Find out why our family loves the great outdoors with our toddler’s guide to going wild.
As little C celebrates his third birthday, our young naturalist would like to share one of his favourite places for adventure with you all – Northumberlandia!
It’s July and the days are long and warm, that means there’s plenty of opportunities to get out and about and discover the natural world on your doorstep.
Little C loves Northumberlandia, the lady of the North. He just loves nature in general, so it was the perfect excuse for a mummy and Cyrus day, sharing our passion for the great outdoors.
Northumberlandia is a piece of art which is within a 46-acre area of parkland with free access to the public and four miles of footpaths around the landform. The centrepiece of the park is Northumberlandia, a stunning human landform sculpture of a reclining lady. It’s made up of 1.5 million tonnes of clay, rock and soil and is 100ft high and a quarter of a mile long.
The landform offers up fun challenges for all the family and the best part about it is, it’s on our doorstep. It’s somewhere you can connect with nature and it’s magical. As a new mum over 40, the walk really like feels like I’m doing something great too.
There are plenty of studies that show the health benefits of spending more time outdoors. The Hodge Institute announced that “immersive nature experiences for children benefits self-esteem, resilience and academic-cognitive performance.” This same logic can be applied to adults. However, a lot of parents hold themselves and their kids back from enjoying the outdoors due to getting grubby!
In a world full of toys, tech, games and full-time nursery places, it’s easy to forget that one of the most important things that tots need is time with their parents. That’s why weekends are essential for us as a family to help little C develop his language, social and emotional skills and time spent in the great outdoors means no interruptions from everyday life.
He loves watching the birds and doing butterfly counts too. There are so many easy things you can do as you explore the park. Here are our five favourite things to do there, that might inspire you!
- Look out for the patterns in nature. Just enjoy looking for the simple shapes you can find.
- Look out over Shotton Surface mine for the diggers, dump trucks and excavators.
- Carry out a survey. Always goes down well with little boys – although we didn’t spot the dinosaur on little C’s list recently!
- Fairyhouse detecting in the woods and a spot of ice-cream in the cafe. This is a really fun task which kept little C occupied for quite some time. The cafe is also a lovely little spot to get-together after a brisk walk in the sunshine. Staff are really friendly too. Little C even got a special sticker for being good!
- Have a picnic. Finding a nice spot to lay out the picnic blanket here isn’t hard and it means you can just soak up the scenery.
The country park and landscape sculpture is open from dawn till dusk each day. The Visitor Centre, Café and Toilets are open Thursday to Sunday between 10am and 4pm throughout the winter months.
A partnership of organisations are responsible for the creation and management of Northumberlandia, the Lady of the North. The Park has been built by the Banks Group as part of the restoration of Shotton surface coal mine on land donated by Blagdon Estates.
The Land Trust have responsibility for managing the park for the benefit of the local community with the support of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.