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The OLPRO Rambling Blog

Awesome Autumn

Awesome Autumn

Awesome Autumn is upon us

Autumn is well and truly here, and half term is fast approaching. Although the weather isn’t as conducive to adventures as the summer months, the Autumn colours are well worth making the effort to get out for. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

Beaches are wilder and more dramatic (as well as quieter!) and campsites are quieter and more affordable as the off-peak tarrifs kick in. We’ve rounded up a few ideas of Autumn adventures for you to make the most of your free time this season.

1: Follow a Leaf Peeping Trail 

The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley have launched the UK’s first Leaf Peeping Trail this Autumn.  With 50 miles of stunning scenery and colour, there’s plenty to do along the way, from canoeing the River Wye to clambering up Symonds Yat to admire the view. There are some great campsites in the vicinity if you want to make a weekend (or a week) of it, such asWhitemead Forest Park for a larger site with more facilities, or the stunning simplicity ofBeeches Farm campsite for sweeping sunset views across the valley.

2: Go Stargazing

With the earlier evenings, even the youngest member of the family can enjoy some stargazing. It’s Space Week at the moment, what a great opportunity to get out there and spot some constellations with the family. The UK is full of ‘dark sky’ spots – places with little or no artificial lighting – where you can head out and enjoy the wonders of the galaxy. It’s also Hunter’s Moon on October 13th, the full moon for the month – the ideal time to get out and enjoy a celestial celebration.

Combine your stargazing with a campfire (as long as they are allowed where you are, of course) and some marshmallow toasting, and you’ve got the perfect autumn activity to remember for years to come.

3: Go Apple Picking (and pressing!)

It’s the season of plenty – plenty of apples! Many National Trust properties have pick your own events in their apple orchards, such as Brockhampton in Herefordshire. You can also find information on apple pressing days all over the country, where you can take along your bounty and join in acommunity apple pressing event, saving the juice to drink as it is – or make your own cider of course! 

4: Beachcombing/rockpooling

Clean, warm sandy beaches are great – but for me, you can’t beat a wild, high full moon Autumn tide complete with whirling seagulls, crashing waves, and the fascinating detritus that gets left behind. Driftwood, seed pods from lands far far away, mermaid’s purses, the treasure found upon a remote beach is far more interesting in Autumn than summer. See which of these treasures you can find on your adventures. Take a pair of gloves and a bin bag with you and do your own mini beach-clean as you go.

Some of our favourite beaches:

Rhossili Bay in Wales

Warbeth Bay in Orkney

Brancaster in Norfolk

Marloe Sands in Wales

Robin Hoods Bay, Yorkshire

5: Visit an Arboretum

With over 60,000 species of tree across the globe, and 32 native British species, we owe it to the world of arboriculture to get out and appreciate these incredible, beautiful, oxygen-producers. An Arboretum or a woodland is an ideal way to visit and appreciate a wide variety of trees from our native species to thousands of introduced varieties as well. Autumn is when an arboretum really comes into its own as the colours change and leaves, seeds and nuts all fall, giving a blanket of beautiful seasonal goodness. Support the development of Arboretums and woodland with your entry fee, car parking fee, National Trust membership, or donations to the Woodland Trust, and make sure the trees will be there for many generations to come. Check out some of theUK’s most beautiful arboretums here.

The Outside Is Yours

The Outside Is Yours

The Outside Is Yours

Have you ever noticed that if your children or grandchildren are grouchy, you take them outdoors and they almost immediately relax and start to enjoy themselves? This is 'biophilia' - the theory that by nature, human beings are naturally drawn to nature and natural things. 
Whereas most of us grew up exploring our outdoor surroundings, today's kids are being brought up with 'nature deficit disorder' where they are kept indoors for fear of danger, abduction, injury - and where they spend far more time in front of a screen than they do building dens or playing in streams. 
It's no wonder that children's mental health is on the decline - surely the two correspond?! So what can be done to counteract this childhood travesty?

