The National Trust | Nature misses you

August 27, 2014

There’s something magical about being outdoors. The sense of escapism it brings and seeing a world of discovery through a child’s eyes. As a family of three we love to spend our spare time blowing away those cobwebs.

Over these past months we’ve visited (and re-visited!) Hatchlands Park, Polesden Lacey, Clandon Park, Frensham Little Pond, Claremont Landscape Garden, Headley Heath, Bookham Common, the Devil’s Punch Bowl, Hinton Ampner, Witley and Milford Commons, Box Hill, Winkworth Arboretum and Abinger Roughs.

We still have lots more exploring to do too, not just in the vicinity of the Surrey Hills but across nearby counties.

Nature misses you sign - Wasdale

The National Trust’s 50 Things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4 is a great way to make the most of your time outside. Now POD has reached three and a half, we’re cracking through this list and having lots of fun doing it. If you’re looking for a inspiration, here’s a round-up of POD’s first challenges.

1. Climb a tree

POD has climbed ever since she could walk. Adopting a no fear attitude, she’s become an expert at climbing trees – the higher the better!

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She’s not so keen on coming down. Daddy ended up climbing trees himself on a recent visit to Headley Heath!

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2. Roll down a really big hill

This was POD’s first attempt at rolling down a really big hill – picking the grass amphitheatre at Claremont Landscape Garden. It was memorable for that and the goose poo she collected in her hair on the way down!

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There’s still a bit of a sideways shuffle initially but she’s getting the hang of it now. Finishing at the bottom as you’d expect – in a fit of the giggles.

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5. Skim a stone

We’ve not spent much time at the beach yet although the Hampshire coast is there for the taking. Grandad lives in Devon which is the perfect place to watch Daddy skim stones. He’s always been rather good at it.

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However POD is an independent three and a half year old who likes to do things her way. You might be able to tell by the interesting outfit she chose. Gone are the perfect stones for skimming, replaced with boulders which are apparently better. She has a great bowling career ahead of her.

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6. Run round in the rain

There’s been a fair amount of running round in the rain recently. This photograph was taken just after POD had been running in what can only be described as monsoon like conditions! The brolly provided a reprieve before she continued in her quest.

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13. Make a mud pie

This is POD’s first mud pie which was carefully made with mud and water. A little too much water as it happens.

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Having slopped half of it across the grass (and herself), POD was busy creating mud pie number two. This is her concentration face.

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18. Create some wild art

POD loves to get creative outdoors – it usually means she’ll end up with green legs. Here she is with a clover she painted blue – other flowers and plants got the same treatment. Some while still attached to bushes.

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Her wild art sheet featured a sunny scene with animals and a selection of patterns crafted by painting leaves.

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19. Play Pooh Sticks

We like to play Pooh Sticks whenever we see a bridge with a free flowing stream or river. She loved this one at Bookhams Common as she was able to get so close to it. A little too close at times!

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21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild

We’re lucky we have a huge blackberry bush growing in the garden. POD loves that we can pick blackberries which she can have with yoghurt once they’ve been washed.

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This is POD being especially helpful while Mummy reached for the higher blackberries. We ended up collecting enough blackberries to make a delicious blackberry, apple and raspberry crumble. POD also collected a few dandelions (we abandoned outside) and a bowl of rather tart damsons.

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22. Explore inside a tree

We’ve come across many ancient trees while exploring woodland managed by The National Trust. Although we found what looked like a rabbit in a tree at the Devil’s Punch Bowl (it wasn’t), the knobby trees at Claremont are perfect for nosing in.

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23. Visit a farm

Bocketts Farm Park is nearest to us and we love visiting as it’s one of the few working farms. When we were last there POD fed the animals for the first time. We knew once she tried there would be no stopping her and we were right. Just look at that face, she looks as happy as she did when she visited Peppa Pig World.

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24. Go on a walk barefoot

There is nothing better than feeling the sand in-between your toes, it makes me smile even to this day. POD experienced it for the first time at Frensham Little Pond in Surrey. This month she was able to walk barefoot on a Suffolk beach and venture into the sea for the very first time.

