Asian elephant spotted at nature reserve…

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 5:47pm

On a sunny morning in early autumn, a group of Sri Lankan and Indian families were invited by Hikmat Devon to the Axe Estuary Wetlands.

Led by Tim Dafforn (Team Leader – People) and Meg Knowles (Education Ranger) from the East Devon District Council Countryside team, the tour started with a treasure trail, where each person collected items from nature – leaves, berries, flowers, even a bird feather.

From this exercise, the group discovered the rich colours and textures of autumn. Next stop was the bird hide, where everyone viewed different species of birds in the marshes.

The highlight of the tour was pond dipping over a wooden platform. One of the children caught an Emperor Dragonfly larva in his net. The parents were just as fascinated and repeatedly dipped their nets, hoping to catch insects from the pond.

The final activity was crafting mini-beasts using clay and materials found in nature. Wickrama from Sri Lanka impressed everyone with his sculpture of an Asian elephant. This was the first elephant sighting in the Axe Estuary! Other clay figures included imaginary beasts and a Jurassic fossil.

Tim Dafforn said: “It was a great morning of activities and everyone involved got stuck in and discovered some amazing creatures. This wetland reserve is only five minutes’ drive from Seaton – it’s free to visit and is open to the public to explore at all times”.

The group wanted to thank Hikmat Devon and EDDC for the wonderful opportunity to get together and enjoy learning about and watching wildlife. It was their first visit to the nature reserve, and they are looking forward to coming back.

Hikmat Devon is a registered Community Interest Company (CIC) operating as a Co-operative. Based in Exeter, Hikmat works across Devon supporting families and individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds. One of its services is Sahara, with the aim to reduce isolation and improve the health outcomes of its members. Their website is at:

East Devon District Council’s Countryside Team manages nature reserves across the area, including the Axe Estuary Wetlands near Seaton. It runs education activities, events and provides volunteering opportunities throughout the year. For current events and information go to:

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