To celebrate the launch of its 2013 list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ the National Trust has 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, the charity 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.
Over half of the children questioned (63 per cent) chose tree climbing, den building and bike riding as the top three activities, with 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.
Off the back of the study the National Trust 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 National Trust staff has been updated for 2013. Fifteen 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 Lacey, Dorset
10. Go on a walk barefoot – Strumble Head to Cardigan, Pembrokeshire
Den building (73 per cent) was voted the most fun and exciting activity by under 12s, and 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 also revealed that adults share the same love of outdoor adventures as children, with parents also choosing long bike rides (33 per cent), den building (24 per cent) and tree climbing (15 per cent) as the activities they most enjoyed as a child.
However, four in five (83 per cent) parents reported that their child spends less time playing outdoors than they did at their age, with almost three quarters (73 per cent) blaming the rise in technology as the main obstacle for boys and over a third (71 per cent) claiming concerns over safety prevents girls from enjoying the great outdoors. Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) 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 11¾ 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 the National Trust’s Kingston Lacey, 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 activities taking place around the UK, with hundreds of events happening over this bank holiday weekend To find out more about the 50 things adventures visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50things