Natural Childhood report – five years on

Five years on from the Natural Childhood report more families than ever are enjoying nature at National Trust places.

Last year almost 4.5 million family members visited the conservation charity’s places – with visits growing steadily over the last five years.

BioBlitz5, Copyright National Trust, credit Steven Haywood

Continue reading


On the hunt for wild words

We’re going on a newt hunt. We’re going to catch a big one.

Newt. One of the words taken out of the Oxford Junior Dictionary nearly eight years ago. Along with Acorn, Sycamore and 110 other words about nature and the countryside.

These are words disappearing from children’s lives. The National Trust, as one of the founder members of The Wild Network, is supporting the organisation in its new campaign to ‘reclaim’ the wild words which have been dropped.

Help us stop our 'wild' words from disappearing

Help us stop our ‘wild’ words from disappearing

Continue reading

Be an ‘Eggsplorer’ this Easter

National Trust teams up with Cadbury to offer families an Easter weekend of fun

Children playing in a tree at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

It’s that time of the year again when Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out with their popular Easter Egg Trails.

This year, the Cadbury Eggsplorers Easter Egg Trail (3-6 April) will be inviting families to unleash their inner explorer with adventurous trails taking place across the country.

Continue reading

National Trust campaigns to connect 200,000 kids with the natural world

National Trust/ MischiefPR, Andy Fallon

Hugh Dennis lends his support to the 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 campaign

The National Trust is aiming to get 200,000 kids playing outside this summer as part of its commitment to connect the ‘cotton wool generation’ with nature.

By September the UK conservation charity hopes to have helped one in twenty of Britain’s 7-12 year olds (five per cent ) break their reliance on gadgets and computers for entertainment, and experience the simple pleasures of outdoor adventure.

Comedian and actor Hugh Dennis who is lending his support to the campaign says: “My most treasured childhood memories are of being in the outdoors so it’s a sad thought that kids today aren’t enjoying the experiences which we remember so fondly. There are so many simple delights to be had – and it doesn’t have to be a chore or ordeal to do either. Back gardens can be as much as a treasure trove for kids as the seaside or a local park.”

To mark the official start of its annual 50 Things to do before you are 11¾ campaign, the National Trust is hosting more than 1,000 activities and events over the school holidays to encourage families to experience nature. Showing the nation that getting outdoors doesn’t mean getting in the car, Rangers from the charity have also identified the top ten activities on the bucket list that can be done in a garden or local park.

Top 50 Things activities to do in a garden or local park
1. Climb a tree
2. Hunt for bugs
3. Create some wild art
4. Fly a kite
5. Play pooh sticks
6. Plant it, grow it, eat it
7. Build a den
8. Set up a snail race
9. Explore inside a tree
10. Make a daisy chain

The initiative follows new research commissioned by the charity showing that children aged 7-12 spend less time playing outside compared to any other generation. According to the findings, over half of today’s children (54 per cent) spend less than an hour outside each day, whilst one in four (25 per cent) get less than 30 minutes a day in the outdoors. This compares to their parents who spent an average of 2 hours 34 minutes outside each day as children. More than half of grandparents (53 per cent) spent over three hours playing outside when they were aged 7-12, compared to just six per cent of children today.

Despite this, a massive 85 per cent cite playing outside as one of their greatest childhood memories with 91 per cent admitting these experiences have nurtured their love of and need for green spaces in their lives.

Proving that 50 Things is and can make a difference, recent independent data commissioned by the Trust has revealed that half of kids (48 per cent) who have tried an outdoor activity on the list such as climbing a tree, building a den or flying a kite have a greater connection and bond with nature. Children who enjoy the simple pleasures of outdoor adventures are more likely to develop long lasting relationships with the natural world and care about protecting these special places for future generations.

To help families nationwide get involved the Trust has lots of tips and ideas for activities to do over the school holidays on its website as well as an app launching mid July, which will indicate activities on the list that can be done in the surrounding area.

Helen Meech, Assistant Director, Outdoors and Nature Engagement at The National Trust commented:

“We really want kids to enjoy being in the outdoors and to care about nature, so it becomes part of their life as they grow up. The memories made as a child stay with you forever, and if outdoor places are part of these memories then hopefully children will grow up wanting to protect these special places for years to come. I’m sure if nature had a voice it would say that it misses today’s children and wants to be part of their childhood adventures.”

The 50 Things to do before you are 11¾ campaign was first launched in 2012. To date over 90,000 of the nation’s youngsters have signed up to tackle the list. Children who complete all the 50 Things on the bucket list will receive a unique visit pass that will enable them and a parent to access over 200 National Trust places, helping them to develop that long term connection to the natural world.
To find out more about the 50 Things visit

Getting active on Trust land

A new report published today by the All Party Commission on Physical Activity has highlighted the need for greater physical activity amongst the UK population.

With news that physical inactivity accounts for nearly one-fifth of premature deaths in the UK and rising, Rob Joules, the National Trust’s Sports Partnership Manager, explains how the Trust is working with partner organisations to encourage more people to take part in sport.

“This new report highlights the growing epidemic of inactivity and the serious dangers this Visitors enjoying a game of beach volleyball at Shell Bay, Studland, Dorset. Chris Laceyposes for our children’s health. We’re working with a variety of partners to help create greater entry level sporting opportunities, which we believe are the key to encouraging more people to get active. By working with these organisations we’re focusing on developing fun, social activities that will help people lead more active lifestyles.

Continue reading

Vote for ’50 things’ and the National Trust

’50 things to do before you’re 11¾ ‘has captured the hearts of the nation, and to prove it we’ve been shortlisted under two categories for the Brand Republic Future 5 Awards!

Help us win by placing your votes on ‘The Big Idea’ and ‘Audience Participation’ categories before the end of August, and then pass on to colleagues, friends and encourage them to vote too!

Here’s is why our Kid’s Council believe we should get your vote:

For more information, why not visit the Outdoor Nation Blog.

If you think our work on reconnecting children with nature is worthy of winning tell us why with #future5awards #50things

THE UK’S BEST TREE FOR CLIMBING – National Trust reveals ultimate locations to enjoy charity’s 2013 wild bucketlist

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.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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