Woodland Wonder: Five Interesting (and Useful) Things to do when you go Down to the Woods

For many of us outdoors lovers, being in amongst woodland comes as second nature. Indeed for many, outdoors types or not, spending time in the fresh air and being at one with nature is considered beneficial and enjoyable.

But what if there was even more you could do in the great outdoors? How would it be if you could discover a new activity that’s interesting and useful and gets you, your friends and family learning and challenging each other?

Here are some of our favourite woodland activity suggestions to help you do just that. So, if you go down to the woods today, you might just find yourself a little surprised by what you can learn…

Foraging

We all know the benefits of shopping locally and eating seasonally. But have you thought about how this can relate to your local woodland? Foraging for wild food has been a past time for many years, but lots of people are put off by potentially collecting inedible materials.

Learning how to forage responsibly is key. The Woodland Trust has excellent guidelines on the responsible collection of wild food, to ensure that you not only forage safely, but also sustainably, and stay within the law. Remember that the woods are a great place to collect the likes of hawberries, blackberries, elderflower and sloes, which can be made into jams, soups, wine, beers, liqueurs and cordials!

Wild Woodland Art

We’ve mentioned previously the recent rock art craze sweeping the nation. Creating wild woodland art is kind of along the same lines. It’s definitely something the whole family can get involved in, which is why we love it.

Teach the kids about the seasons by gathering acorns, grasses, conkers and leaves, and then turning it into a masterpiece! There’s no better artist than Mother Nature in all her wild glory, after all. 

Climate Change Calendar

 We all know there are some obvious things that we can do to help in the fight against climate change, but you can also help research the changes in our weather whilst on your jollies into the woods.

How? Well, take a look at the Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar website. Here you can track everything that’s happening down in the woods near to you: everything from early spring blooms to butterfly sightings, and – if you feel that it’s important in terms of climate change – you can track it here.

What’s great is there’s no time commitment to this project; it just has to be based on somewhere you visit regularly (even your local dog walking route is a great place to start). You can also upload photographic evidence too. It all helps to build a massively useful portfolio for climate change researchers.

bioblitzExpertly Observe

With trees under threat from both new and established pests, woodland being felled and climate change affecting the habitat of many a species, taking part in an observation project is a really worthwhile exercise.

We’ve recommended getting involved with BioBlitzing recently. It’s a great way of becoming a bit of an expert in a field that already interests you. Alternatively, how about becoming an Observatree volunteer? You’ll become a trained specialist volunteer, sharing key information on tree pests, diseases and tree health best practice.

Make a Wild Animal at Home

Another activity the whole family can get stuck into is creating a home for a wild woodland creature. Why not try making a bug hotel, a mouse motel or a hedgehog house?

Go down to the woods, think about the creature you’re creating for (does it like the warmth? The dark? The wet?) and then collect suitable materials such as grasses, dried leaves, twigs and pine cones. Then, using the likes of old pallets, bricks and broken plant pots, layer these into a hotel a small creature would love to call home sweet home!

The woods are an excellent place to do good for the environment and enjoy yourself at the same time. Why not try something a little bit different, and a little bit useful, the next time you go down to the woods?