I have always been a huge advocate of exploring nature’s spaces close to where I live. While I do enjoy travelling far and wide to enjoy the great outdoors at the top of mountains or on multi-day adventures, I still consider myself an “at home outdoors lover”, someone who absolutely sees the benefit of getting outside and enjoying the countryside and fresh air from my own front door. At home adventure is hugely important to me, it’s the thing that keeps me sane and happy.
Whisby Nature Park, Lincoln.
It’s something I’ve spoken about a great deal. I know that big adventures make much better fodder for blog posts and books and talks, but one day or even half-day outings can provide an equally great sense of freedom, enjoyment, and even accomplishment. And they are a whole lot more accessible to the many – a day hike on a hill you can see from your house is much easier (and cheaper!) to organise than climbing Everest. This is of course not to say that those big adventures are no good, they’re brilliant and incredibly inspiring; what I mean is that you don’t *have* to go very far to have an adventure or make the most of the great outdoors. The UK is a pretty special place, with amazing countryside and vistas to explore. And I guarantee that there are some fantastic outside spaces really close to wherever you are right now just crying out for a spot of outdoors time.
Whisby Nature Park, Lincoln.
Take Lincoln, for example. Lincolnshire is one of the largest counties in the UK and it’s pretty rural in its nature – farmland as far as the eye can see. But go into Lincoln or Grimsby or Boston or anywhere else and they are as grey and grimy as any other urban area in the UK. Thankfully, like the rest of the UK, we are blessed with a number of nature reserves and some open parkland to enjoy – a spot of green in amongst the concrete. Your local nature reserve is definitely the best place to start if you are looking for a pretty outside space to have an at home adventure.
Waterproof, comfy shoes, and really massive stick. Sorted.
Lace Up Your Shoes and Go
You don’t need any special equipment for an at home adventure – a pair of shoes and a waterproof jacket will suffice, with the addition of a great big stick if you can find the perfect one (every adventurer needs a big stick). Just work out how to get there and get on with it. You don’t even need proper walking shoes; although the ones I have on here are pretty decent. They are my LOWA San Francisco shoes*; skate shoe style sneakers from the well-known outdoor footwear experts. I mentioned them in my Currently Loving list back in April and while they are looking more worn these days they have become a firm favourite for my everyday One Hour Outside adventures. More casual than traditional walking shoes but with some great technology to keep my feet happy on a wander (they’re even Gore-tex) – and they look great with jeans or whatever else I choose to wear.
LOWA San Francisco shoes. And I didn’t get them just because I love the city!
Whisby Nature Park
I think my favourite local nature reserve is Whisby Nature Park, run by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. It’s my go-to place if I want to spend some time outdoors with family and friends. And is the perfect location for an impromptu bear hunt or (usually more successful) swan or Canada goose hunting expedition. It’s very popular, but that’s okay – other people are allowed to have their own at home adventure too.
Once a rather barren area, Whisby Nature Park is now full of wildlife, and has the trails you need to help you see it all. Created by quarrying for sand and gravel, the landscape has been reclaimed by nature, creating habitats for many species. There are lakes surrounded by grassland, marsh, scrub and willow carr, and fragments of the original pre-quarry landscape can be seen in the heathland, hedgerows and a small oak woodland.
One of the lakes at Whisby Nature Park.
Alongside the very cool kid’s play area (an at home adventure in itself for your youngers), and café (yummy Lincolnshire food and drink), there are several waymarked trails that take you to the most interesting and attractive places within the nature reserve. With paths that are primarily level and have a hard surface (compacted limestone of course), and a new bridge over the railway, most of the park is accessible for all. You could walk for miles here if you did all six official trails, find your own path through the woodland, sit in one of the hides watching the (sometimes very noisy) birds all morning, or pick one of the smaller trails to wander for an hour before heading to the balcony to sit and watch the lake.
Heading off into the woodland on an at home adventure.
This IS Adventure
It might not sound much like an adventure, but I would argue that making an effort to spend time outdoors – whether you’re doing that alone or with your family and friends – is hugely important and you should be making an effort to get out and about whenever you can. Adventure itself is a state of mind after all, and a local nature reserve is the perfect place for a quick fix. Walk, explore, learn something about the trees and wildlife you are seeing, speak to strangers (yes, go on), breathe deeply, think, and imagine. At home adventure can be equally as fulfilling as a massive road trip, you just have to take the right attitude with you.
Who lives in a house like this?!
I’d really love to hear about your own at home adventure stories. Tell me how you like to bring adventure into your life on a Sunday afternoon, the games you like to play, the places you like to visit. While you’re here, tell me where your favourite local nature reserve for a spot of outside time is – I’ll try and visit when I’m next in the area.
And don’t forget my One Hour Outside campaign is designed to encourage you into the fresh air for at least one hour every day throughout June (and for the rest of your life!). It sounds easy, I suspect it might not be. Choose to make your one hour outside time an at home adventure.
At home adventure at Whisby Nature Park, Lincoln.
Whisby Nature Park > http://www.lincstrust.org.uk/whisby-nature-park
Those LOWA San Francisco shoes > http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/lowa-womens-san-francisco-gtx-shoe-b2232270 / http://www.lowa.co.uk/shop/product-101-san-francisco-gtx-lo
*I received the LOWA shoes for free but only ever promote things on my blog that I think are great. I used them in this post as an example that you don’t need a whole load of technical equipment to go on an at home adventure. Lace up whatever shoes you do have and go to your local nature reserve this weekend.