01 Mar 4 new ways to enjoy the great outdoors
As the saying goes, ‘variety is the spice of life’! And as we wave goodbye to the colder, darker, winter months it’s a great time to think of new ways to put a spring in your step.
There are all sorts of experiences on offer nowadays that bring us closer to nature and you can find many of them right on our doorstep, here in Hampshire. Below are a few suggestions for alternative countryside activities.
Elderflowers, blackberries and wild garlic are just some of the tasty ingredients growing in our fields and hedgerows. Different locations and changing seasons offer a feast for the table all year round.
Wild foraging often takes the form of a long walk with an expert, who will help you identify the varieties of edible plants, flowers, fruits and mushrooms. Sometimes you get to cook your bounty into a delicious treat too. Both experienced foragers and newcomers can hone their skills during these outdoor classes.
It’s recommended that you take part in a guided activity rather than heading off and trying this by yourself. Some flora and fauna are poisonous and even seasoned foragers must take care. It’s also important to understand the Countryside Act and any laws about accessing land.
Yoga is as much about connecting with the environment as it is about connecting with what’s inside. And what better way to be at one with Mother Nature than by doing your yoga practice outside – weather permitting, of course.
A gentle yoga class set in the beautiful outdoors, using the natural environment to bring you into the present moment, promises many health and wellbeing benefits.
Your own mat is useful and so is flexible footwear, or you can choose to go barefoot. You will need to wear clothing suitable for the weather that’s easy to move in, like leggings and a sweatshirt.
Take a stroll in the woodland while a hawk follows you amid the trees and returns to your gloved fist on command. This exhilarating activity is fast becoming a popular trend. By combining a vigorous walk with falconry, you’re getting healthy exercise out in the fresh air and the chance to interact with a stunning bird of prey.
Falconry experts will give you all the equipment and advice needed and will take part in the walk, so you can be confident calling the bird.
This is also an opportunity to learn all about these wonderful animals, their habitats and behaviors. There is usually a chance to take photographs, so you can capture the memory of this unique experience.
Learn to see the countryside with fresh eyes by taking part in a mindful photography class.
Most of us have a camera now and taking pictures is second nature. But learning the technical and creative skills of photography within an inspiring setting is a completely unique experience.
These sessions encourage you to slow down and appreciate the world around you. There’s a focus on mindfulness techniques as well as photography, which draw you into the present moment and boosts mental wellbeing.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
All these activities are among the outdoor experiences currently on offer at Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield. With the A272 to the North and the A27 to the South, it’s in easy reach of Portsmouth, Winchester, Chichester, Fareham and Southampton.