River dipping at Denham Country Park

One of my happiest memories from the last summer we had with Jessica was watching her and Sophie play in the river at Denham Country Park with a friend. We’d brought a little pond dipping kit with us and Jessica had a go with it but we didn’t really find anything. I made a mental note back then to book the girls in to one of the river dipping sessions at a later date. Sadly, we never managed to do it with Jessica, but when I spotted there was a session during February half-term, I knew that Sophie would enjoy it.


Sophie standing in the river with her net in the water – “River dipping at Denham Country Park”


The sessions cost £4 per child, with accompanying adults going free. At the start of the session, the leader showed the children how to hold their net in the water, facing downstream and swivel from side to side to disturb the riverbed and encourage the mini water beasts into their nets. Sophie quickly got the hang of it!


Sophie standing in the river looking into her net


She then carried her net over to the water trays and carefully emptied it into one of them ready to see what she had caught. There were some sheets to help us identify the different creatures we might see.


Sophie emptying her net into one of the trays


Sophie looking at her catch in the water tray


Sophie was more interested in heading back to the water though for the fun of trying to catch some more creatures!


Sophie walking away from the river holding her net


I wasn’t very good at managing to identify the mini water beasts we found. We did find some shrimp and some mayfly nymphs though.


A mayfly nymph in the water tray


Sophie enjoyed taking a closer look through the magnifier to see what was swimming around in the trays. She also tried to see if she could use a spoon to catch one of the creatures to get a closer look. They were very good at getting away from her though!


Sophie looking into the water tray using a magnifier

Sophie using a spoon to take a closer look at the creatures in the tray


After the children had finished river dipping, we went back inside the visitor centre to make a paper plate fish. This was a craft that I enjoyed doing with the girls a few years ago. Sophie would have been a bit young to remember it though! She had fun making her paper plate fish this time without needing any help from me. It is lovely to watch her create more independently now.


Sophie cutting into a paper plate with scissors

Sophie holding her paper plate fish


The children’s play area at Denham Country Park is a good one. There are lots of things for the children to climb and explore, and the sand pit is always lots of fun. Another place where I have some very happy memories of the girls having fun together.


Sophie playing the xylophone in the children’s play area


It is lovely to see how Sophie’s confidence has really grown when it comes to exploring play areas. She had no problem getting to the top of the climbing net and had a wonderful time climbing and exploring.


Sophie at the top of the climbing frame


Sophie going across a net bridge in the children’s play area


Visiting Denham Country Park – what you need to know:


Denham Country Park
Denham Court Drive


Opening times and parking:

There is a pay and display car park. Opening times vary throughout the year. For more information click here.


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11 thoughts on “River dipping at Denham Country Park

    1. It was a lot of fun. The paper plate fish is such a simple idea but lots of fun to make 🙂

  1. This is such a lovely idea, a really great way to encourage children to have a real interest in nature. I think it’s crucial for the future because only they will be able to sort out the mess we’re making of the environment at the moment and if they don’t get in touch with nature as children then they won’t care enough to do it.

    1. I agree – so important to encourage that love of nature. It makes me so sad that we have made such a mess of looking after our world.

  2. River and pond dipping were some of my happiest childhood memories, it must have had some influence as I did freshwater ecology whilst at uni for some of my modules. Sophie looks very happy and that she had a great time whilst also learning.

    1. So interesting that it led to an interest in freshwater ecology for you. I wonder how Sophie’s love of getting outdoors will affect her future interests.

  3. This is one of my favourite summer activities here on the farm, we tend to dip in the pond rather than the river, but I might check out a shallow patch of river for a change this year. Such a great activity organised by the park and lovely how they follow it up in the visitor centre too. #CountryKids

  4. Oh my goodness, my son would love to go river dipping. I’m off to go and find somewhere we can do it! It looks so much fun. #countrykids

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