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28. Climb a huge hill

There are many hills in Surrey, some of which feel huge to POD’s little legs. She’s looking quite weary in this photograph at Headley Heath. She had already run down the hill and walked back up it twice though.

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Perhaps that’s why she wanted to sit down. After a short break, she was off again climbing trees and stirring puddles with sticks.
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30. Hold a scary beast

POD was so nervous about holding this newborn lamb, she’d only held a chick up to this point. She was so worried about dropping him but she did brilliantly. POD loves stroking animals with a rabbit, a chicken and a goat among the favoured recently. The same can’t be said for the mouse one of the handlers put in her hand…now that was a scary beast! Thankfully it survived being launched into the air.

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31. Hunt for bugs

We have a great garden for bug hunting and we’re often looking for bees

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or ladybirds. We also love counting the pretty humbug like snails that grace our red hot poker stems after the rain.

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33. Catch a falling leaf

POD was just the right age to experience the wonder of Autumn last year. We had the best time throwing and catching leaves in the Ha-Ha at Claremont while admiring the daffodils. POD grabbed many a falling leaf but she’s yet to catch one directly from a tree – we have high hopes for this year!


35. Discover what’s in a pond

We visited the fabulous Frensham Little Pond recently and immediately fell in love with it. We’d not been before and it was the perfect place to explore after a particularly busy week. POD and Daddy went in the Little Pond together to look for fish. They even ventured in for a swim.

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We also saw this little fella swim past while we were having a sandwich. Not something you see every day in Surrey, amazing!

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42. Go swimming in the sea

Finally, POD got the opportunity to swim in the sea for the first time this month. We spent a few days in Suffolk and headed over to Felixstowe beach where she went in right up to her chest. She can’t swim by herself yet but it was a great start especially as it was cold!

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It was the first time (that she’ll remember) being by the sea and she loved it. She was mesmerised by those waves.

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We love 50 Things from the National Trust. Not only have they been really cool and great fun, they’ve resulted in great memories and some firsts too. The free app is perfect for keeping a record of all the wonderful things we’ve done outdoors.

Linking up with #whatsthestory here on PODcast and #CountryKids at Coombe Mill.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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  • August 27, 2014 at 7:44 am

    We picked up one of these booklets last summer – I think then it was things to do before you’re 10 and 3/4, though! We still have them – must dig them out. Looks as though POD has been a very intrepid little girl this Summer!

  • Mummy of Two August 27, 2014 at 9:09 am

    It sounds like you have been having great fun exploring nature. We haven’t been out and about much the past month as we have been so busy. My son is definitely an inside child which I would really like to change – plenty of trips to the beach are needed I think!

  • you baby me mummy August 27, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Fabulous pictures. I think we might start this as we have done some already x

  • Keri-Anne August 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    What a little adventure girl! And i love that that tree in the first picture looks like it has eyes 🙂

  • Ness (@jibberjabberuk) August 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    We’re National Trust members and we spend a lot of time at their sites. There has been a great trail at Calke Abbey this year. I know many of the places you have been to as my parents live on the Surrey borders.

  • Kate Thompson August 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I grew up “outside”, always playing out, building dens and getting close to Nature. I think it’s such a shame our children rarely enjoy the big outside so frequently. I used to tell my Mum that I wouldn’t wear any clothes I was not allowed to climb trees in!!

  • Sarah Ebner August 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    What a brilliant post – the pictures are wonderful (especially the mud pie!). Our kids love it when we’re outside. We’ve just come back from a bicycling holiday and it was such fun.

  • Astrid August 27, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    OH now I want to bgo outside and roll of a really big hill. That’s my favorite of your ideas.

  • Rachel August 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I love stone skimming, even now in my 30’s, it is such a satisfying feeling when you manage it x

  • Kriss MacDonald August 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Beautiful photos of perfect things to do outdoors with kids. I love how the National Trust has inspired so many families to explore nature and enjoy a childhood outdoors.

