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Pond-dipping fun at Norfolk nature reserve

PUBLISHED: 14:00 31 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:56 01 July 2010

Matthew Sparkes

Families can discover water boatmen, stick insects, and scorpions thanks to a new pond-dipping platform at a Norfolk nature reserve in the floodplain of the River Yare.

Families can discover water boatmen, stick insects, and scorpions thanks to a new pond-dipping platform at a Norfolk nature reserve in the floodplain of the River Yare.

The RSPB has created the small jetty, which opened on Saturday, at its Strumpshaw Fen nature reserve in time for the half-term break.

People can borrow nets and trays to sieve the water and discover what creatures lurk underneath the surface.

The platform was built from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood by a team of RSPB wardens and volunteers, and was part-funded by a grant from Broadland District Council.

It will be open every day over the summer from 9.30am until 4.30pm.

It costs £1 per child to take part with parents supervising, but the RSPB was keen to stress that adults are also welcome to hire a net or attend a guided pond-dipping event.

RSPB officer Jenny Toms said: “One of my best childhood memories is pond-dipping with my sister at the local park, when our dad showed us water boatmen, frog spawn and pond skaters.

“It's such a fun way for kids to find out about nature.

“We're hoping that the new pond-dipping platform at Strumpshaw Fen will help lots more people to discover the amazing creatures that live in ponds and to have a family day out that they'll always remember.”

Strumpshaw Fen is part of the 800-hectare Mid Yare nature reserves, which stretch along nine miles of riverbank from Surlingham to Cantley and include Buckenham Marshes, Cantley Marshes, Surlingham Broad and Rockland Broad.

The sites receive around 30,000 visitors annually and more than 100 volunteers contribute 5,000 hours a year.

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