Posted on Wednesday 21st December
Out with the old and in with the new! Whether you’d like to release your inner adrenaline junkie, or escape the madness of the rat race, The National Forest has a range of different ideas and activities for you to try out and tick off your 2017 bucket list!
Be at one with nature
Give yourself a reason to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and be at one with nature at The National Forest. Take a visit to one of the Forest’s most-artistic projects – The Noon Columns – created by world renowned artist David Nash. Six magnificent sculptures, representing the distinct landscape areas of the 200 square mile National Forest, have been carved from sustainable English Oak.
To see these beautiful works of art in all their glory, head to the columns at true noon, when the sun will shine through the slots carved in the wood, to create a light within the shadow cast by the column itself.
Discover the hidden gems of the forest
Dive a little deeper and discover what more The National Forest has to offer you and your family. If you’re yet to seek out the magical snowdrops at the Dimminsdale Nature Reserve, then make 2017 your year to do so. Pay a visit to Swithland Wood during the spring, where a stunning carpet of bluebells will be rolled out, covering the floor of the old, natural woodlands. Search for Kingfishers at the National Memorial Arboretum, Sence Valley Forest Park and even find them playing at the edges of the Forest’s reservoirs.
Or why not explore the rich heritage that the Forest has to offer. You’ll find an abundance of historical gems throughout The National Forest, and one of these is the beautifully well-kept Moira Furnace. Come and find out more about the long and varied history of the iron making furnace.
As you set off on your adventure, we’ll sure you’ll make more discoveries along the way!
A family excuse to get your hands dirty
Introduce your family to endless adventures. Appreciate all that wildlife has to offer by taking the kids pond dipping or even mini beast hunting! There truly is no better excuse to part ways with your screens, than to head out and get muddy!
Outdoor activity drop in sessions are available at Rosliston Forestry Centre, along with Wildlife Wednesdays at the National Memorial Arboretum and Conkers mud walks – so why not turn this into a regular weekly family experience!
Here at The National Forest we want to provide you with the opportunity to try your hand at a range of new skills, so you can create a treat, for you…or someone else!
Have a go at Windsor Chair making, contemporary willow sculpting, longbow making and spoon carving at Greenwood Days. Set in beautiful 90 acre woodland on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border, not only is it rewarding, but the course is also very relaxing!
What’s more, you can come along and visit Woodland Survival Crafts, who offer a range of courses designed to educate, challenge and inspire both young and old. From foraging in the Forest to outdoor cooking and shelter building – you’ll gain a brand new set of skills in 2017!
Join the creation of The National Forest by volunteering
For 2017, set yourself a challenge of getting involved in the creation of The National Forest. Free up some time out of your busy schedule this year and volunteer to take care of your local woodland, get involved in community projects or become a conservation volunteer. There are many options available to those that choose to get involved, and new members are always welcome. It’s the most wonderful way to clear your mind!
Book a secret hideaway with your loved ones
Spend quality time with the family this year, by taking mini breaks within The National Forest to clear your mind. We have a range of different breaks available to suit you and your family.
Escape the rest of the world and relax in The Dandelion Hideaway, nostalgic canvas cottages set within the beautiful Leicestershire countryside, it’s the perfect way to try out ‘glamping’ as a family holiday or romantic getaway.
If you’re a traditional camping type, then set yourselves up at Ingles Hill Farm Caravan site, the idyllic spot for exploring what the Forest has to offer and just a short walk from the market town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Spend the weekends with your family building dens and geocaching. Is there a better way of enjoying the great outdoors?
Walk with nature
If you’ve never seen yourself as a long distance walker, then we’re sure The National Forest Way will change your mind! Stretch your legs, and stretch your mind by taking in the breathtakingly picturesque views of The National Forest, extending over 75 miles from Staffordshire to Leicestershire. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the forest, The Silver Circuit route has been created, revealing a glimpse of spectacular views over parkland and wood pasture. The 8-mile circular route, passes through Needwood Forest, down into Trent Valley, starting and ending at Barton Marina.
But don’t let the words ‘8 mile’ panic you; there are plenty of places for you to stop of for refreshments along the way!
What’s more, why not challenge yourself in 2017, to walk to the moon 21 times! Make an enormous difference to your health and happiness by signing up to the 1000 miles’ Country Walking challenge. The challenge, which kicks off from 1st January is hoping to gain even more participants than the 4000 who took part in 2016!
Test your endurance
If you see walking as ‘taking it easy’, why not test your limits with one of our endurance challenges. Go solo, in pairs, or in a team and see how far you can go. Sign up for ‘Insomnia 24’ and put yourself through the paces!
If running doesn’t sound like an activity for 2017 why not try out a nine mile, safe off road cycling experience at Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre. The perfect excuse to get the family together in the New Year!
For the creatives, make 2017 your year of appreciating the beauty nature has to offer. Why not clear your mind with a nature journal; sketch some of the natural features of The National Forest. Use the The National Forest’s ‘where to see wildlife’ guide so you know where to hunt for the Forest’s most treasured jewels.
Help sustain the beauty of your local woodland
Every year, the team at The National Forest invites hundreds of people from all over the country to plant trees through our ‘Plant a Tree’ scheme. Some choose to buy a tree as a gift, whilst others purchase the tree for themselves – the support and regular contributions are what help us to maintain our beautiful Forest!
Grow your own oak tree for The National Forest, it’s really easy! Collect a few acorns during the autumn, plant them, and watch them grow. Once the trees are old enough to survive in the wild, The National Forest will invite you and your family back to plant the tree in its own patch.
Get fit, for free!
Here at The National Forest, we understand that gym memberships can be expensive, but what if we told you, you could work out somewhere for free!
Use the refreshing woodlands of The National Forest as your free local gym. Make 2017 your year to get fit and take on a new adventure in the outdoors surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Forest! With hundreds of woodlands waiting for you to explore, just pick an area close to you and time yourself walking, then each week try and complete your walk a little faster. You’ll have burned off that Christmas dinner before you know it!
Watch a sunrise
Make 2017 the year for you. While it can be hard to get up and out of bed on dark mornings, there truly is nothing better for your peace of mind than sitting upon a hill top and watching the sunrise. Take in the wonderful scenery around you, before getting ready for the busy day ahead.
How many of The National Forest resolutions will you complete? Let us know by tagging us in with #forestlife @NatForestCo