On 30 June-1 July Britain will celebrate its national day – and night – of adventure, ‘Wild Night Out’.
Research from Natural England shows that one in nine children in England have not been to a natural environment in the past 12 months. Instead, children are spending an average of six hours a day in front of a screen. That’s roughly half of their waking time (Source PHE).
The fresh air has incredible health benefits. It can help reset your body clock to sleep better as well as provide a great source of exercise (and with over a third of British people now obese – accessible exercise is more important than ever before). The proportion of children regularly playing in wild places has fallen from over half to under 1 in 10 since the 1980s.
Wild Night Out is designed to inspire everyone to get outdoors. Its easy to get involved, whether you camp in your garden with the kids, hike up a mountain with some mates or try a new outdoors activity. Run by volunteers and supported by explorers such as Sir Ran Fiennes, as well as nonprofit community Explorers Connect and The Ordnance Survey, this year we have adventures, big and small, going on up and down the country including:
Nationwide Ambassador, Phoebe Smith, is launching #WildNightOut2018 by spending 10 nights sleeping suspended from landmarks across Britain. Phoebe and team will sleep high in the sky on small platforms called portaledges, rigged and suspended from the different sites over the ten consecutive nights leading up to Wild Night Out weekend.
Exmoor Founder of WNO, explorer Belinda Kirk will be holding a ‘Baby Camp Out’ at her home on Exmoor for her first baby, six month old Jackson, and a dozen new parents and their newborns. Belinda says, “What better way of enabling families to start getting outside together. I am lending kit and advice to the young families, however I am new to parenting myself so we’ll figure out together just how to camp with a baby.”
Cotswold Way Katy Parrot is running 100km through the night.
London The Mays Family is inviting kids from the area to camp in their garden.
Peak District A group of autistic young people will be completing an expedition for their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Lake District James Forrest (Ordnance Survey ambassador) will be solo wild camping.
South Downs Everest guide Holly Budge is holding a camp-out festival on the South Downs to raise money for an elephant charity.
Guinness World Record Holding Explorer and WNO Founder, Belinda Kirk said: “Fewer children and adults are accessing the outdoors than ever before. As a nation we’re missing out on the challenge, connection with nature, wellbeing and fun that comes from being active outside. I’ve spent 20 years taking groups on adventures and I’ve seen it change people’s lives for the better again and again. We’re losing touch with the most natural source of wellbeing on the planet.”
National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Alastair Humphreys agrees: “I’m delighted to see Wild Night Out working on such an important matter. When I was a child I benefited hugely from being able to roam wild, exploring woods, hills and rivers with my brother and friends. It’s important for children’s physical health, to teach them to take and measure risk, to learn to appreciate and conserve our wild places and to have fun as well.”
For more information, go to www.wildnightout.org