Coronavirus and lockdown have been with us so long now that it’s starting to just feel ‘normal’. All our normal places to visit have been closed. We’ve made use of our garden and local open spaces in our community, but I was excited when I read that more outdoor areas were opening. The first place we visited was The National Trust.
They had a good system in place. You book online for a particular time slot – this is just to enter. You can stay as long as you want. This way it limited the number of visitors so it didn’t get crowded. It booked up really fast so you may want to look in advance!
The playground, wildlife area and main house/cafes where all closed but all the walking paths, stumpery, woodlands etc were all open. There definitely wasn’t a shortage of places to explore. We took a notepad and pencils and took advantage of this beautiful place for some home learning. J would choose things to draw and then label them.
Suggestions of things to take:
- Magnifying glass
- Bug catcher/pot
- Nature identification books
- Notepad and pen
- ‘Checklist’ (homemade or you can download from Internet eg: Twinkl)
It’s up to each family to maintain the 2m rule. There weren’t markings when you go off for the walk but we stayed in areas where it was easy to spot people coming and find space around each other. We didn’t feel like we had to keep on the move either. Plenty of space to stop for a sit on a log, field for picnic (which we saw a few families doing) and chance to watch the sheep (the sheep do wander so maybe bring bag for shoes for in the car or wipes to clean them as there is a understandably, a fair amount of poop in the fields).
The main toilet block was open (there’s no Changing Places facility just a standard disabled toilet) which had a one way system. Luckily we had all ‘gone’ before leaving the house so we didn’t need to use them but good to know they are there. There was also extra hand washing stations in the car park which was helpful (we bought hand gel with us anyway). I always pack a little back for trips out…just in case!
It was lovely to have a change of scenery. The staff were all happy and friendly which is great since we haven’t seen many fellow humans for a while. It almost made us forget all the virus business and just appreciate the beautiful of the natural world. J (age 5) could run and climb and explore. F (age 1) could experience the sensory side of nature and see more of the natural world than we have in our back garden.
Hopefully over time we can explore more places. For us it’s important that this is done safely. National Trust definitely made us feel secure enough to explore.
Where have you visited? Have you been out further than the your garden? How have you found other places have supported staying safe? Let me know in the comments or come find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.