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Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.             – Albert Einstein

After school we decided to go for a quick walk to Winkworth Arboretum through the glorious woodland scenery. According to the National Trust website Winkworth was “established in the 20th century, this hillside arboretum has now been maintained by the National Trust for 60 years and has built up a collection of more than 1,000 different shrubs and trees, many of them rare”.

As we arrived and showed our National Trust card at the desk, the lady asked our mini me’s (aged 12 and 10) if they would like to do the challenge “50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4“, my daughter promptly told them she was too old! The woman responded quickly and I totally agree with her response, you are never to old to enjoy nature! This spurred them both on so off they ran intending to complete at least one of the challenges on our walk.

We have been very busy as a family over the last few months with house renovations so it is bliss just to forget it all and spend some quality family time outdoors even though the rain was not far behind us! Last year I visited here with my daughter to see the bluebells which were just spectacular.

Alas, this year we were a little late as they were past there best, but it was still a wonderful walk. My kids had a great competition seeing who could see and name the most trees and bugs and running up and down the hills seeing who was the fastest

They even managed two of the 50 things and even “hugged a tree”!

Tree hugging, was often thought of as a hippy generation idea, but it has been shown to have scientific validity after all! Contrary to popular belief, touching a tree does make you healthier. In fact you don’t even have to touch the tree to get better, just being within its vicinity has the same effect. Countless studies have shown that children show significant psychological and physiological effects in terms of their health and well being when they interact with plants. They demonstrate that children function better cognitively and emotionally in green environments and have more creative play in green areas. Well I know for sure my two had beaming smiles as they climbed the tree and then hugged it, such a wonderful thing to see for any parent. While researching about tree hugging I found this site, dedicated to trees which really made me smile. It even gave these tips on how to tree hug:

  1. Find yourself a quiet park, forest, or woodland area
  2. Walk among the trees until you feel comfortable in their presence.
  3. Feel the different bark textures with the palms of your hands.
  4. Smell the scent of the various woods.
  5. Absorb their life’s energies as you look upwards to the sprawling branches overhead.
  6. Find the perfect tree that fits your mood. You will know which one is right for you.
  7. Vertical Tree Hug: Encircle it with your arms while gently pressing your cheek to the trunk being careful not to scratch your face. Squeeze tightly. Sigh deeply. Be one with your tree.
  8. Full Body Tree Hug: Sit upon the ground wrapping your legs around the base of the tree and at the same time embracing it with your arms.
  9. Up in the Air Tree Hug: Climb a tree. Sit upon a strong limb and straddle it with your legs. Bend forward and place your belly against it while wrapping your arms about it.

Why don’t you give it a go today and hug a tree, if nothing else it will make you smile.

No 1 of the 50 things completed, climb a tree

No 28 of the 50 things completed, climb a huge hill

Just a few of the other photos I took during this hour packed with nature filled fun are below, we are all looking forward to day two and beyond 🙂