Inspirational ideas for Summer

Exploring hidden nature © K Dunlap

Exploring hidden nature

Two of the National Trust’s leading properties in Cambridgeshire spearhead campaign to get children outdoors and closer to nature.

With the long summer holidays looming, Anglesey Abbey and Wicken Fen are taking a leading role in the Trust’s ambitious target to reach out to the ‘cotton wool generation’ - encouraging children to reduce their reliance on electronic gadgets and computers for entertainment, in favour of the simple pleasures of the outdoors.

At Anglesey Abbey, the emphasis is on self-led family activities, particularly in the Wildlife Discovery Area, a 25 acre haven for wildlife and outdoor play. The starting point is a trip to the Inspiration Station in the Visitor Centre, where staff and family volunteers will help families plan their day out. Children can collect specially designed ‘wild adventure’ knapsacks packed with ideas, guides and equipment for a themed wild adventure, ranging for wildlife spotting, wild art, den building, exploring historic Lode Mill, storytelling, to discovering the secret world of minibeasts. Children who complete six ‘wild adventure’ activities will receive a certificate. This summer food is also being offered in the Wildlife Discovery Area, with Nature’s Wild Diner (weekends only) serving a range barbecued locally sourced meats with rustic tables and seating made from leaf designs.

Children are being encouraged to share their adventures at Anglesey Abbey by posting memories of their day on the Community Wall, close to the main visitor centre. Pictures and stories from their day out can be posted in specially designed post boxes or sent by e-mail to angleseyabbeywall@nationaltrust.org.uk

Wicken Fen is offering a series of organised events and activities led by experienced staff and volunteers. These activities range from the ever popular pond dipping, den building, bird spotting to the very messy ‘mud glorious mud’. Details of events and booking information can be found on the Wicken Fen website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wickenfen

New for this year is a Family Camp Out (Thurs 14 - Fri 15 August, 5pm-11am)– promising at night of fun activities in the wild for the whole family. The adventure starts with a walk from Wicken Fen to the secret wild campsite, plus a barbecue supper, with activities from bat detecting to stargazing. After hearty breakfast there are further activities such as geocaching before the walk back to Wicken. The cost is £80 for up to 4 people in a half shelter. Booking can be made by calling the Wicken Fen Visitor Centre on 01353 720274.

“We hope our exciting range of activities and events will inspire children to play outdoors more and to develop a greater appreciation for the fantastic countryside and wildlife we have here in Cambridgeshire” says Laura Booty, Visitor Experience Manager at Anglesey Abbey, “It’s a real shame that many children choose to stay indoors when there’s so much to see and do literally on their doorstep”.