• June Nature Challenge

    I'm fairly conscious about how much we get outdoors and appreciate nature, sure I love it most when I'm in a nice wilderness setting, with a fire and a knife, whittling away at some project or another... But that's certainly not doable the majority of the time and for some there's very rarely the opportunity, then of course there's a whole load of people that never really get out into nature, or even get to appreciate the nature that's right there and available...

    In light of all that when I saw this challenge on the BBC website it prompted me to think about it all again, as I do often and I figure that it's a good one to share.

    The basic thing that called out to me was the simple question, Can you do something wild every day for a month? What a great question and what a great challenge and what I'd like to see is what you lads and lasses get up to each day in the way of wild. So, please feel free to comment on this article with what you've been up to, or what your plans are for tomorrow and the next day etc so that you can experience some more 'Wild' in your life.

    Because, according to the Trusts, only one in ten children ever play in wild places. However, being disconnected from nature is a problem that can affect all of us, both young and old.

    Reasons we tend to leave mother nature behind include: busier roads, parents being more cautious of letting children play outside, fewer wild places to explore and an increase in indoor attractions such as television and computer games.

    “The association of the outdoors as being a place for fun, enjoyment and socialising has diminished,” said Lucy McRobert, Nature Matters campaign manager for the Wildlife Trusts.

    The idea that children are growing up away from nature isn’t a new one: reports from the National Trust in 2012 and the RSPB in 2013 highlighted some of the issues.

    There are a lot of factors contributing to our increased rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression, according to McRobert.

    “We have locked ourselves off from the natural world and in doing so have become more unhealthy as a result.
    “Nature isn’t the cure-all for these illnesses but it can go a long way to controlling and preventing symptoms from developing,” she said.

    30 Days Wild
    This is the UK’s first ever month-long nature challenge and it’s easier to take part in than you might think.

    The Wildlife Trusts are asking people, both young and old, to be creative and invent their own ‘random acts of wildness’. They could be as simple as following a bee to see where it leads you, smell a wildflower or make a wild work of art for others to enjoy.
    The possibilities are endless.

    "People who have regular experiences with nature should find themselves feeling happier and healthier"

    BBC Source article

    Wildlife Trust website
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      I like the sound of this Tony.

      Up in Dudley doing some indoor training and staying in a Premier Inn. No kids with me so I will go for a bimble and kick of with a wild flower or two.

      I will look to get my kids involved when I get home.


    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      Here we go - my bit of wildness for tonight was to just get out this evening from my rather corporate hotel and see what nature I could find in this urban environment (Stourbridge near Birmingham) and then record with my phone - not very wild granted but this did get me out for the evening.

      Standing Proud - Ribwort Plantain

      Deadly Double

      A splash of red

      The rest can be viewed here -


    1. MrsAngst's Avatar
      MrsAngst -
      I've just seen Georges post on fb and read links....
      Oblivious to the Nature Challenge, the boys and I spent this afternoon in the sun pond-dipping and craft-making dragonflies! So it seems we are off to a good start! :-) Lets see what the rest of the month will bring...
    1. Tony's Avatar
      Tony -
      Cool, spread the word
    1. Joonsy's Avatar
      Joonsy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seoras View Post
      Up in Dudley doing some indoor training and staying in a Premier Inn.
      Quote Originally Posted by Seoras View Post
      my bit of wildness for tonight was to just get out this evening from my rather corporate hotel and see what nature I could find in this urban environment (Stourbridge near Birmingham)
      you could have a walk where The Dudley Bug was found, the most famous trilobite in the world, it was found at the Wrens Nest Nature Reserve in Dudley which is famous the world over for it's fossils.
    1. Tony's Avatar
      Tony -
      we went out for a nice walk earlier today, down by the local river...

      There's a disused rail line (all removed now) running down the right hand side in those trees...

      This is where the old line went through a tunnel that's been blocked up with just a doorway left for walking through...

      This is the other end of the tunnel which is about 150mt long and goes round a slight bend...

