The UK's best tree for climbing

50 Things: The best tree to climb

50 Things: The best tree to climb

Latest update 02.05.2013 09:59

To celebrate the launch of our 2013 list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4, we have identified the best places around the UK for outdoor adventures, including the greatest tree to climb.

In a bid to help children reconnect with nature, we asked more than 1,700 kids to vote on their top outdoor activities and reasons why, and then set about finding the ultimate places where they could be enjoyed.

Our findings

  • Over half of the children questioned (63 per cent) chose tree climbing, den building and bike riding as the top three activities
  • half (51 per cent) agreeing that tree climbing was one of their favourite activities as it is the most challenging
  • Nearly all parents (96 per cent) agreed these activities helped to strengthen their child’s relationship with the natural world

A perfect tree for climbing
Off the back of the study, we chose the 45 foot high Nootka Cypress evergreen at Wallington, Northumberland, for tree climbing, after agreeing that its trunk height and branches made it ideal for mini adventurers. Other favourites on the list were going on a really long bike ride at Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire, and building your own den at Lyme Park, in Cheshire.

Following last year’s success, the list of 50 outdoors adventures from our staff has been updated for 2013. 15 new experiences were suggested by children across the country over the 2012 summer holidays, including star gazing and daisy chain making.

Over 40,000 kids signed up to the initiative in its launch last year.

The overall top ten activities and best places in the UK to experience them are:
1. Go on a really long bike ride – Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
2. Build a den – Lyme Park’s woodland, Cheshire
3. Climb a tree – Wallington’s ‘the tree climbing tree’, Northumberland
4. Cook on a campfire – Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
5. Hunt for fossils and bones – Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex
6. Discover what’s in a pond – Florence Court, County Fermanagh
7. Track wild animals – Castle Drogo, Devon
8. Hold a scary beast – Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
9. Go birdwatching – Kingston Lacy, Dorset
10. Go on a walk barefoot – Strumble Head to Cardigan, Pembrokeshire

Further findings

  • Den building (73 per cent) was voted the most fun and exciting activity by under 12s
  • Over half (60 per cent) of children chose bike riding because they could do it with their family
  • Four out of five (80 per cent) parents said they’d like to see their children get outdoors and tackle activities such as tree climbing more

The research revealed that adults share the same love of outdoor adventures as children, with parents also choosing long bike rides, den building, and tree climbing as the activities they most enjoyed as a child. However, four in five parents reported that their child spends less time playing outdoors than they did at their age, with almost three quarters blaming the rise in technology as the main obstacle for boys and over a third claiming concerns over safety prevents girls from enjoying the great outdoors. Nearly three quarters of parents agree that active adventures, such as tree climbing, are the best way to get their children playing outside.

Jessica Swales, National Trust Kids Council member and tree climbing ambassador (aged 8), commented:

'I have completed every activity from the 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 list and tree climbing is my favourite thing to do outdoors, so I’m really glad other children really like it too. I love playing outside and climbing this big tree at Wallington with my friends was great fun. I can’t wait to get outside and do the stuff on the new 50 things list!'

Andrew Hunt, Head Gardener at Kingston Lacy, best for birdwatching, commented:

'We are passionate about getting children outdoors and we want to encourage kids everywhere to play outside and connect with nature, so we’re thrilled at how many under 12s have been engaging with the 50 things initiative. This inspired us to source the nation’s best tree to climb and place for bird-watching, and we hope our new list and ‘best of’ recommendations across the country will encourage even more kids to get into the wild this year.'

To help kids tick off their list, over the summer the National Trust has over 7,000 50-things-inspired events and activities taking place around the UK.