IT WAS the perfect antidote to the winter blues - the Hawk Conservancy Trust’s Winter Woodland Lights event brought some joy to January for visitors of the attraction.

January can often be a dull month, with the excitement of Christmas over, the evenings ending early and the cold days; it can leave many feeling somewhat flat.

The Hawk Conservancy Trust has the perfect event to bring some sparkle and hope, stunning visitors with a breathtaking flying display combined with lights, illuminations, music, and even a flurry of snow.

The trust sensibly puts the event on after Christmas, meaning it doesn’t have to compete with other popular illumination trails offered in the run-up to December 25.

Basingstoke Gazette: Hawk Conservancy Winter Woodland LightsIt also gives people the chance to buy tickets as Christmas presents, providing something to look forward to in the new year.

In contrast to festive season light trails, this post-Christmas event is intended to raise spirits in the depths of winter, while helping raise funds for another year of vital research and conservation work for birds of prey in the UK and overseas.

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Upon arrival visitors were invited to follow their way round an illuminated trail winding through the bird enclosures in the dark before arriving at the arena for the flying display.

Set in the Hawk Conservancy Trust’s 22 acres of Hampshire countryside, the event really showcases the wonders of Mother Nature, shining a light on natural habitats through stunning visual spectacles combined with enchanting music and narration.

This year’s theme was new for 2024 – Light in the Darkness – helping visitors appreciate that, even on the darkest days of the year we can spot natural light sources playing their part in the life of planet earth – from the subtle glow of fireflies and the guiding light of stars to the awesome power of lightning or the stunning spectacle of Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights.

Coincidently, to emphasise this point, the moon was shining clear and bright throughout the show, perfectly positioned in the sky over the arena for all to see.

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As the owls swooped across heads, many had to duck out of the way, adding to the excitement.

The beautiful birds were shown off as they swoped silently through the beautifully lit trees before landing on their perches for everyone to admire, and demonstrating the skills that help them survive dark days and even darker nights of winter.

Gasps and oohs could be heard from the audience who were clearly impressed as the display came to a dramatic finale, complete with snow.

The Hawk Conservancy Trust is dedicated to the research and conservation of birds of prey both in the UK and overseas and utilises income from its visitor centre near Andover, Hampshire, to fund its work.

Visitors can experience rare birds of prey up close, watch world-class flying displays in three completely different arenas or simply meander through 22 acres of woodland and wildflower meadow.

For more information or to book tickets to visit the attraction, visit