A summer full of ‘50 things’ adventures with National Trust

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A summer full of ‘50 things’ adventures

This summer holiday fill your days with challenges and adventures. The National Trust is encouraging 200,000 children to show nature they care by getting them up off the sofa, jumping into the great outdoors and having lots of fun discovering the natural world.

National Trust research reveals that over half of today’s children (54 per cent) spend less than an hour outside each day compared to their parents who spent an average of 2 hours 34 minutes outside each day as children.

The Trust cares for hundreds of places perfect for families to enjoy this summer; from barefoot walks on the coast, to climbing trees and looking out for wildlife, every visit can forge children’s connection to nature and helps the conservation charity continue to protect places for future generations to explore and enjoy.

With an extra hour of sunlight on your side and hundreds of adventurous ideas for all the family to enjoy, including rolling down hills, bike rides and even snail racing, here’s the Trust’s top 25 activities and events to get you started on the ‘50 things’ list:

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/families/50-things/
http://www.50things.org.uk

Child climbing a tree in the garden at Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Child climbing a tree in the garden at Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow, Cheshire.

1. Climb a tree
Croome, Worcestershire
Tree Climbing, 22 August, 20 September, 27 October 10.30am – 4.30pm
Spend an hour with two highly-skilled instructors who will teach you how to use ropes, knots, carabineers and a harness to climb to the top of a tree and zip wire back down. While you’re up there take a look at the view from the top over the landscaped park. Afterwards let the children run wild, have fun and make their own adventures. There are lots of spaces to run around and miles of interesting walks and follies to discover with the whole family.
Activity led by the Great Big Tree Climbing Company.
Booking essential
Price: £15.50
Suitable for 6+ years
For more information, please call 01905 371006 or email adam@bigtreeclimbing.co.uk
Watch our YouTube video here: http://bit.ly/1dKenCB

2. Roll down a really big hill
Sissinghurst Castle, Kent
50 things Fridays: Adventure walk, 22 August, 1pm – 3pm
Tick off some items on your ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ list at Sissinghurst Castle this summer. Test your mettle with this fast paced adventure walk; there’ll be trails, barefoot walks and rolling down hills. To really pick up speed rolling down the hill, lie on the grass, make your body into the shape of a sausage and roll down the hill sideways. After your adventure why not stop off for an ice cream outside the shop and finish the day with a treat.
Booking essential
Price: £6
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01580 710700
Watch our YouTube video here

Child building a den in the grounds at Wray Castle, Cumbria.

Child building a den in the grounds at Wray Castle, Cumbria.

3. Build a den
The Vyne, Hampshire
Build a den 15 August & 29 August, all 12pm – 1pm
Visit The Vyne this summer and see if you can build one of the biggest dens you’ve ever seen. The Vyne’s outdoors team are holding special woodland workshops where kids can pick up top tips on how to make a brilliant hideaway. Spend some time collecting together branches, twigs and leaves to make a cosy den to play in. After you’ve built your lair explore the woodlands and see if you can spot any woodpeckers, jays and rare waterfowl.
Price: Suggested donation £2
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01256 883858
Watch our YouTube video here

4. Skim a stone
Fell Foot Park, Cumbria
All England Stone Skimming Championships, 16 August, 11am – 4pm
Situated at the very southern tip of Lake Windermere, Fell Foot Park is a great, family friendly location to play, explore and relax in. The stone skimming championships is an extravaganza of entertainment for the whole family in conjunction with South Cumbria Rivers Trust. Have a skim yourself to tick off one of your ‘50 things’ activities and see how many bounces you can make.
Competition entry fees and parking charges apply.
For more information, please call 015395 31273
Watch our YouTube video here

5. Run around in the rain
Ickworth, Suffolk
Out and about Wednesdays, 27 August, 11am – 3pm
Ickworth are hoping for rain … but even without it, there are plans to make a really big splash this summer. They’ll be games on the lawn and there’s lots of fun to be had on the obstacle course. See who can get round in the fastest time? Explore the play area, willow maze and wildlife area before having a lovely picnic overlooking the impressive Rotunda. Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01284 735270

Family in the grounds at Castle Ward, Northern Ireland.6. Fly a kite
Brancaster Estate, Norfolk
Wild Wednesdays 20 & 27 August. All 10am – 12.30pm & 2pm – 4.30pm
Join the team on the Brancaster Estate for a day of ‘50 things’ themed family fun on the Norfolk Coast. There’s lots to do from kite flying to stone skimming, tracking a wild animal or making some coastal wild art. You can visit for as little or as long as you like and you can dip into activities throughout the day. So grab your scrapbook and start ticking off your ‘50 things’ and have some summer adventures.
Booking essential
For more information, please call 01263 740241

7. Make a mud pie
Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire
Mud Glorious Mud 13, 22 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm & 2pm – 4pm
The perfect recipe for a mud pie is mud and more mud. This is your chance to get really dirty at Wicken Fen, an important wetland landscape with an abundance of wildlife and all important mud. Explore the finer qualities of mud, for throwing, painting, building and cooking (mud pies for the worms) and tick off number 13 on your ‘50 things’ list.
Booking essential
Price: £4.75
For more information, please call 01353 720274
Watch our YouTube video here

Child making a daisy chain on a visit to Trerice, Cornwall

Child making a daisy chain on a visit to Trerice, Cornwall

8. Make a daisy chain
Basildon Park, Berkshire
50 things – Create some wild art 14, 21 & 28 August, 10am – 5pm
Get creative with twigs, leaves and flowers you can find in grounds at Basildon Park. You can find lots of daisies around the garden and parkland. Pick a few and make a beautiful chain for the summer time. While you’re there follow the new wild wood walk up to the house. There’s lots to explore, including stepping stones a woodland tunnel and a bridge.
Price: £3
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 0118 984 3040

9. Set up a snail race
Heigham Holmes, Norfolk
Heigham Holmes Open Day, 10 August, 11am – 4pm
Visit this wonderful nature reserve and remote island in the Norfolk Broads for a great day out. Only open once a year via a swing bridge at Martham Ferry you can come and learn about its special history, its importance for wildlife and the landscape of the Broads. This family event includes live pictures from the barn owl camera, face painting, pond dipping and the highly dramatic snail racing at 2.30pm.
Light refreshments available. There are no toilets or tearoom – bring a snack if you want to.
Access via floating swing bridge at Martham ferry.
For more information, please call 07885 581070
Watch our YouTube video here

Child with a snail on the beach at Portstewart Strand, Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland

10. Create some wild art
Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria
Wild Art Wednesdays 13, 20 & 27 August, All 11am – 4pm
Set your creativity free and find lots of materials that vary in colour and texture from around the grounds once owned by William Wordsworth. Create some wild art using the natural materials found in the woodland. With ranger tips and activity sheets available you’re sure to create a masterpiece.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 015394 35143

11. Play pooh sticks
Morden Hall Park, London
Morden Hall Park is a green oasis in the city. It used to be a deer park and is one of the last remaining country estates in South London, lining the River Wandle. Surrounded by meadows, trees and the gentle sounds of birdsong and running water, the park offers a rare sense of discovery and is the perfect place to play pooh sticks. The park has several bridges where you can challenge your family to a race, so choose your stick wisely and take on the challenge.
For more information, please call 020 8545 6850

Children at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire.

Children at Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire.

12. Jump over waves
Borrowdale, Cumbria
Derwent Water Regatta 2014, 9 & 10 August, 11am – 4pm
There’s nothing quite like messing about on the water so why not come and enjoy a raft of activities in the spirit of King Pocky’s Derwent Water Regatta. Spectators can watch the antics on the lake from Crow Park whilst enjoying a traditional summer fair with rides, side stalls, refreshments and competitions. There will also be the chance to tick off some of your ‘50 things’ with jumping over waves, making mud pies, stone skimming or even canoeing down a river.
For more information, please call 01768 774649

13. Visit a farm
Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
Visiting a farm is one of the best places to get up close and personal with some new furry friends. Wimpole is a unique working estate, with an impressive mansion at its heart. At Home Farm, you can explore the traditional farmyard with the noisy modern piggery, cattle sheds and some rare bread animals. Have a go at becoming a young farmer when you visit and try your hand at grooming the donkeys, drive a mini tractor or see how you get on at milking! There’s plenty to keep you occupied down on the farm.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01223 206000
Watch our YouTube video here

Visitors in the Apostle Garden at Lytes Cary Manor, Somerset.

