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Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust: Connecting safely with nature while in lockdown

As the latest national lockdown enters its second month and with no release of the restrictions on the immediate horizon, maintaining our connection with the natural world is a key way of providing balance in our lives and supporting our own well-being, writes Erin McDaid of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

At the same time, it is vital every-one respects government guidelines and each other to ensure we all stay safe while out and about locally.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves remain open as places of solace and rejuvenation for all visitors.

Spalford Warren Notts Photo: Ashley Waterfall (44233379)
Spalford Warren Notts Photo: Ashley Waterfall (44233379)

However, some of our larger, better known, sites have been very busy at times, especially weekends, so we are therefore urging visitors to stay local, to think twice before automatically jumping in the car to visit our reserve, and to observe the social distancing rules.

We are also advising that if any of our sites, or any local green space for that matter, seems excessively busy when you arrive it probably best to opt for a less trodden route around or to return at a quieter time.

In line with guidelines designed to keep people safe and to reflect the pressures on our staff, facilities such as bird hides and toilets remain closed, but our cafés at Idle Valley and Attenborough continue to offer a takeaway service.

North Muskham Lake Nature Reserve. (44233376)
North Muskham Lake Nature Reserve. (44233376)

In addition to our most visited and best known sites, including Besthorpe, alongside the Trent north of Newark; Attenborough south of Nottingham; and Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford; we have a wonderful network of sites across the county.

Locally, we have Beacon Hill Conservation Park on the edge of Newark, North Muskham Nature Reserve, and Farndon Willow Holt.

A little further afield we have Spalford Warren a little further up the A1133 from Besthorpe, Treswell Wood west of Retford, and Ploughman Wood Nature Reserve near Lowdham.

Farndon Willow Holt in snow. Photo: Erin McDaid (44233367)
Farndon Willow Holt in snow. Photo: Erin McDaid (44233367)

Depending where you live, some of these sites might require a longer walk to get there, but they provide opportunities for people to see, experience and connect with nature right on their doorstep.

Across the county we have dozens of sites and amazingly, across the UK, the wildlife trusts care for more nature reserves than McDonald’s has restaurants!

This means there are usually plenty of local options wherever you live and once we are allowed to travel again, there are also plenty of options across the border into neighbouring counties too.

Treswell wood Photo:Erin McDaid. (44233392)
Treswell wood Photo:Erin McDaid. (44233392)

With schools once again closed for the majority of pupils many parents, carers and teachers may be looking for extra inspiration to help keeping young people occupied, while continuing to develop key skills.

A great source of ideas and inspiration, especially for primary aged students, is our Wildlife Watch YouTube channel where new content is released each Wednesday.

Our Action for Insects guide for schools also includes great ideas for students, including some activities suitable for secondary students.

When undertaking any Wildlife Trust activity or visiting any of our sites, please continue to follow social distancing guidelines to help control the spread of coronavirus and check GOV.uk for the latest guidance where you live.

Please also make sure to love and look after our wonderful wild places that our wildlife calls home, so that you and others can continue to enjoy them.

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