Climb a tree
'When I climbed up and looked down, everyone else looked like mice they were so small. I liked the fact that you could hide and see the house from inside the tree.’
- Jessica Swales, Kids’ Council, aged 8
Release your inner monkey and climb to the top of a giant tree.
‘Climb a tree’ has been chosen by our Kids’ Council as the number 1 activity on the 50 things challenge. To get you started, our tree-climbing visitors and rangers have picked some of the top places in the country to scale nature’s brilliant climbing frames.
‘It was nice and tall and there were a lot of branches to climb up. The branches were close together which made climbing it easier, I didn't have to stretch to reach each branch.’
- Jessica Swales, aged 8
Jessica Swales, from our Kids’ Council thinks that Wallington’s special ‘climbing tree’ is simply the best tree for getting up high in and ticking off the number 1 50 things activity. Its proper name is a Nootka tree and it has lots of low branches and really smooth bark to make climbing it easy peasy.
‘I really like climbing trees in Dinefwr because you can see so far when you are up there. Last year, we had a go at climbing with a harness and I got almost to the top.’
- Harrison Cole Cooper, aged 7
There are thousands of trees at Dinefwr, it is famous for them and is one reason why it's a Parkland National Nature Reserve. While some trees are over 600 and quite precious, there are a few corkers that are perfect for climbing.
The best one is the 'Phoenixing oak’. It’s not far from the welcome centre and it’s brilliant for beginners, with a branch that has grown long and reaches the ground for a great starting point.
Be a bird and climb up to your perch in the best tree for climbing at Rowallane, the big grandfather tree in the pleasure grounds, the horse chestnut. Here you can look down on the world and feel the wind in your face
Top tip from Averil Milligan, head gardener at Rowallane: 'When picking a tree look for nice chunky branches low down which will hold you snugly and make sure your parents are there to catch you on camera.'
‘I love coming to Brownsea Island because you can climb trees and there’s lots of wildlife too - there are red squirrels, sika deer, peacocks and lots of birds on the lagoon.’
- Leo Curtis, aged 13
The tree trail at Brownsea is a climber’s dream. The trees have been graded by difficulty so see if you can climb the easy, medium and hard trees, as well as making your way across some of the fallen logs that have also snuck into the trail.
Watch out for the Holm oak, it’s the ranger’s favourite as you have to weave in and out of the branches. During the trail you can also identify the trees by their bark, fruit and leaves, as well as take bark rubbings.
There are so many trees to try out at Speke Hall, with woodland areas, wildflower meadows, open fields and orchard, all with great branches to hike up. Look out for the ranger who is a tree climbing expert.
Some of the trees have historical carvings dating back many years – see if you can find the old messages and work out their meaning.
‘I like climbing trees here, it’s a challenge.’
- Jordon, aged 8
There are thousands of trees that are ideal for climbing at medieval Hatfeld Forest, as well as for hiding behind and building dens against. Just look out for the really old ones as at the grand old age of 1,200 they don’t like being trampled on too much – so it’s best to stick to the younger ones.
Hundreds of bugs, birds and bats live in the forest – can you spot their homes and tick off 'track wild animals' from the 50 things challenge.
See this world-famous garden from the tops of some of the tallest trees in the UK. In fact, Stourhead is home to the tallest English oak tree in the country at 40 meters but Stourhead's resident tree climbing expert, Joe Ashman, recommends the slightly smaller but just as impressive tulip trees for climbing.
Stowe has 250 acres of space to discover and play, including many old trees to climb. You can also pick up family activity packs to help identify the trees you climb, do bark rubbings and hunt for bugs (number 31 on the 50 things challenge).