Tag Archives: exploring

Discover the New Forest – ‘We’re going on a cone hunt’

Cones in hand: Douglas fir, Western hemlock, Coast redwood
Cones: Douglas fir, Western hemlock, Coast redwood

Cones make a beautiful addition to Christmas wreathes and decorations but often go unnoticed, hanging high in trees, out of reach until they fall to the ground.  Commonly called pine cones, there are in fact many kinds of cones that grow on different cone bearing trees called conifers. A short walk along the Tall Trees Trail in the New Forest is a wonderful way to experience and learn about some very spectacular conifer trees and their unique cone designs. Read on to begin your cone hunt challenge. Continue reading Discover the New Forest – ‘We’re going on a cone hunt’

Nature inspired autumn land art

Where does a Leaf Cat go when the wind blows? Don't forget to take a photo of your land art
Where does a Leaf Cat go when the wind blows? Don’t forget to take a photo of your land art.

Autumn is my favourite time of the year to be outdoors exploring the New Forest; foraging for juicy blackberries, collecting fallen crab apples and enjoying the season’s changing colours. It’s also a wonderful time to create some amazing land art – all you need are leaves and a creative imagination. Continue reading Nature inspired autumn land art

Close encounters with dragonflies

Close encounters with a newly emerged adult dragonfly - magical moment
Close encounters with a newly emerged adult dragonfly – a wonder of nature

Did you know the New Forest is one of the best places in the UK to spot a dragonfly?  Of the 36 species which exist in this county, an amazing 74% of them can be found here. June and early July is the wonderful time to observe dragonflies as they emerge from their larval cases and exchange a life in water for one of flying. So with streams, rivers, ponds and wet bogs aplenty to explore follow these tips to observe and learn about their incredible lives. Continue reading Close encounters with dragonflies

A Walk in the Wild

Set your feet free and be tickled by a daisy
                Set your feet free and be tickled by a daisy

Join in with The Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild and challenge yourself to do something wild every day this June.

Here are some of my favourite ‘rewilding’ experiences to help you explore and reconnect with the wild places of the New Forest. And your local wild space – whether it’s an allotment or back garden – can be a magical place to discover. Read on for ideas….. Continue reading A Walk in the Wild

Drawing from Nature


Illustration: Winter robin (lino print based on outdoor sketches)
Illustration: Winter Robin (lino print based on outdoor sketches)

The personal benefits we can draw from nature are huge. I find nature itself an endless source of joy and inspiration for my teaching but more importantly in my life itself. Recently whilst quietly observing and sketching a robin that regularly visits my garden I became aware of its large keen eyes, the striking rusty red bib that extends over its face and chest, and its familiar round body shape when it ruffles up its feathers. I was able to express this moment of joy and wonder by using my sketches to design a lino print.

We can all gain inspiration from looking closely at nature – even in the bleak mid-winter.  Drawing outdoors teaches us to be still, to be observant and respectful to living things. You’ll be amazed at how well people can draw when given time and space in nature.  Here are some tips to help you and your group get creative. Continue reading Drawing from Nature

Girl Guiding UK at Lepe Country Park

english_compact_pantoneHere at Lepe we have been welcoming groups from Girl Guiding UK to discover the fascinating history of our underground monitoring post.

The 2nd Dibden Purlieu Brownie Pack joined us on a special evening to find out all about the Royal Observer Corps (ROC) and the work they did to protect the local people. They used their reporter skills to find out how the underground monitoring post was used to monitor radiation and warn the public. We then used our findings to write postcards to loved ones.

The girls worked so hard that they all achieved their Culture Badge!


Holbury and District Trefoil group also came along to Lepe to meet two ROC volunteers in person and ask them all about their duties as part of the ministry defence.

DSC_9178webAs well as talking through the equipment and its uses we viewed the monitoring post using our inverted periscope; to see down below ground.

If you are interested in bringing a Brownies or Guides group along to work towards their Culture Badge, or if you know a Trefoil group that would like to come and find out more, then please contact Nia.Crouch@hants.gov.uk.

Brambles and blackberries

A keen blackberry forager!
            A keen but careful blackberry forager!

Blackberries must be one of our favourite and most commonly gathered wild food. Easy to recognise, children quickly learn how to identify blackberry fruits and eagerly help gather this annual feast. Foraging for wild foods is a wonderful activity which connects us to the seasons, increases observational and sensory skills and deepens our relationship to the natural world around us. For ‘blackberrying’ facts and activities read on …. Continue reading Brambles and blackberries