Visitors in the Apostle Garden at Lytes Cary Manor, Somerset.

14. Go on a walk barefoot
Lyme Park, House and Garden, Cheshire
Bare foot walk, 29 August, 1pm – 3pm
Do you have ticklish feet? Feel the grass between your toes as you walk around Lyme Park and follow the trail before ticking off another activity from your ‘50 things’ list. Set out on your own adventure and build a den in crow wood, fly a kite near the cage or track the wild animals around the park.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01663 762023
Watch our YouTube video here

15. Make a grass trumpet
Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
Summer Holiday ‘50 things’ challenge 13, 20 & 27 August, 11am – 3pm
Every Wednesday in August, Stackpole will be setting up camp at Middle Bay, near Stackpole Quay where friendly education officers will be available to help you complete as many of the ‘50 things’ challenges as possible. You’ll have the chance to go rock pooling, den building or make a daisy chain. Blow into a blade of grass and start up the band by making a grass trumpet. The following week you can try hunting for fossils and bones, catching a crab and our favourite – cooking on a camp fire.
Price: £2
For more information, please call 01646 661425
Watch our YouTube video here

A child holding a fossil, on a beach in Yorkshire

A child holding a fossil, on a beach in Yorkshire

16. Hunt for fossils and bones
Fossil hunting in the South West
The Jurassic Coast is famous for its fossils and Charmouth beach, part of the Golden Cap estate; it is a great starting place. There are not many dinosaur bones around these days but you never know what other treasure you might find if you dig around. Remember, fossils can be found anywhere. They could be buried deep in the ground beneath where you’re standing at this very moment and some lucky people even find them in their own back gardens.
Watch our YouTube video here

17. Go star gazing
Headley Heath, near Boxhill, Surrey
Box Hill is the perfect place to discover a family walk and explore the beautiful Surrey Hills. Forming part of the North Downs, Box Hill has breath-taking views across the surrounding countryside and is a popular spot with local astronomy groups, who consider Headley Heath to be one of the best places in Surrey for stargazing.
For more information, please call 01306 885502

Child taking a close look at a worm

Child taking a close look at a worm

18. Hold a scary beast
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Bug Bonanza 13, 20 & 27 August, 11am – 3pm
Chirk Castle is the ideal place to visit, whether you’re looking for an action packed adventure or a relaxing day out. Enjoy the remoteness, beauty and tranquillity of the estate whilst hunting for bugs. If you find a creepy crawly it might be scary but be brave and see if you can get up close to learn more.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01691 777701
Watch our YouTube video here

19. Hunt for bugs
Whitepark Bay, County Antrim
Go Wild with the Wardens 8 & 22 August, 10am – 12pm
Join the rangers for a morning of fun and adventure on a beautiful stretch of golden sand on the North Antrim coast. Have a go at completing some of your ‘50 things’ with building a den, hunting for bugs and much more. What’s the creepiest crawly you can find on this stretch of golden sand?
Meet at the car park in Whitepark Bay.
For more information, please visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/white-park-bay/
Watch our YouTube video here

20. Catch a falling leaf
Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Wild Wednesday – Astonishing Sticks, 3 September, 11am – 3pm
Visit Cliveden and find out about the amazing activities that can be done with sticks. This witch and wizard themed event will also have craft activities available for kids to get stuck into. Don’t forget to visit the Storybook Play Den and let your imagination run wild as you play amongst wooden carvings of favourite storybook characters whilst the 500 metres of winding paths in the Cliveden Maze make it a challenge for all ages to find the centre. While you’re there tick off number 33 of your ‘50 things’ and try to catch a falling leaf. It’s harder than you think especially in the summer months.
All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Price: £2
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01628605069

21. Track wild animals
Crom, County Fermanagh
Bat Detectives, 28 August, 8pm – 10pm
One of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas, Crom’s ancient woodland and picturesque islands are home to many rare species. All of the bat species found in Northern Ireland can be found here. Visit for an evening of tracking bats and learning more first-hand about these fascinating nocturnal creatures.
Booking essential
Price: Adult £8, Child £4, Family £20
For more information, please call 028 6773 8118
Watch our YouTube video here

Child looking at jar of pond water at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk.