  • Model Mummy August 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    It has been a while since i stopped by. Really enjoyed this post – all the best things in life are free. We play poo sticks alot xx

  • Jo @ 3 Kids and a Gluestick August 27, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    POD has made a great start on the 50 things challenge hasn’t she! I know I’ve said it before but we are very lucky to live so close to so many beautiful places to explore. I have failed to get to Frensham Ponds again so far this summer but hopefully we’ll make it before the Autumn turns too cold. I’d be over the moon if I saw a grass snake there! And you are so good washing the blackberries before POD eats them.. my three are too quick to eat them and there have been occasions recently where spiders or other insects have almost been eaten too!

  • Becky Cowley August 28, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Brilliant! I want to go through the national trust list, I think we may have already ticked some off! As always wonderful POD pictures xx

  • Aly August 30, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Lots of fun memories for POD to look back on.The grass snake photo is beautifully captured.It looks like you won’t have any trouble doing the next 8.

  • The Good Stuff August 30, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    We too are loving the 50 Things challenge… picked up our free cress seeds today at Tyntesfield for “eat something you have grown”.

  • julie August 31, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Beautiful photos of clearly an amazing trip! So much to do there too x

  • Sara (@mumturnedmom) September 1, 2014 at 4:25 am

    She’s doing brilliantly, love the little stories to go with each one 🙂 We must do this with our lot actually, I suspect we’ve already ticked off quite a few!

  • Sarah MumofThree World September 1, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Wow, POD has done so many of them already! Such lovely photos as ever.
    It’s been a while since I checked the list – last time I did, my eldest (now 13) was coming up for 11 3/4 and he’d done a fair few, but there were plenty he hadn’t done too. My younger too would never hold an animal – they’re terrified, but all of my kids have climbed some big hill (and a mountain more than once) this year and they all love climbing trees.

  • Karen Bell September 1, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Wow, it looks like you’ve had so much fantastic basic natural fun and she looks so happy, especially up that tree. You’ve ticked off so many of your 50 things already! 🙂

  • The National Trust | Nature misses you September 1, 2014 at 8:15 am

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  • LauraCYMFT September 1, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Such gorgeous photos. I did laugh at the “hold a scary beast” one. I was expecting a spider or something gross, not a cute little lamb. Bless POD.

  • Laura Evelyn Bee September 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    What a fantastic idea! And such beautiful photographs x

  • Iona@redpeffer September 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Some beautiful pictures of you all enjoying the outdoors. I love the National Trust-so much to offer.

  • Funky Wellies September 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    What fantastic memories you are making! And mud pies are the best… 😉 xx

  • Louisa September 1, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    What an amazing post and an amazing list of achievements. The outdoors lifestyle is what we want for our children too.

  • Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) September 2, 2014 at 10:51 am

    My dream to have a membership there to experience this kid of fun but its just to pricey for us at the moment. #whatsthestory

  • Helen C September 2, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I love this post – gorgeous photos! We’re trying to work our way through the 50 Things too!

  • Kate Davis September 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I haven’t been to Brocketts farm but my mother in law took the kids when they were staying with her over the holidays. They had a great time, but haven’t told me a lot about it.

  • Clairejustine oxox September 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Great post and such beautiful pictures, we need to do more on the list 🙂

  • Kim Carberry September 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Oh wow! POD has done so many wonderful things…..Gorgeous photos x

  • Coombemill September 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    POD is a proper Country Kid and a credit to the 50 things list! She has grown up enjoying nature and I hope this continues for you all. Thank you for sharing her experiences on Country Kids.

  • Californian Mum in London September 6, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Gorgeous photos. And well done on completing so many!! I don’t think we’ve done as many as 10. Better follow your example! 🙂 #countrykids

  • Heledd September 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Waw, what a great post!! We live in Surrey too but have not discovered half those places, so have jotted them down for future sunny Sundays. Love your pictures and activities, our favourites have to climbing trees and poo sticks.

    Well done on this post, really enjoyed it.



  • Honest Mum September 6, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Utterly stunning pictures, wow lady you are amazingly talented! Love the slider too and the whole blog look, so slick and gorgeous!

  • Kate @ Family Fever September 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    What stunning photos. Climbing a big hill, and then rolling down it, is the best fun. We live right on the Devon coast so beaches, stone skimming and barefoot sand walking are all common here! #CountryKids

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    Love love love! Not just your photography (obviously) but also the sheer abandonment completely encompassing the ethos of the 50 Things campaign.

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