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I’m a big believer that spending time in the great outdoors helps your mental well being. Whenever I force myself off the sofa and out in to nature I always feel reinvigorated.
So when the lovely team at Wild Intrigue invited James and I to spend an evening cooking our own pizzas in an outdoor kitchen and searching for bats in the stunning grounds of Wild Northumbrian it sounded like the perfect antidote to our drizzly Friday night blues!
What is Wild Intrigue?
Wild Intrigue is a small team of expedition leaders with a huge amount of passion for nature and wildlife. They organise and host unique events in amazing locations packed with nature and throw in yummy food to fuel the adventures.
Where is Wild Northumbrian?
Our ‘Bats and Pizza Night’ with Wild Intrigue took place in a secluded rural location on a 25 acre site in Northumberland National Park known as Wild Northumbrian. It’s a breathtaking place beneath protected dark skies, not far from Kielder.
Wild Northumbrian offers several yurts and huts for a unique glamping experience, there was even one that looked like a treehouse. A gentle stream runs through the site with a rope bridge providing access from one side to the other, it’s all very magical.
What Happens on Bats and Pizza Night?
Heather, the founder of Wild Intrigue, greeted us at the site as soon as we arrived. It was lovely to have such a warm welcome as the weather wasn’t great. Thankfully we were able to take shelter on a pretty veranda which had been beautifully decorated with wild flowers and fairy lights.
This was also where our pizza party took place. Everybody in our group was provided with some freshly made pizza dough, sauces and a platter of colourful veggie toppings. You can also take along your own toppings to create your perfect pizza if you wish. Once we’d stretched out the dough and piled it full of delicious veggies they were stone-baked in the outdoor pizza oven.
There were quite a few children in the group and they loved playing on the nearby rope swing and exploring the rugged landscape that surrounded us while waited for our pizzas to cook.
I couldn’t believe it when my creation re-appeared from the oven, the base was perfectly crisp, the cheese had started to bubble and it actually looked like something I would order in a restaurant, I felt quite proud! It tasted yummy too.
Once everyone had enjoyed their pizzas Heather guided us on a nature walk around the Wild Northumbrian site. The kids were given ‘bug-catchers’ and encouraged to keep an eye out for any mini-beasts. It was also a chance to have a snoop around the areas where the gorgeous glamping accommodation is located. I had hoped we’d be fortunate enough to spot some of the local red squirrels but no such luck, oh well, maybe next time.
When we arrived back at the outdoor kitchen, the campfire was lit and it looked so beautiful in the moonlight. The hot chocolate we were served brought a smile to everyone’s faces as it had turned quite chilly. We were then invited to toast marshmallows on the fire and I was reminded how much I loved the sweet treat.
After we’d all warmed up Heather talked us through a Field Studies Council guide to bats (I never knew there was so many different types) and we set off around the nearby church yard to seek them out.
As well as Heather’s expert knowledge and experience, we also had Magenta 4 Bat Detectors to help us on our quest to find the elusive creatures. The detectors picked up the sounds of the bats so clearly, it was like a high pitched beeping noise. We saw and heard Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle bats and it was really quite exciting to see them flying from tree to tree right above our heads!
We were able to ask as many questions as we wanted and Heather’s passion and enthusiasm for nature shone through in her answers. We drove back to Newcastle feeling like we’d had a real adventure and we certainly learnt a thing or two. Our alternative Friday night out was one we’ll remember for a long time to come and we’d recommend it highly!
Good to Know…
- There are lots of future ‘Bats and Pizza’ events coming up, priced at £12 for adults and £10 for under 18’s (under 5’s go free). Click here to book.
- Wild Intrigue also have urban expeditions planned at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, just look for ‘Kittiwakes and Doughnuts’ on Facebook.
- If you do head to an event at Wild Northumbrian I would strongly recommend a generous application of jungle formula, the midges show no mercy at this time of year. I returned home unscathed but poor James counted dozens of bites the next day.
- To learn more about Wild Intrigue and their mission to ‘inspire, educate and re-wild’ check out wildintrigue.co.uk
Thanks for checking out this post, I hope you enjoyed it! I’m always up for new adventures so if there’s anything similar you think I should experience in the north east let me know by leaving a comment.
*Ad – James and I were kindly invited to enjoy this event as guests of Wild Intrigue in return for an honest review. Some of the photos I’ve used were taken by their own photographer on the night.