It’s been a difficult week for people in the UK as well as further afield. We ventured out to Southport beach this weekend, only to find out on Monday that like many areas around Liverpool, it has been placed into the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions. Sadly, this means that we won’t be able to visit for a while. As Covid-19 cases rise by the day and some areas face more restrictions than others, it may feel that staying closer to home is our safest bet. Of course, this is understandable. Everyone is in a different position and some people are more vulnerable than others.
So, can we still enjoy the great outdoors despite these restrictions? Not only is it possible, but it’s great for physical and mental health. According to the NHS, being physically active can reduce blood pressure, improve your mood, reduce your stress levels, and help you to get some serious shut eye. By taking time out to relax and enjoy your natural surroundings you can feel good and stay healthy during these difficult times.
Here are 6 ways you might be able to do just that….
1. Find a parkland paradise at the National Trust
There are miles of safe and accessible off-road paths at Blickling Estate in Norfolk offering a wealth of activities from fishing, cycling, running, or just wandering around the 4600 acres of historic parkland. A number of mobility scooters and wheelchairs can be hired out. It’s pawfectly dog friendly and even offers canine treats at the outside café! Don’t forget to book your entry tickets in advance at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate/whats-on. There are plenty of other National Trust properties across the country to visit, subject to Covid-19 restrictions. Details of these can be found in the resources section of the website.
2. Pop up to Bleinheim for a stopover
The Caravan and Motorhome Club have created a pop-up campsite for its members in the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace this October. You’ll be able to see the majestic Blenheim Palace and enjoy its beautiful surrounding grounds which are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Staying at the Blenheim Palace pop-up campsite until the 1st November will also provide you with easy access to the many other delights that Oxfordshire offers. For more details visit the pop-up campsite website here.
If Blenheim palace is a little too far, have a look at last minute availability in October for Caravan and Motorhome sites across the UK available at https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/uk-holidays/uk-search-and-book/late-availability/. Be aware of local restrictions currently in the Liverpool City Region. For up to date guidance visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
3. Teed off with Covid? Try Footgolf
Join the latest craze of Footgolf fans and find a site near you for a round of this new sports craze. Combining the skills of football and golf and played on a golf course, you aim the ball into the hole using only your feet with the fewest number of shots possible. For your nearest Footgolf course try using the site search facility at https://ukfootgolf.com/ or try one of these sites in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.
4. Get wet and wild in the water
Go kayaking, canoeing or stand up paddle boarding and view the river landscape from a different perspective. On the water it’s often easier to get closer to animals before they notice. Rivers, streams and canals can be some of the best places to see British wildlife, normally hidden behind trees or thickly packed reeds along our waterways. For more information on where to start, water sports safety, accessible paddling and kayak tours, visit https://gopaddling.info/ for inspiration.
5. Get in that garden!
Days may be drawing in, but this is a wonderful time to look ahead to the promise of a new spring next year. Bulb planting is easy to do and reaps real rewards in a matter of months. Tulips can be planted in a few weeks whilst hardy summer-flowering bulbs like lilies, alliums and crocosmia, can be planted out in pots now.
You might also spot new wildlife in your garden or neighbourhood. Acorns dropping from the trees are one of the signs of squirrel season and you might also spot a jay scouting around for somewhere to bury fallen acorns and hazelnuts at this time of year. If you let seed heads form on flowers and allow weeds such as teasels and thistles to grow in your garden, you may even attract other wild birds.
For other garden ideas, have a look at the Wildlife Trust page to help to encourage more wildlife into your garden at this time of year. There are plenty of downloadable resources and ideas for all the family ranging from making a hedgehog house and decorating trees in your back garden, to spotting wildlife and different types of fungi! For more information visit https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/seasonal-wildlife/autumn
6. Plan next year’s adventures now
Perhaps it’s just too hard to get out at the moment. Instead, why not plan for better days beyond these troublesome times and look towards next year’s adventures instead? What’s more, by planning a new adventure you may also be doing yourself a bit of good in terms of mental health. Research suggests that planning a holiday or new adventure can make you feel better. In fact, people experience a significant boost in happiness during the planning stages of their holidays. Try websites like Roadtrippers, apps like Google Maps or just buy yourself a few paper maps and get planning that road trip of a lifetime.
I’ve got an eight week long European caravanning adventure planned and ready to go from our March lockdown, complete with budgeting, information on possible campsites and places to visit. Now, I’ve just got to find a very understanding employer, who’ll let me leave the country for an extended amount of time. Or maybe, (and probably more likely), we could do it in bitesize holiday chunks instead . A girl can dream, can’t she?……..
For more help planning your next outside adventure, click on my blog links or go to the resources section of my website.
A last “hurrah” to Southport for a while…