21st October 2021
Enjoying the outdoors
By Helen Willmott, Programme Director at Made With Many.
Recently, I visited Irchester Country Park where a group of under 4’s (and their grown-ups) had gathered for a party. Part of the Wild Winter Challenge, a creative project delivered by Wild Tribe last winter, it had been delayed since spring so there was a real sense of excitement amongst the team. There was craft activities, singing, and a picnic – although it was a little chilly, the rain held off until the party finished. Smiling faces, tired children and party backs all went home at the end.
It made me think about how my relationship with the outdoors and nature has changed over the last few years. Going for long walks, eating dinner outside in December and socially distancing around a bonfire all became the only ways to meet with friends and family during the lockdowns of the last 18 months. And for many of the children at last week’s party, that’s all they have ever known.
Like many others, I’m more willing to be outside in the cold than I used to be, and doing so has meant that I’ve discovered so much more about the local landscape, nature and wildlife. I’ve noticed the few winter-flowering flowers in my small garden that I never really paid attention to before, seen beautiful sunsets over local lakes and watched birds in the park. And it’s made me smile, reflect and feel calmer.
Here in Northamptonshire, we’re really lucky to have amazing countryside on our doorsteps, even towns such as Corby and Wellingborough have stunning town centre parks and woodlands that are easy to reach and enjoy. So as the seasons change again, and the winter coats come back out of our cupboards, I’m going to try to be outside even more.