Next weekend is fast approaching and all you can see on the news are shocking figures telling you how much more scared you should be about Covid than yesterday. What do you do? Continue building up your Brexit / Covid “just in case” stash under the stairs? Just accept the inevitable and book yourself in for a box set Saturday? Or maybe, look to the outdoors as a way of giving yourself time to take stock and appreciate that you can still do something outside, just even more safely than normal. According to Mind, the UK mental health charity, there are many studies which have shown that doing physical activity can improve mental health. Even better, being one with nature helps us to live in the now and lifts our spirits. This is something which can improve our outlook on the world and ability to cope better. Here are 3 top ways you can enjoy the great outdoors safely this weekend…
Go walking in the woods.
- It’s that time of year when Autumn leaves begin to turn, showing their glory. UK woodlands are home to many different wildlife species and many of them offer a choice of clearly marked paths which cater for different abilities. There’s nothing quite like the scrunch of leaves under your wellies and then, enjoying a post walk hot chocolate. Even better, take a hot flask and enjoy your hot drink al fresco! The Woodland Trust has plenty of foraging tips this season, as well as a “Woodland Finder” section if you’re not sure where your nearest woodland is.
- Picnics are not just for summer days. It may be true that less people are seen having a picnic in the colder months but September temperatures aren’t too extreme. If you pack a few items which will keep you snug, you might even enjoy picnicking outdoors in cooler weather. Considering that fair weather tourists tend to stay in when the weather gets colder, it can be easier to socially distance too. Think hot drinks and soups in a flask, burritos wrapped well in foil and finger foods which are quick to prepare and easy to eat. You might want to pack some tissues too, for runny noses when the weather gets chillier. Of course, it would be a good idea to include plenty of extra layers such as scarves, gloves, hats and a cosy winter picnic blanket if you’re the type of person to feel the cold easily. Don’t forget that rubbish bag though, to take home!
On your doorstep
- Some of the nicest walks we’ve been on have been on our own doorstep. These are places we might have either stumbled across or found by exploring our local area a little. The best thing about these types of walks are that they are quick to get to and can be less popular than other tourist destinations, (unless you live in a National Park or city that is). This makes it easier to socially distance as you are less likely to be joining throngs of day trippers heading for well-known beauty spots. In fact, you are more likely to find your own beauty spot, personal to you. Local walks can give you a greater link to your local community and you may find something nearby which you hadn’t even realised existed. This could be a beautiful church, park, or lake. Try looking for local public footpath signs on your route home to get you started. Alternatively, look at online map applications to give you an idea of places which are more likely to have quieter country lanes or footpaths to give you a starting point. You can even ask your friends, particularly if they are dog walkers, as they will no doubt have plenty of local circuits in mind. The Walking Britain website can also get you started with a free local walk finder tool. If you need more inspiration or confidence, try something like ViewRanger, where you can download Ordnance Survey maps to your phone and try out your local area without getting lost. Just remember to stay safe and keep an eye on the daylight. Now the Autumnal Equinox has passed, daylight hours will get shorter.
What tips do you have for staying safe whilst enjoying the great outdoors?