      This one is from the doorway looking out...
    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joonsy View Post
      you could have a walk where The Dudley Bug was found, the most famous trilobite in the world, it was found at the Wrens Nest Nature Reserve in Dudley which is famous the world over for it's fossils.
      Thanks for that Joonsy. If I get sent back up I will look to visit the reserve.

      That looks like a great walk Tony especially that you got access into the tunnel.

      I got back home from my trip and explained the challenge to my kids. Their thought was a bit of pond dipping. The water level is a bit low here but we set off to see what we could find and had a great evenings walk.

      We visited two ponds and one stream but the ponds were fairly low and had a lot of pondweed. Once we got under the pondweed we started getting the beasties :-)

      The stream was much clearer but no fish in sight.

      Our haul from the stream - small shrimp, a pond skater and a little worm

      A few more here - 30 Days of Wildness - Day 2 - Pond Dipping


    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      This thirty day challenge is proving a bit of a challenge all right. Not for the activities but for just sorting the pictures. The kids are having a ball though.

      Tonight I needed to finish building a Gibbet crane and I needed a fire to test the crane out. So instead of cracking on with it myself I got the kids involved.

      First up we headed out to the wood pile and got a load of small twigs and small logs. Once collected Finlay and Catherine sorted them into different sizes by the firepit.

      To light the fire we got a couple of firesteels out, had a little practice and then sparked up some char cloth.

      The char cloth was popped into some hay and within a minute they had it well lit.

      I got all my pictures of my crane sorted but the kids wanted the important stuff – marshmallows – could not disagree with them.

      Quite happy to do this one tonight as I needed to light the fire but it was a nice change to get the kids involved in the fire making this time.


    1. Ed the Ted's Avatar
      Ed the Ted -
      Spent today harvesting green windfall for carving - cherry, rowan and alder - picking ground elder, and munching some in the process, digging up dandelion roots to have a go at making dandelion coffee, and carving 3 spoons. And larking about in the garden and forest with a 3 year old. All of this only a few hundred metres from the house, except the windfall which was about a mile away, cycling through native pine forest and birch woods. It's pretty easy to do something wild every day round these parts!
    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      What a cracking day it has been. I had no problem getting out and about for the thirty day challenge as it was such a lovely day.

      We popped out to Clift Meadow here in Bramley for the 'Big Lunch' - my wife Alison had organised an excellent picnic for us. This is a one-day get together for neighbours to meet up and chat over a spot of lunch.

      My son Finlay was off playing with his friends so after our picnic my daughter Catherine and I went off in hunt of some insects. We went to one of our favourite ponds that is full of Yellow Iris and Brooklime - a perfect attraction for insects.

      We were hoping to spot some Mayflies but it was not to be. We did though spot some bees on the flowers on the way and at the pond itself a cricket and a small moth on the Brooklime.

      Later on in the afternoon we jumped on our bikes and headed out to our local woods.

      After hiding the bikes we spotted lots of deer tracks and had some fun on the old bridges.

      The main reason to go to this spot was to look for some of the Common Spotted Orchids I know grow here. After a quick recce we soon found them.

      It was soon time for dinner so we headed back for the bikes. On the way back we spotted a pigeon kill site. I had a look at the quills and none of them had been ripped off so I imagine it was a bird of prey that had its dinner here.

      All in all a great day with the family.


    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      It has been a busy day today with all the chores of most Sundays so the wildest we got today was the back garden to do the 30 day challenge.

      A couple of years ago the kids each helped me build their father and son bows. These quick bows are made from Hazel and shoot just as well as the day they were made.

      We have not had the bows out this year so after going through the basics again we had quite a few rounds shooting down the garden.

      As the kids do not draw them back too far at the moment I was happy to have them shoot in the garden. Once they got their eye in they started to hit the targets.

      Not to be outdone I had a little shoot myself and thoroughly enjoyed spending my evening with the kids.

      I am off to Cardiff tomorrow for a couple of nights so I will have to go out for an evenings bimble to spot a bit of nature.


    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      I was hoping for now a few more posts on what everyone was getting up to this month.

