The humble stick has the power to unleash every child’s imagination, the humble stick can be transformed into a wand, a way marker, a sword or a wild animal. Sticks are also essential tools for trying many of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ activities.
This summer the National Trust hopes to inspire kids all over the country to get outdoors, find their perfect stick and start an adventure in nature. Sticks are free, easy to find and offer adventures right on your doorstep. You could head to the local park, a National Trust woodland or simply your own back garden.
Here are 10 icky sticky ‘50 things’ adventure ideas across the country for a nature fuelled day out
1. Make a mud pie
- Morden Hall Park, London
Sticks are perfect for mixing magical potions and mud pies. And what better place to make mud pies than at a big camping adventure weekend. Head down to Morden Hall Park for a healthy dose of wild time and get stuck into den building, bug hunting, marshmallow toasting and mud pie making. Cook over a camp fire and camp out under the stars for that amazing back-to-basics feeling.
Price: Adult £35, child £25 (normal admission applies), booking essential
For more information, please call 0844 249 1895 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/morden-hall-park
2. Play Pooh Sticks
- Borrowdale and Derwent Water, Cumbria
If you like the thrill of a good old fashioned game of Pooh Sticks then this is definitely the activity for you. Your first task is to find a winning stick. Will it be big, small, thick or thin? Once you’ve chosen suitably head to Ashness Bridge where you can marvel at the amazing views across Derwent Water before the race begins. Simply drop your sticks into the flowing water and see who wins.
For more information, please call 020 8545 6850 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/borrowdale-and-derwent-water
3. Build a Den
- Malham Tarn Estate, Yorkshire
- Den Building and Geocaching at Malham Tarn, 28 July, 1pm – 4pm
Have you always wished you could build a super-secret den to hide away from the grownups? Then you’ll need to gather a lot of sticks! Head down to Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales for a day of muddy adventures and den building. You’ll learn how to create a secret hideaway using only what you can find in the wild, and have a go at following a geocaching trail to find some hidden treasure.
Price: £5, booking essential
For more information, please call 01729 830416 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/malham-tarn-estate
4. Make a trail with sticks
- The Vyne, Hampshire
- Make a trail with sticks, 17 August, 12pm – 1pm
Young outdoor adventurers can head down to the Vyne to spend an hour creating your very own secret trail marked out with sticks. The challenge is whether someone can follow it afterwards. All that’s needed is a keen eye for detail, an enthusiasm for roaming and a whole load of sticks. Afterwards why not explore the woodlands and see if you can find The Hidden Realm playground.
Price: £1 (normal admission charges apply)
For more information, please call 01256 883858 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-vyne
5. Create some wild art
- Springhill, County Londonderry
Run wild at Springhill this summer and venture through the woodlands to discover a clearing with natural climbing frames, rope swings and dens, mystical creatures and thrones. Set your imagination free and create wild art using sticks, leaves and feathers found on the woodland floor. Can you create your very own animal kingdom using only sticks and your imagination?
Price: Normal admission charges apply
For more information, please call 02886 748210 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/springhill
6. Dam a stream
- Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors, Derbyshire
Head out for a day of discovery around the ancient woods and tumbling streams of Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors. Burbage Brook is just waiting to be played in. Why not try damming the brook with sticks and rocks found on the water’s edge? It won’t be long until you look down and the stream has turned into a pond. After you’ve finished you can have fun smashing down the dam you’ve made and returning it to its natural state.
Price: normal admission charges apply
For more information: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/longshaw-burbage-and-the-eastern-moors
7. Go on a walk barefoot
- Godolphin, Cornwall
- Barefoot Festival, 21 August, 10am – 4pm
Feel the grass between your toes as you join in with the barefoot festivities at Godolphin. Enjoy a feast of textures for the feet on the specially-made barefoot trail of wood, mud, stone, slate and fabric, and have a go at yoga, Tai Chi, arts and crafts all with your socks off. Afterwards why not try creating your very own barefoot walkway made of sticks and leaves?
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
For more information, please call 01736 763194 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/godolphin
8. Climb a huge hill
- Sugarloaf and Usk Valley, Monmouthshire
If you want to climb a really huge hill then the Sugarloaf is a great place to start. Technically a mountain, it stands at a whopping 596m above sea level and from the top you can see right across the Brecon Beacons and even into south-west England. It’s a great place to go in search of that perfect walking stick to help you make it to the top. And why not see how many other stick-related games you can play on your way up?
For more information, please call 01874 625515 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sugarloaf-and-usk-valley
9. Make a home for a wild animal
- Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, Conwy
- 50 things fun day, 19 August, 11am – 4pm
Head down to Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant to complete some ‘50 things’ activities against the backdrop of beautiful Welsh countryside. You could try making a bug hotel out of twigs and sticks, a hedgehog house or even a little bird box. All sorts of animals need homes to live in so get creative. Afterwards have a go at planting a seed to grow tasty vegetables, and see if you can find the special animal puzzle trails through the woodlands.
Price: Free event
For more information, please call 01690 713323 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ty-mawr-wybrnant
10. Cook on a campfire
- Hatfield Forest, Essex
- Family Bushcraft and Tracking Day, 22 August, 10.15am – 3pm
Could you survive in the wild with only the bare necessities? At this family bushcraft day you’ll learn all the basics to wild survival. Try your hand at building a shelter using natural materials from the forest floor. Then gather as many sticks as you can and learn how to light a fire to keep warm. You’ll also learn how to collect clean drinking water and how to forage for food. If the summer sun has worked its magic there’ll be plenty of blackberries ripe for the picking too.
For more information, please call 01279 870678 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatfield-forest