Thursday 10th December 2020
Grab your wellies, wrap up warm and get ready for winter adventures with these great tips from GoWildGoWest!
Picture winter. What do you get? Damp, bitter, windy, dark? The Big Bad Wolf of all the seasons? On a cold, grey rainy day, it can be really hard to muster the enthusiasm to head outdoors. Nevertheless, getting out and about in winter is essential. For us humans, it is just as restorative as it is in the spring and summer months.
With varying degrees of COVID restrictions set to be in place for the rest of the season, and with them the prospect of isolation, cabin-fever and loneliness, this winter has the potential to be particularly tough.
Fear not! Before the doom and gloom really sets in, there is a way to beat the winter blues and it starts with this 2-parter! Second part coming soon!
When the only alternative is to sit at home, there’s nothing to loose. Maybe, this is the winter to challenge ourselves to get outdoors and see what happens. We can’t really go far, so it’s a great opportunity to get to know our local patch in all its’ winter glory.
Here is the first part of our top tips for getting outdoors and having some fun this winter.
1. ADVENTURE IN THE DARK
The evenings draw in much earlier in winter so it’s a perfect time to get out and enjoy the dark. The children don’t often get to enjoy this time outdoors so there’s always an added level of excitement and anticipation. Wrap up warm, take a thermos of hot chocolate, and venture out into the night on an evening expedition and see if you can find any of our nocturnal wildlife starting their daily routine.
Equipment needed: torch / head torch
2. WATCH THE SUNSET
There is no better sunset than a winter sunset! Find your nearest hill and climb it to get the best views, or snuggle down in your local park or garden and watch as the light changes. Our favourite spot to watch the sunset is high over Chew Valley Lake with the Yeo Valley farm in sight!
You can check the time of the sunset on google or any weather app and be sure to arrive roughly 15 minutes beforehand so you don’t miss the action. The clearer the sky and the colder the night the better, but there’s something to be said for watching the dimming blue light of a cloudy day too.
Equipment needed: Warm coat, hat and gloves (and ideally a hipflask!), head torch for after dark
3. TRACK A TAWNY OWL
Owls are wonderful birds that capture the imaginations of children and adults alike. But to me, they’ve always seemed like out of reach, night time creatures that live in some far-off place. Well, it turns out that Tawny owls live around us, countryside and city alike, and we can very easily enjoy them!
The call of the Tawny owl is absolutely incredible. One of the most fantastic sounds in nature. If you’ve ever been out at dusk in late Autumn and heard a loud noise that made you say ‘what on EARTH was that, it was probably a Tawny. At this time of year the male and female Tawny owls mark their winter territory, and they do this by calling LOUDLY to each other. They’re known for their ‘twit-twoo’ call but I’ve never quite understood that. To my ears, the males give a beautiful, deep Hoo – Hoo – Hoooo and the females respond with an intense, sharp KER-WICK!
Head out on a walk at dusk and listen for the calls of the Tawny’s. Hearing these amazing birds reminds us that nature lives all around us, you just need to stop and notice it.
If you’re unsure about the noises you hear, check on the British Trust for Ornithology website.
Equipment needed: Your ears! Plus an ear trumpet if you’ve got one! Why not try making one out of scrap paper?
4. GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS
I’m not talking about the people that live next door or down your street, I’m talking about your wild neighbours. The wonderful thing about nature is that it is all around us. You can seek it out:
- in your garden
- in the park
- in the woods
- and, dare I say it, in your house!
As we’re all staying local at the moment, why not really get to know the wonderful wildlife that you live with?
We may well think that just because it’s winter, all the outside fun stops but you can create your own fun outdoors with the family and make this winter an adventurous one!
For more outdoor adventures, take a look at our other tips here
To find out more details on each outdoor activity listed here and far more mini-adventures, head to the GoWildGoWest website https://gowildgowest.co.uk
Or follow @gowildgowest on Instagram or Facebook