      For myself I found myself in Cardiff today with work. In the evening I took myself off to Cap'n Badgers world of Bute Park and what a place it turned out to be.

      The first thing I found when I entered the park was this lovely carved bench identifying different trees by their leaves - better than any ID book.

      The park is a beautiful place to have a bimble in the evening. Before I knew it carvings (natural and man made) were popping up everywhere with the odd little squirrel staring me out.

      I took all the pictures with my phone camera (Sony Z3) and was quite chuffed to get close enough to the little fella in the bottom left picture to get a decent shot of him.

      The park not only has beautiful sculptures it also has some stunning trees like the Cedar in the bottom picture.

      Eventually I found the River Taff and this mature nettle perfectly silhouetted by the sun's reflection.

      Further along the river bank I came across a downed Willow tree. The tree was over the river so as I scrambled over it I came across this little fella sitting on another tree by the bank. He was so chilled he let me get close enough that I could easily touch him.

      The dominant flower along the length of the River Taff I walked was the beautiful Red Campion.

      It was nice to walk through the park looking at and photographing both the fine detail and some of the bigger scenes.

      The walk finished up at the back of Cardiff Castle.

      I have never been to Bute Park before and I have to say it is probably the best city park I have ever come across.

      I'll be back :-)


    1. Lizz's Avatar
      Lizz -
      George, we have an embarrassment of parks in Cardiff! And the Taff Trail along the river takes you through wonderful parks and riversides. I moved here three years ago and there is nothing bad about Cardiff in terms of the environment and access to beautiful spaces. Well done to the old Marquess of Bute, responsible for the bonkers castle and much of the parkland. If you are back this way again I can point you in direction of other great bits...
    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      Thanks for that Lizz. I come over to Cardiff a few times a year so any pointers would be great.

      I had a lovely evening walking around the Wetlands Nature Reserve in Cardiff Bay last night . Will post some pictures later.


    1. Tony's Avatar
      Tony -
      Well, we've been doing stuff but it's been hard to record it, playing in the stream, walking, painting wild flowers, picking wild flowers, eating wild flowers and chopping some more wood

      One of the things this is doing for me is reinvigorating my appreciation of where we live, it's beautiful, these are all just down the road...

      Woodshed, there's actually a lot more in here than it looks

      Views we see on our walks...

      This is right near our house, a regular play area
    1. Angst's Avatar
      Angst -
      lovely job george, good thread tony....and i see mrs angst has even posted.....oooooh!

      found it alarming that ''only one in ten kids......''. certainly not the case in the angst household....which reminds me, today i've got carrots and chillis that need re-potting...then after olivers back from school we are off out for a picnic and to collect elderflower to make cordial...



      strawbs are looking good...

    1. Seoras's Avatar
      Seoras -
      I carried on with the 30 Day Challenge but could not find time to write it up here every night.

      I have taken one picture from each blog post I did over the month and posted them below (apart from a couple where I have added two).

      Thank you Tony for spotting this challenge, it got me out every day be that on my own, with family or with friends.

      Day 7 - Cardiff Bay

      Day 8 - Bramley Sunsets

      Day 9 - Bushcraft Prep

      Day 10 - Bushcraft Set Up

      Day 11 - Woodland Comfort

      Day 12 - Campfire Cooking

      Day 13 - Postcard Picturesque

      Day 14 - Bramley Bimble

      Day 15 - Duck Hunting

      Day 16 - Hammock Time

      Day 17 - Bird Watching

      Day 18 - Shelter Building

      Day 19 - Family Picnic

      Day 20 - Firelighting with the Beavers

      Day 21 - Finishing the Den

      Day 22 - Finding Poison

      Day 23 - Insect Spotting

      Day 24 - Firespirit making

      Day 25 - Bug Hunting at RAF Benson

      Day 26 (Part 1) - More hammock time

      Day 26 (Part 2) - Journey Sticks

      Day 27 - Atlatls with the Beavers

      Day 28 - Urban Beauty in Bradford

      Day 29 - Travel Home

      Day 30 (Part 1) - Sherfield Stroll

      Day 30 (Part 2) - My family