Child looking at jar of pond water at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk.

22. Discover what’s in a pond
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Pond dipping 12, 19 & 26 August, 12pm – 3pm
What will you find in the pond? Murky pond water is full of life, especially in a garden full of plants collected from all over the world. Scoop some out into a tub and see what you can find. Come along and dip into the hidden world beneath the surface and discover something new. Explore and discover the gardens, walk barefoot on the lawns and play pooh sticks in the river.
Normal admission fee applies
For more information, please call 01492 650460
Watch our YouTube video here

Camping at Highertown Campsite, Lansallos, Cornwall.

Camping at Highertown Campsite, Lansallos, Cornwall.

23. Cook on a campfire
Ambleside and Windermere, Cumbria
Woodland explorer week, 26 – 29 August, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Visit St Catherine’s wood for an exciting four day woodland experience for 8 -14 year olds. This jam packed break will include an inspiring mix of bushcraft, greenwood carving, fire lighting, natural arts and crafts, woodland games, shelter building, storytelling and adventure. There’s no kitchen in the great outdoors but there’s no reason to miss dinner. You’ll have the chance to try lighting a fire with a bow drill, barefoot walking, cooking food on a fire and discovering plants and new wildlife. It’s the perfect place to tick off some of your ‘50 things’ activities and to deepen your connection with nature in a stunning Lakeland setting. Children will be guaranteed to leave with a smile on their face and a smell of wood smoke in their hair.
Booking essential
Price: £225 (The course fee includes the overnight camp on the Thursday night (optional for the child and parent/guardian.)
Run by experienced tutors from Woodmatters in Partnership with the National Trust.
For more information, please call 015394 88409 or email gareth@woodmatters.org.uk
Watch our YouTube video here

Background to 50 things and the Trust’s Natural Childhood research

In March 2012, the National Trust published the ‘Natural Childhood’ report which highlighted evidence of a long-term and dramatic decline in children’s relationship with the outdoors. The report called for urgent action to bridge this growing gap before it was too late. Off the back of the research the Trust launched ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ which aimed to encourage more families and children out into the outdoors and get their dose of ‘Wild Time’.

This summer’s campaign will put 50 things on the map like never before and encourage more families outside than ever. But the Trust recognises that it cannot hope to reconnect children with nature on our own. We are founder members of The Wild Network, a revolutionary movement of over 1500 organisations and thousands of individuals who believe that children should roam free, play wild and connect with nature. With the Network, we’re working to bring attention of this issue to as wide an audience as possible. For more, go to www.projectwildthing.com.

Three years on ’50 things’ is still getting children and their families exploring the outdoors – whether at a National Trust place or not. We’ve found that children who get at least 25 of the 50 things under their belt are 15% more connected to nature (judged according to the RSPB’s nature connection index) than when they hadn’t done any. Doing ‘50 things’ makes them more likely to spend time in nature and encourages them to care about other species and the environment.

50 things to do before you’re 11¾

1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Camp out in the wild
4. Build a den
5. Skim a stone
6. Run around in the rain
7. Fly a kite
8. Catch a fish with a net
9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
10. Play conkers
11. Go on a really long bike ride
12. Make a trail with sticks
13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Play in the snow
16. Make a daisy chain
17. Set up a snail race
18. Create some wild art
19. Play pooh sticks
20. Jump over waves
21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild
22. Explore inside a tree
23. Visit a farm
24. Go on a walk barefoot
25. Make a grass trumpet
26. Hunt for fossils and bones
27. Go star gazing
28. Climb a huge hill
29. Explore a cave
30. Hold a scary beast
31. Hunt for bugs
32. Find some frogspawn
33. Catch a falling leaf
34. Track wild animals
35. Discover what’s in a pond
36. Make a home for a wild animal
37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
38. Bring up a butterfly
39. Catch a crab
40. Go on a nature walk at night
41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
42. Go swimming in the sea
43. Build a raft
44. Go bird watching
45. Find your way with a map and compass
46. Try rock climbing
47. Cook on a campfire
48. Learn to ride a horse
49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river

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