10 new activity breaks and wild days out in the UK for summer 2021
Wild Weekends, West Sussex
Wilderlands is a new project that aims to support nature in the UK by encouraging rewilding. This summer, it is hosting a series of “wild weekends” where people can spend time outdoors and learn more about conservation. The events, run by the people behind August’s Into the Wild festival, will take place every weekend from 21 May to 19 September in woods in Chiddinglye, West Sussex. All weekends feature bushcraft workshops (den-building, identifying birdsong), wild crafts (wood carving, flint knapping) and live music. Some have a specific focus, such as folklore, song or yoga, and most are family-friendly. Campers can pitch their own tents or hire bell tents or a woodland cabin.
• From £150 adult, £60 3-16 years, wilderlands.co.uk
Chalk stream walks, southern England
The Nest Collective, which stages folk music events in green spaces, is running six nature walks along chalk streams in southern England in June. Each walk is led by the collective’s founder, Sam Lee, who is a Mercury prize-nominated folk singer, and an “eco pioneer” special guest. For example, the walk along the Rivers Cray, Darent and Thames is with biologist Dr Amy-Jane Beer. The other locations are along the Chess, Stour, Colne, Kennet, Mimram and Beane; all start and end at a railway station a short distance from London. The three- to five-mile meanders include several stops for songs and talks. The collective is also taking walkers and singers on a turtle dove pilgrimage in Sussex (10-13 June) and a salmon pilgrimage in the Cairngorms (17-20 June).
• £27pp, thenestcollective.co.uk
Source to Sea (with easy options), various locations
As soon as restrictions allow, Oxford-based operator Active England will start running new Source to Sea trips – where participants paddleboard, kayak, canoe, swim, walk (or run) and cycle the length of well-known English and Welsh rivers. There are chances to hitch a ride on a boat, a steam train or a support vehicle, so these are not just for the super-fit. Nights are spent in pubs or around the fire pit, with a choice of glamping or hotel accommodation. The four river trips are: the Wye, from its source in the Cambrian mountains to Chepstow; the Tyne, from Deadwater Fell in Northumberland to Tynemouth; the Thames, from Thames Head in Gloucestershire to central London (not quite to the sea!); and three rivers in Devon and Cornwall – the Dart, Fowey and Camel.
• From £1,079 for six days, activeenglandtours.com
Source to Sea (advanced), Scotland
Secret Compass, which usually runs expeditions in far-flung places, is running its first in the UK this year. It, too, is a “source to sea” adventure – but it is not for the fainthearted. Starting at Tyndrum, on the northern edge of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park, participants will first hike 16 miles to climb Ben Lui (1,130 metres), one of the main sources of the River Tay. The next day, they will inflate their packrafts and spend five days following the Tay to Perth 87 miles away, negotiating rapids and lochs, and wild camping on the riverbank. There are points along the route where the river isn’t navigable and it is necessary to portage the rafts, so participants should be prepared to trek around 3 miles carrying a 21kg pack (food, kit and raft). The trip ends with a shower, dinner and comfortable bed in Perth.
• £1,349 for seven nights, 29 May-5 June, secretcompass.com
Fell running and yoga for women, Brecon Beacons
Video: Tulips at Hever Castle (Good Housekeeping UK)