It's that time of year - making new year resolutions. I love the great outdoors, gardening and walking so wanted to share these fab natural new year resolution ideas from the lovely people at the National Forest - hope you enjoy!
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
TO HELP YOU HAVE YOUR BEST YEAR EVER IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Forget those negative New Year’s Resolutions: “I will not do this” and “No more that”! For 2014, try these positive resolutions to explore and enjoy The National Forest – and get fitter, more creative, more relaxed and happy with the world!
Focus on the detail – walk a daily route and notice the tiny differences which mark the changing seasons. The buds are already on the trees, watch them swell and break open, observe the leaves and flowers unfurling. Snowy day? Look for animal tracks and discover what’s been out and about before you were even out of bed.
Take a longer view - chose a route through the Forest and walk it each month. Notice the changes in the air, the light, the view, the undergrowth at the woodland edge; what you can hear or see, what you can smell or touch. www.visitnationalforest.co.uk/walks
Capture the difference – choose your favourite tree or view and take a picture of it each month.
Hug a tree-trunk – seek out one of the iconic National Forest Noon Columns. International artist David Nash created six marvellous sculptures, each one made from a single massive trunk of oak, all distributed throughout the Forest and reflecting the characteristics of the landscape in which they stand. At True Noon each day, sunlight moves through a slot carved into the Column and shines a beam of light on the shadow cast by the Column itself. http://nationalforest.org/document/fscene/nfcw2006.pdf
Start a nature journal - write down what you see. Sketch some of the natural features of the great outdoors. Write down what you hear: try recording birdsong in words or rhythm on the page, so that you can learn it and recognise it again.
Collect ‘jewels’- seek out the snowdrops at Dimminsdale Nature Reserve; see carpets of bluebells at Yoxall Lodge; marvel at the veteran oaks at Calke Park, their tiny buds brown as a hare; enjoy the bright spring green of unfurling leaves, the dusty yellow hazel catkins, or tiny ruby flowers of the alder. Look for kingfishers at the National Memorial Arboretum, Sence Valley Forest Park or skimming at the edges of the reservoirs in the Forest.
Get your hands muddy – take the kids pond dipping or mini beast hunting. Mini beasts live in undisturbed corners of woodlands (and gardens). Remember to always replace dead wood or stones where you find them – they are probably someone’s home.
Make something - treat yourself, or someone else, to a short course to learn to whittle, or make a child’s stool, or forage in the Forest and cook up what you find. www.greenwood-days.co.uk ; www.woodlandsurvivalcrafts.com ; www.woodland-ways.co.uk
Plant a Tree, of course! www.nationalforest.org/sponsor/plantatree/
Join a volunteer group and help look after a local woodland www.nationalforest.org/involved/volunteering/
Free gym – The National Forest has hundreds of woodlands waiting for you to explore. Pick a woodland close to you, time yourself walking around it, and each week try and complete your walk a little faster. www.visitnationalforest.co.uk/woods
Take a Mystery Tour - find a map of The National Forest, shut your eyes, randomly pick a spot – go explore!
Eat local – eat locally produced food in season for a month. Check out the National Forest Food Guide Food Guide, farm shops, Farmers’ Markets.
Join a local running club – they’ll introduce you to places in the Forest you never knew existed!
Challenge yourself – set your sights on the National Forest 10K or one of the cycling sportives that run through the Forest.
Walk the National Forest Way – this new 75-mile long distance trail will be launched in May as part of the National Forest Walking Festival. Suitable for experienced and beginner walkers alike, it can be walked in separate stages. Find out more at www.nationalforestway.co.uk
Find out more about The National Forest at www.nationalforest.org