Get closer to nature with the Woodland Trust
The weather is warming up, the sun has definitely got his hat on and now is the perfect time for budding Nature Detectives to go down to the woods and connect with the great outdoors.
The Woodland Trust has lots of activities for families to try from spotting spring flowers and birds, creating woodland art or getting dirty while searching for creepy crawlies.
One of the most iconic flowers you can go looking for while spring is in full flow is the stunning bluebell. Also known as ring-o’-bells, cuckoo’s boots, lady’s nightcap and witches’ thimbles, these delicate blooms are one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Just be careful not to trample or pick them. One of the best places in Lincolnshire to find an amazing carpet of bluebells is Tattershall Carrs, which is also a really great place to visit if you’re interested in history and aeroplanes due to its role as the home of the famous 617 ‘Dambusters’ squadron during the Second World War.
Did you know that trees are some of the oldest living things on the planet? But how can you tell which ones are the really old ones? If you want to go on an ancient tree hunt look for ones that are
· Short and fat, with wide trunks
· Covered in knobbly, warty bits
· Missing their crown (top)
· Rough and craggy, with lots of nooks and crannies in the bark
· Home to heaps of fungi, mosses and lichens
Maybe you could take a measuring tape and measure around the bottom of the tree at its fattest point. The fattest trees are the oldest! If you don’t have a tape to hand, hold hands with the family and see how many “hugs” wide the trunk is.
You could also see how many different things you can see living in the tree. A nice big oak can easily support 500 different species.
It wouldn’t be a British summer without rainy days, so you’ll also need some things to do inside as well. If you love seeing our feathered friends in your garden you can make bird feeders. All you need is lard, bird seed and a cookie cutter or two. But it’s messy, so be ready to get your hands dirty!
· Cut the soft lard into pieces, put it in a bowl with the bird seed and mix together
· Place cutters on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
· Firmly press the mixture into the cookie cutters and poke a hole in each one
· Put them in the fridge to set
· Hang your feeders in the garden and wait for the birds to tuck in.
If you’re inspired to get out and about, a great starting point is to find your nearest wood at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods. Don’t forget to wear tough shoes and pack wellies and an anorak in case of bad weather. You can also pack a picnic and before you go download some spotter sheets or other activities from the Nature Detectives site. If you enjoy them you might consider joining the Woodland Trust as a fully paid up Nature Detective. You’ll get a fantastic welcome pack bursting with awesome activities, an activity folder, stickers, bookmark and membership card, seasonal activity packs for outdoor adventures all year round and details of events in your area. Find out more at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives