The natural world offers endless escapism and adventure to people of all ages, but to the younger generation, it is the setting where imaginations run freely and where the most wonderful memories are created.
From muddy knees and dirty hands, to riding bicycles and neighbourhood games; the activities that make up the quintessential childhood memory are in rapid decline. Obesity rates are also at an all time high and whilst children are getting bigger, their appreciation and understanding of the great outdoors appears to be getting smaller.
River Dart Country Park, an award winning adventure park and campsite destination, located in Ashburton, is supporting The National Trusts’ annual campaign which aims to get 20,000 children across the UK playing outside this summer, by encouraging them to break their reliance on gadgets and computers for entertainment.
The campaign, which follows research commissioned by the Trust, comprises 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ and so far over 90,000 of the nation’s youngsters have signed up to tackle the list.
The research revealed that children aged 7-12 spend less time playing outside compared to any other generation – with over half (54%) confessing they spend less than an hour outside each day, whilst one in four (25%) spend less than 30 minutes a day in the outdoors. This compares to their parents who spent an average of 2 hours 34 minutes outside each day as children.
Mark Simpson, Owner of River Dart Country Park said: “The research findings are disappointing - if only children knew what they were missing out on. The park has been open to the public since 1976, and we are extremely proud to have provided a combination of nature and adventure throughout this time. Building lasting memories and being active through outdoor experiences such as those that we provide is so important, and we actively encourage children to explore the world around them.”
River Dart Country Park’s play and nature experts, have created their own list of must do things for children this summer, to learn about nature and to have loads of fun along the way.
1. Camping out in the wild
2. Exploring a cave
3. Pond dipping in the lake
4. Dragon fly spotting
5. Exploring the inside of a tree
6. Embarking on a mini beast safari
7. Bat spotting when night falls
8. Bird spotting (from woodpeckers to owls)
9. Looking for animal tracks in woodland areas – including, deer, badger and fox
10. Identifying the different trees - native and non native
River Dart Country Park, located on the doorstep of Dartmoor National Park, invites children and their families to explore the park and its surrounding areas during the summer holidays. From visiting its inspiring forest school and learning about mini beasts and their habitats, to rock climbing and exploring the local caves – there is always plenty to see and do.
Please visit www.riverdart.co.uk and www.facebook.com/riverdartcountrypark, to find out more information, including special offers.Nice Mum Card holders get £1 off admission. See our discounts page for terms & conditions.