Embracing Nature during times of Crisis

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Photo by Adam Tatton-Reid | Written by Finola O'Sullivan 

Published Friday 20th March 2020

Are you social distancing or a new member of the nationwide Working From Home club? In these unprecedented times with shop and pub closures, now is the time to embrace our beautiful surroundings here in Hay so why not take this opportunity to take a break from the hourly news bulletins and Facebook chaos to get out into the great outdoors! Here is a collection of simple outdoor locations, activities and schemes to keep you and your family’s spirits high:

  • Play and learn in nature - With schools across the UK closing, let’s make this a time to educate the children of the future about nature and wildlife! Spring has sprung meaning beautiful flowers are in bloom, leaves are returning to trees, and lambs are sheepishly roaming the fields looking for their mums (sorry, we had to!). Our weekly nature playgroup Little Willows runs on the importance of nature play and once we open again, all sorts of fun will be had including scavenger hunts and crafts! Find more information on our website.

  • National Trust visits - If you fancy a safe trip out of the house, then the National Trust has announced they will open its gardens and parklands for free during the coronavirus outbreak. Their indoor sites including cafes, castles and houses will close by Friday 20 March to stop the spread of COVID-19 but the Trust recognises the importance of the outdoors to the public for those who are social distancing so these will remain open. Sites to keep your eyes on include The Weir Garden, Croft Castle and Parkland and Berrington Hall.  Find the National Trust’s latest updates about closures here. NOTE: Unfortunately since publication, the National Trust have now made the decision to close all outdoor areas too to ensure the public are following social distancing measures in place.

  • Gardening - Have you muttered the phrase “it’s okay, I’ll do the weeding this weekend” and months later you have dandelions growing out of your ears? Our friends over at The Old Railway Line have all the finest tips for Garden Care in March. Beginning what feels like a huge task by taking a small step and the added bonus of Vitamin D will do wonders for your mental health.

  • Take a walk up Hay Bluff - Either you’ve been up hundreds of times or have never thought the idea of walking up a mountain as ‘fun.’ Well, now is the time! With panoramic views overlooking the countryside towards Hay-on-Wye, there is no better place to escape the noise and feel calm. The wild horses and sheep are great models for those all important snapshots of your walk, but equally good company! Follow the Offa’s Dyke path that takes you around the side of the mountain, take a breather, then walk along the top to be met by beautiful scenery and a welsh dragon! More information on the Offa’s Dyke paths can be found here

  • Explore the Warren - The Warren is a hotspot for swimmers, joggers, and dogs alike who enjoy taking in the idyllic scenery. Look out for incredible nature-inspired wooden sculptures by Thomas Carvings, collect rocks to paint and share on the Hay-on-Wye Rocks Facebook group, or sit still and read your favourite book - this is the town of books after all - listening to your surroundings. Being outside is grounding and to think that the fish and birds are going about their lives with no understanding of the world’s current state is quite calming, don’t you think?

If you like these ideas, or have your own you’d like to share then head over to our socials; we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Meet you there!

Adam's photograph is taken at Fan Frynych looking towards Corn Du and Pen y Fan.