My Jodrell Bank Adventure – A Day Of Physics And Gardens

A Sunday free. What to do? There’s always sorting the house out, but that’s a little boring! So me and Dave decided to head to Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, as both of us haven’t been for years despite it being round the corner! Here’s my account of my Jodrell Bank Adventure!

Orrery Learning

On arriving we paid the entrance and switched our mobiles off. Mobiles must be switched off at Jodrell Bank or they can interfere with the research that is carried out here.

Radio Quiet Zone, Jodrell Bank

Radio Quiet Zone, Jodrell Bank

Then we headed through the ‘starry tunnel’ to the Planet Pavilion and the first exhibition. Here I got distracted by the interactive displays that taught about the planets. I also got a little excited about each planet having a puzzle, but they turned out to be very easy jigsaws…

In this room is an Orrery, a mechanical display of the solar systems. I learnt what a Orrery is by the displays… It’s amazing what fun you can have just turning a handle to make the planets move!

Orrery Jodrell Bank

Orrery Jodrell Bank

After a little time in here, reading the displays and playing with the Orrery we headed through the door to the outside world. Here we were met with a map and a decision, the gardens or the telescope.

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

Playtime!

We headed toward the Lovell Telescope and got distracted a little on the way! As you walk towards the telescope you reach the Whispering Dishes, so we had to have a go! One person stands in each dish and one whispers into their dish, the other person opposite can hear the whisper clearly! This works as the sound waves of your voice are reflected by your dish. These waves are reflected towards the other dish where they are are picked up and reflected to a focus area, that makes them loud enough to hear.

Playing On The Whispering Dishes

Playing On The Whispering Dishes

There was also a play area, that we decided was not just for kids! There were interactive displays that taught about physics. We had a go at everything! From making bells ring with the same interval to racing wheels with weights in different places!

Natpacker Playing With Exhibits

Natpacker Playing With Exhibits

Next we headed to the Space Pavilion. This building contained more hands-on exhibits, which taught about the Lovell Telescope and some of the mysteries of the Universe. We went in the film pod and watched a couple of the short films. We didn’t watch them all, as the two we watched did a bit of repeating.

Racing Wheels At Jodrell Bank

Racing Wheels At Jodrell Bank

I liked an exhibition that showed what things look like in different vision, such as infrared and ultraviolet. I also really liked a display where you could watch your pupil change shape as you brightened and dimmed some the light!

Dave Playing With Exhibits

Dave Playing With Exhibits

After playing with just about everything, we headed back outside.

The Lovell Telescope

We now headed to the Lovell Telescope viewpoint. The path took us around the Telescope and had a number of information panels to read. Near the Telescope was a model of the sun, but you were not allowed to walk on the grass, so you could not get near to see the information sign about it! I had to zoom in with my camera to discover that this ‘sun’ is part of an artistic representation of the solar system, to scale, that encompasses the UK. And now I feel that I must see all the representations!

The Sun At Jodrell Bank

The Sun At Jodrell Bank That You Cant Get Near To Read The Sign…

We got round to the viewpoint, reading more information signs along the way. But unfortunately the Telescope was pointing up, so although it is still impressive, it was not the best view.

Lovell Telescope

Lovell Telescope

A Relaxing Stroll

After seeing the Lovell Telescope we backtracked to the gardens. The first section was well paved and we had a good wander round. There was an orchard of apple trees (I presume crab apple). Then we found the Galaxy Garden.

Jodrell Bank Gardens

Jodrell Bank Gardens

I really like the concept of this garden, I think it’s a genius idea. However, at the time of visiting I felt that they needed a little TLC. They were still really good and you could make out what was representing what by the information signs, but some had begun to become overgrown and some grasses were taken over. Especially on the Wildflower Meadow part in the centre – it was pretty much all grass, not many wildflowers at all. I think they need some Yellow Rattle on there to reduce the grasses and give the flowers chance to thrive!

Exiting the Galaxy Garden we carried on around the path. We came across some cool sculptures and a large round rock that represented a meteorite.

Meteorite At Jodrell Bank

Meteorite At Jodrell Bank

We then got to a point where you could leave the path to explore further, which we did. Although it was soggy underfoot and I sank once or twice, it was worth it! Wandering around, we passed some ponds and the bird hide (unfortunately we did not see any interesting birds though). We reached the end of the gardens, which has a Weeping Birch and turned around to head back along a different route.

On the way back we saw a group of Rabbits (which I got overly excited about…) We got fairly close before they hopped off.

Rabbits In Jodrell Bank Gardens

Rabbits In Jodrell Bank Gardens

Then we found the beehives, which had some information about the hives and bees. There was no live demonstrations at this point though, which I would’ve like to have seen…

Beehive Entrance At Jodrell Bank

Beehive Entrance At Jodrell Bank

We stopped for a break and a chat on a bench by one of the ponds. It was quiet here and relaxing. My day was made as I saw (and confidently identified) a Blue-Tailed Damselfly. And I might of spent about ten minutes chasing it around to get a picture…

Blue Tailed Damselfly At Jodrell Bank

Blue Tailed Damselfly At Jodrell Bank

Then we started walking again and were soon back to the entrance. So we had a quick look around the shop and then headed home.

My Thoughts On My Jodrell Bank Adventure

I really enjoyed my Jodrell Bank Adventure. Although it is fairly small, there is a lot to do and learn here. Considering it’s not far I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve visited and it was only my second time here! It’s a great day out for the kid within you!

Natpacker At Jodrell Bank

Natpacker At Jodrell Bank

8 Comments

  • jo hough says:

    Can’t believe this is on my doorstep and I’ve never been. Looks a good day out

  • Derek Garside says:

    Excellent presentation, I haven’t been to Jodrell Bank for years and years, really must visit again

    • Nat says:

      Glad you liked it. Thanks for the feedback! And if you’ve not been for a while, I’d recommend visiting again soon!

  • Colin Pierpoint says:

    I read your thingy. Comprehensive cover; had you thouht of doing reviews on Trip Advisor? I have done quite a few, several around Sandbach.
    Unfortunately JBO visitors centre is a shadow of it’s former self which had hands on microwave dish and if I remember right an actual steerable radio telescope dish (allbeit small).
    Did you know that Jodrell Bank got the pictures of the moon back from a Russian rocket (pre-Apollo) before the Russians did!

  • Penny brewin says:

    Thankyou for your interesting thoughts .. I have never been but after reading your presentation I have decided to go and check it out !
    Awesome !!

    • Nat says:

      Thanks for the feedback! It’s a really good day out, especially if you’re into space and physics! Glad my blog has inspired you to check it out!

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