FAQs

Is there a car park?

There is free parking available at the Earth Trust Centre. The car park directly in front of the centre is used for drop-in sessions, courses, workshops and walks, but for our larger events we open up our Festival Field (weather permitting). When parking in the field, please follow the signs and the directions of the car park attendants. There is additional parking at the Clumps car park. How to find us.

Is there disabled access?

We aim to cater for special requirements, disability and mobility needs, however, this may not be possible for all our events, please contact us in advance to discuss your individual circumstances: 01865 407792 or [email protected]. Many of our events are accessible and we have disabled parking spaces and disabled facilities.

Is the site accessible for pushchairs?

Yes but please take care if you’re taking a buggy on to the nature reserve as it can be muddy and slippery at certain times of year. The school holiday activities that take place on the nature reserve are in areas that are more easily accessed.

Can carers attend for free?

Yes, carers do not have to pay an entry fee/ticket price when accompanying someone requiring assistance.

Can I bring my dog?

Although dogs are allowed on the nature reserve, they are unfortunately not permitted to accompany you to any Earth Trust event, course, guided walk, or workshop, unless otherwise stated. Please don’t leave your dog in a hot car. Accompanied Hearing, Blind, and Assistance Dogs are welcome.

How many people are covered by a Family ticket?

For our festivals we offer a family ticket which allows entry for two adults and two children.

What ages are included under a Child ticket?

A child entry fee/ticket is for children aged 3-16yrs; children 2yrs and under are allowed in free.

My child is outside the age range for a certain activity, does that mean they can’t take part?

Some of our family events state that they are aimed at a specific age group (pre-school, 5-8 years, etc) – this is a guide so you are aware what level the activities will be pitched at, but older/younger siblings are very welcome to join in. You will not need to pay for very young children who attend but do not participate.

The exception to this is Clumps Club, where the minimum age is 7yrs.

Please email or call on 01865 407792 if you have any questions or would like further information (office hours are 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday).

Is there somewhere to buy lunch/refreshments?

Poem Tree Cafe is only open during our larger events/festivals (this will be stated on the event information page). If you are attending an all day course or workshop please bring your own lunch. Please note: there are no shops nearby to purchase refreshments.

How do i book onto an event?

Many of our events do not require booking. For those that do, payment is required upfront to complete your booking:

  • Book online: there is a facility on each event page to make a booking. Payments are taken via SagePay
  • Book over the phone: please call 01865 407792 (office hours are 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday)

Enquiries can be made by phone or email: [email protected].

All courses, walks, events, and activities take place at the Earth Trust Centre, Little Wittenham, OX14 4QZ unless another location is stated.

I have booked but now can’t attend, can I get a refund?

Refunds and Cancellations

Unfortunately, we are not able to refund course and walk fees or festival tickets if you are unable to attend unless you or Earth Trust is able to find someone else to take your place. We reserve the right to cancel any event if it is not adequately subscribed and, under these circumstances, your payment will be refunded in full.

Event Information

For details about car parking, disabled access and attendance with dogs, please see our general Event FAQs above.

Dogs and Dog walking on Earth Trust nature reserves FAQs

Can I let my dog off the lead on Earth Trust sites?

Yes, unless there is signage in the area asking you to keep your dog on a lead. You are welcome to let your dog run free, however, if recall is not reliable please use a lead at all times. There are a number of reasons for this around being considerate to wildlife, crops and other visitors: find out more about dogs on nature reserves. Even if it seems like there is nothing or no one nearby, there could be a school trip, ground nesting bird or excitable dog just around the next corner.

Is my dog welcome at Earth Trust events?

Unfortunately dogs are not allowed at the majority of our events. It would not be appropriate for a dog to accompany you to many events – for example the Lambing Weekends, where ewes could be easily distressed by the presence of a dog, or on a wildlife walk, where the dog may disturb the wildlife you have come to see! However, at some of our smaller drop-in sessions it may be acceptable to bring a dog, providing you keep to the back of the group and have the dog on a lead at all times. Please get in touch if you are thinking about bringing a dog to an event. We are also looking at hosting some events specifically for dogs, and their two-legged friends, please check back for information.

The exception is assistance/guide dogs, who are of course welcome.

Is my dog allowed to swim in ponds and lakes?

No. The majority of our ponds are vital wildlife habitats, often home to rare species like great crested newts or nesting waterfowl, and dogs can be unintentionally damaging when they access water or disturb birds (leading to them abandoning their nests). In addition, certain water bodies can be susceptible to algal blooms in the summer which can be fatal to dogs. If your dog enjoys swimming they can access the Thames via Church Meadow.

If you have recently treated your dog with flea or tick medication please remember to keep them out of ALL water sources for 24-48hrs (check the pack for specific details) as these chemicals can be incredibly harmful to aquatic wildlife.

Where are livestock currently grazing at the Earth Trust?

Please check the map for the latest livestock movements.

Can I walk my dog through an area where cattle are grazing?

Yes, however you must keep your dog on a lead. Dogs and livestock are both naturally curious but it’s well known that they don’t always mix; inquisitive dogs can spook sheep or cattle, even when they mean them no harm, and even the most even-tempered livestock can be unpredictable. The Ramblers Association have come up with some top tips for walking near cattle:

Do Don’t
  • Stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves.
  • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.
  • Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
  • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.
  • Keep your dog close, on a short lead, and under effective control.
  • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.
  • Report any frightening incidents.
  • Don’t hang onto your dog if you are threatened by cattle – let it go as the cattle will chase the dog and not you.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk by walking close to cattle.
  • Don’t panic or run – most cattle will stop before they reach you; if they follow just walk on quietly.
Why are footpaths closed when sheep are grazing?

