National Trust: what to do after the great sporting summer
PUBLISHED: 16:06 14 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:43 20 February 2013
After the great sporting summer how can we keep our activity levels high? Emma Brien, of The National Trust, tells us
The summer of 2012 has been truly historic, with the Queens Diamond Jubilee dazzling us in June and the Olympic Games filling us with pride in July. So, how can we keep the momentum going to make sure that August is filled with just as many wonderful memories? The kids are off school for the whole month, so there is plenty of time to plan some great days out and where better to do that that in the heart of National Trust countryside?
We are extremely fortunate in Sussex to have some beautiful countryside, which is open and accessible to everyone. From the rolling South Downs to the dramatic East Sussex coastline, there are all kinds of different habitats and wild-life species for us to enjoy. Here are four great suggestions to help you make the most of them this summer.
Going on a wildlife hunt
The countryside of Sussex abounds with wildlife, from insects to birds
of prey; coastal flowers to woodland trees. Our mission is to introduce
as many people as possible to the resident flora and fauna. For example, we look after miles of stunning coastline in Sussex, where children can enjoy exploring the sand dunes, rock pools and shorelines for interesting sea life.
At Birling Gap in East Sussex our team is running a series of wildlife events, such as rock pooling, fossil hunting and beach-inspired art workshops over the summer holidays. Check online for dates, prices and booking details.
Then, over on the South Downs, young nature fans can join in more wildlife hunting events, such as an evening bat trail on Black Down and Marley Commons and mini-beast safaris at Devils Dyke and Slindon Estate. In fact, budding naturalists will really enjoy exploring different areas of the South Downs this summer, including Saddlescombe Farm and Harting Down. Dont forget to bring your magnifying glass and wildlife books with you! Our website carries details of other organised events taking place, as well as different kinds of wildlife you might be lucky enough to spot. Have a browse and see what takes your fancy.
Walking back to happiness
Guided walks have been planned across the county this summer, from Devils Dyke and Slindon Estate in West Sussex to Birling Gap and Frog Firle Farm to the east. Wildlife thrives in these very diverse areas that take in farmland, woodland and coastal habitats and we encourage visitors to come and see for themselves how we are managing the long-term future of these areas and their wild residents.
Many of the wider estates of our houses and gardens are ideal for summer strolls too and there is usually a National Trust shop or
caf to return to for a well-earned ice cream or cup of tea at the end.
Packing up a picnic
So far, the nations summer has been all about Jubilee street parties, strawberries at Wimbledon and feasts celebrating Olympic glory. Food has played a vital part in our enjoyment of the season to date, and we see no reason why this should not continue. Children will love to help pack up a picnic, making sandwiches, going shopping for treats and even baking some delicious cakes or biscuits to add to the basket.
Top picnic spots are easy to find in our region. There is a special evening parkland picnic event with live music in the Woolbeding countryside in mid August, while anyone seeking spectacular views and fascinating wildlife should head over to Devils Dyke to enjoy a perfectly picturesque picnic. Details are available on our website just remember to take all your rubbish home with you when you leave.
Survive in the wild
Finally, the untamed nature of the countryside areas we look after across Sussex allows truly intrepid explorers to enjoy finding out more about how to survive in the wild. From foraging for food to building weather-proof dens, there is certainly plenty to learn about.
Children can try their hand at green woodworking on Black Down and Marley Commons at the end of July, for example. There are also endless places where you can build a den, climb a tree, practise your bird calls and set and follow a woodland trail again, please see online for ideas for family activities to try outdoors and places to do them.
Whatever you do this summer, we hope you will spend plenty of time with us in the great outdoors, enjoying some of the finest wildlife habitats and countryside in the UK.
Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk for more details.