the last year, I’m appreciating it more than ever.

This weekend’s outing saw us head to Wakehurst, as we’ve just become National Trust members. And while I’m super excited about all the day-out potential this brings, I can’t help feeling it somewhat solidifies my status as middle-aged. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s somewhat terrifying for somebody who still doesn’t feel ready to be a grown-up!

Wakehurst is beautiful in the spring (definitely no crocodiles, though)
Wakehurst is beautiful in the spring (definitely no crocodiles, though)

Feeling old aside, it really does feel like a great way to support some of our country’s finest natural assets.

Which is definitely a good thing if you randomly find yourself worrying about climate change at 3am and what impact it’s going to have on the world our children grow up in (see, I told you being a grown-up was scary!).

In these Covid times, you need to book a slot for entry to any ticketed National Trust venues, to ensure a steady flow of people through the property.

And while this is frustrating if you can’t nab a space, what it does mean if you can is that everything feels lovely and manageable crowd-wise once you’re inside.

Wakehurst is beautiful in the spring (definitely no crocodiles, though)

We arrived mid-morning and stopped for a cup of tea and a biscuit (we’re British, after all) and there were tables to be had and the queues for the café weren’t too big.

And then, it was onto a walk through the property. Our nearly three-year-old son has been gradually increasing his stamina these past few weeks, and he absolutely loved running up and down the hilly pathways, and finding different coloured flowers to show us.

Pushing a buggy full of coats, snacks and the other million things you tend to bring on an outing when you have the ‘safety’ of putting them on the buggy, up what felt like some of the world’s steepest hills was slightly more challenging, but it was a good workout for my calves!

There was only some minor confusion when my son went up to a group of young women and tried to lead them to a pond to show them the crocodiles (I’m hoping this was in his imagination – giant reptiles were very much not listed on the map!), as well as stopping countless other groups of people to introduce himself and ask them ‘how are you, what you doing?’.

Wakehurst is beautiful in the spring (definitely no crocodiles, though)

It meant things took twice as long as they would have done otherwise, but we managed a few kms on a loop of the land. Looking at the map, we could have walked at least twice as far if we’d headed through Bethlehem Woods but I fear we’d still be there now with all the introductions we’d have had to make.

Outings with young children sure are exhausting, but seeing the crocodile-filled world through a child’s eyes sure is good fun.

Wakehurst is beautiful in the spring (definitely no crocodiles, though)
Wakehurst is beautiful in the spring (definitely no crocodiles, though)
Wakehurst is beautiful in the spring (definitely no crocodiles, though)