We will generally close a footpath that runs through a meadow being grazed by sheep (usually for 4-6 weeks at a time), because it has sadly become a necessity. We have experienced a number of issues with dogs and grazing flocks in recent years, including dogs directly attacking sheep and in 2016 when six sheep drowned after being chased into the Thames. We understand that the majority of dogs would not cause a problem but sheep are nervous animals and to be on the safe side we tend to keep them apart. We apologise for the inconvenience this causes and aim to give advance warning of any closure plus alternative routes.

Where are dog poo bins located on Earth Trust nature reserves?

Please check the map. If there is no dog poo bin on your route you must take the bag away with you and dispose of it at home or in any litter bin. Some dog walkers are known to leave a dog poo bag in a location they will be passing again, so they don’t have to carry it around with them, however this can encourage others to dump their bags rather than waiting to find a bin so this is not a good idea.

Why do I need to pick up dog poo in the countryside?

People sometimes think they don’t need to pick up dog poo when on a nature reserve because they are out in the countryside – it won’t bother anyone and there is poo from lots of other animals around! However, this is not the case. We ask that you pick up after your pet for several reasons:

  • We have a huge number of visitors to our reserves, who don’t want to be looking down at the ground watching their step when they could be admiring the glorious views.
  • Earth Trust welcomes over 3,500 school children each year to take part in outdoor activities such as sweep netting through long grass, looking under hedges for wildlife or scavenging sticks for den building and fire lighting. Encountering dog poo can not only be hazardous but also put children off exploring the outdoors for life.
  • Dog poo in a meadow can contaminate a hay crop which will impact on the funds raised for the charity.
  • Dog poo contains lots of nasty things and is hazardous to livestock as well as humans – it contains lots of bad bacteria and commonly carries diseases such as Hookworm and Roundworm too.
  • Dog poo is also toxic to grass and can cause disease and a decrease in oxygen levels in water, killing aquatic wildlife.
Why can’t I ‘stick and flick’ dog poo?

This method has been suggested as an alternative to picking up dog poo, and although it removes the problem from where the majority of people will be walking, there are other issues associated with dog poo that this will not eliminate:

  • Earth Trust welcomes over 3,500 school children each year to take part in outdoor activities,  away from the main paths across the reserve, such as sweep netting through long grass, looking under hedges for wildlife or scavenging sticks for den building and fire lighting. Encountering dog poo can not only be hazardous and but also put children off exploring the outdoors for life.
  • Dog poo in a meadow can contaminate a hay crop which will impact on the funds raised for the charity.
  • Dog poo contains lots of nasty things and is hazardous to livestock as well as humans – it contains lots of bad bacteria and commonly carries diseases such as Hookworm and Roundworm too.
  • Dog poo is also toxic to grass and can cause disease and a decrease in oxygen levels in water, killing aquatic wildlife.
I’m a professional dog walker, can I bring my canine clients to the site?

Yes, however there are some areas of the site that are more appropriate than others, and please ensure you have a good supply of dog poo bags with you! Areas like Neptune Wood are generally quieter and used less by school groups; please remember to check the maps for any livestock movements or footpath closures. If any business is directly benefitting from access to the nature reserve we would also appreciate a donation to help us look after these special places.

What is the Earth Trust Good Dog Walker Scheme? And how do I join?

The Earth Trust Good Dog Walkers scheme is promoting responsible dog walking on all Earth Trust nature reserves. We just ask that members pledge to adopt the Dog Code and make themselves identifiable when out and about on site by wearing the Earth Trust Good Dog Walkers badge/bag/hat, thereby promoting responsible dog walking wherever they go. It’s free to join and there’s no obligation to visit our sites any more regularly than you already do. To find out more please email.

 

Party FAQs

When should I arrive?

Please arrive around 20 minutes before your party starts to set up for your guests. You will be met by your party leader/s, who will show you the facilities and help arrange anything before we start. The Earth Trust Centre is a multi-use site and is sometimes a very busy with other events and activities happening at the same time; please bear this in mind when you are in and around the car park.

What will happen at the party?

For your party we will be spending around 1 hour 30 minutes outside doing various activities that fit the theme you have discussed. The last 30 minutes will be spent back at the Centre to enjoy any party food!

All of our leaders are experienced with working with children, have appropriate first aid training and excellent knowledge of the Wittenham Clumps and the rest of the site. During the time outside we require at least one parent to join us for the activities, although more are welcome – we hope you will have fun too!

What if it rains?

The Great British weather is always a risk when organising an outdoor party! But we very rarely cancel a party due to the weather. The party can still go ahead even if it rains and we do best to tailor activities to the weather conditions. Very strong winds (where it could be dangerous to go to the woods) may cause a cancellation but we will offer to rerrange the party for another date.

What food will there be?

Please note that while we supply all that is needed to run the activities, and provide tables and seating inside, we do not supply any food for birthday parties. We can provide children’s cups and plates, and access to a kettle and cups to make hot drinks for adults. Generally, party organisers bring along a variety of different treats like: party buffets, sandwiches, pre-cooked sausages and, of course, cake!

Due to our location and overheads we are unable to take your rubbish or leftovers, please be aware that you will be asked to take your waste with you at the end of the party.

Do you offer invitations?

We can offer bespoke party invitations (some examples below), printed on recycled paper. There is a unique design for each party theme and the reverse page features information for parents/guardians about suitable clothing, how to find us and where to park. Let us know when you make your booking how many invitations you would like.

If you can’t find the answer to your question in our FAQs, please get in touch using the form below.

FAQs
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