– It’s a big word with a wonderful meaning!
“An innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world. (Biologist E.O. Wilson)
In short, we love nature! And nature loves us! Studies show that being in nature improves both our physical and mental health and can even improve our immunity and help us sleep better. In fact, as little as 20 minutes in nature has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels, improve mood and boost happiness.
We are so blessed in Cornwall to be surrounded by nature. We have beaches, woodlands, and fields all on our doorstep. However, at this time of year it’s all rather busy and at the moment especially we want to avoid crowds as much as possible. So how do we get all the benefits of nature at a time like this?
Under normal circumstances, we are a family that lives at the Beach or woodland trail. At weekends we prioritise this over jobs and errands as we know it’s what we all need most after a long week. The benefits for us all are massive! But in August every year our beaches and woodlands are full, and we are not a family who enjoys crowds even at the best of times. So, we get creative and at this time our experience of doing this has helped us retain our love of nature, even while shielding.
Here are some tips for avoiding the crowds and still getting out in nature and seeing the benefits for you and your children.
Don’t forget nature can be found in your back garden – If you’re lucky enough to have some outside space it can be really fun to find creative ways to get out there and have some fun. Den building, bug hunting and assault courses are just some of the fun things you can do in your garden. As the nights draw in how about some star gazing, or hedgehog spotting?
The early bird catches the worm – If like us you have younger children it’s likely you are up rather early in the morning. Why not make use of this and get to the beach before anyone else? We like to pack up our breakfast and get to the beach for 7am, where at that time you only see a few intrepid dog walkers. Then we are off home again before the crowds having enjoyed a dose of nature. Trust me, getting out the door is hard but so worth it! Also, If your young people are older and unlikely to get up early, maybe late evening is a good time to find some space.
Go off the beaten track – It’s often worth finding walks and spaces that are lesser known to visitors. We have a historical monument near us whose only crowds are the local herd of sheep! We can have a wellie walk there in the afternoon while the crowds are all at the beach. (As long as we don’t mind a little sheep poo) Maybe ask around your local community for ideas on places like this near you.
These are just a few ideas; do you have any of your own? Where does your family get some nature? As always, make sure you do things at your own pace and stick to what feels safe for you. Stay strong, stay safe, stay kind!
To find more ideas for getting outdoors, check out The Cornwall Summer outdoor activity program here.
– Blog written by Terrie