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The Big Bang

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Renée Watson
The Big Bang Small Blue Kingfishers Spring

The unseasonable warmth we’ve had this year makes me anxious and a little confused. And I’m not the only one. Flowers, birds and pretty much all animals are getting into their spring groove much earlier than you’d expect. It’s a clear sign that things are changing and maybe we should take the opportunity to get outside and appreciate the beauty of nature. I find it amazing how much it recharges my batteries to be among the trees. It’s the perfect antidote to hours hunched over a computer, not to mention the teenage hormones that are rapidly infiltrating our home! Daydreaming aside, our local natural world, even just your nearest park, offers many things to see, do and explore. But if you need a bit of extra encouragement, here are some of my favourite places and tools to embellish Wild Britain.

For more organised days out in Oxfordshire there are lots of well-known spots like Blenheim Palace and The Earth Trust. But if like me you like to soak up the wild side of Britain then you want to be exploring places like the Thames Path where we’ve spotted otters, kingfishers and kites; Wytham Wood – you need a permit but it is worth it; and Pinsey wood – a little wood with lots to offer. A woodland walk is great free fun and there are plenty to be found on The Bucks, Berks and Oxon Wildlife Trust website, which has an easy interactive map showing woods in your area.

Going further afield, this is my Best of British for outdoor adventures

- Wistman’s Woods in Dartmoor

- Puzzle Wood in The Forest of Dean

- Anywhere north of Glasgow in Scotland

- The Wild Atlantic Way in Northern Ireland

- The Peak District, for unbeatable family-level off-road cycling

Whether in your garden, a park or woodland there are lots of gadgets that can really transform your wild experience. First, a smartphone microscope – I couldn’t believe the simplicity of these when we first got them into Curiosity Box HQ. You literally just pop it on the camera of any smart device and off you go. They give you 60x magnification so you can see breath-taking detail. It opens up a whole new world on a seed or the surface of wood for less than a tenner. Second, nature ID apps, because it’s really frustrating if you have a face-to-face encounter with wildlife and have no idea what’s in front of you. Our favourite for ease of use is The Wildlife Trust’s Nature Finder. The BBC Springwatch website has an extensive list of apps for different purposes.

So I implore, go explore! This planet of ours is so beautiful and the easiest, most enjoyable way for us to be convinced that we need to protect it is by experiencing the pure joy that the wild can give us.

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