Make the most of your free time. In today's world, both parents often work and this can leave little time for outdoor exploration and adventure such as walks and camping trips. However, it doesn't have to be much - even walking to school, heading out to the park, taking the dog out - or even playing in the garden - will all help to feed the need for the great outdoors. If you have more time, of course, then planning in camping trips or walks in national parks, forests or beside beaches is and ideal (and affordable) way to spend more time outside with your whole family. You may be exhausted on evenings and weekends but we promise, if you ALL get outdoors and enjoy nature, you'll feel the benefits for everybody's mental and physical health. 

Join a forest school group or outdoor playgroup.Take the play outside - there are many groups now where you can sign up with like-minded families and spend dedicated time in the great outdoors come rain or shine. Just search online for one near you - and if you can't find one, set one up yourself! The one we attend is in a local woodland and involves plenty of fun activities such as fire building and cooking, den building, and of course jumping in muddy puddles. 

Join the National Trust's campaign to get children closer to nature with'50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4'. With 50 free or cheap activities all based outdoors, you're sure to find some inspiration close to home. 

No Wasted Weekends

No Wasted Weekends

No More Wasted Weekends

Have you ever got to the end of Sunday and realised that you've spent all weekend procrastinating? Pottering about the house, lying in bed, binge watching Netflix and eating snacks? Do you look back with regret at another weekend lost? Here at OLPRO we want you to start making the most of the free time you have, and taking yourself into the outdoors for some wonderful mini-adventures. 

There are many ways to bring the wild into your spare time. Take your lunch outside and enjoy a picnic in nature. Take a colleague and walk around the block - discover some local footpaths. Get up early and head up a hill for a dawn walk before work. Take the kids wild camping - even if it's just in the garden. Find a nearby campsite and visit just for a night or a weekend, stargaze and roast marshmallows. Micro-adventures that will leave you with a sense of time well spent. 

What with prices rising, Brexit looming, and the environmental crisis, it's easy to get bogged down in the national gloom. However - we only get one life. One life, with a UK life expectancy of 81 years. 81 years, 52 weekends a year - it's vital that we don't waste them on screen time and the sofa. Mini adventures benefit the local economy, your health and well-being, and the environment. Holidaying closer to home is great for cutting down your carbon footprint, and your physical and mental health will thank you for getting more exercise and Vitamin D (proven to help boost your mood naturally). 

The mental health charity Mind recently commissioned a report which has shown that being outdoors, whether it be growing food, gardening or undertaking conservation work, has a hugely beneficial impact upon mental health. Camping, hiking, picnicking and walking are some of the best ways to get outdoors and have fun whilst easing mental stresses and strains.

The Guardian says that ‘we are twice as likely to be emotionally distressed if we are urban rather than rural (and four times more likely to suffer schizophrenia). Part of the reason for this is estrangement caused by lack of exposure to natural sights, sounds and smells, to dislocation from the natural rhythms of the seasons, of night from day. Ecotherapies work because they reconnect us with nature; its external reality but most fundamentally, our inner natures.’

Obviously, we're not suggesting that you give up your medication or therapy - but by adding in more time outdoors, you're sure to feel a little (or a lot) better. 

Find the time to get outside more - and never regret your weekend again. 

Camping at Bestival

Camping at Bestival

Shell is a mum of two littlies Rocco and Valli, and lives on the Cornish coast. She's an instablogger and creates beautiful images and shares awesome products on her profile, @shellandthelittlies over at Instagram.

So it seems some of you feel exactly the same as I did and think you’re not campers...well if I can do it you can!

When friends and family heard we was doing @campbestival this year some laughed and the frequent response was ...”You? Camping?”

I have to admit myself it’s never been something I thought I’d want to do but having kids and growing up caravanning I know the fun I used to have and the experience it would be for us as a family so I wanted to give it a go!

And....I loved it...we all did! Thanks to our friends @olproeverywhere who arranged our home from home the Wichenford 3.0 which is such a fantastic tent!

It was easy to get up and down literally taking us about 25 minutes and I’m sure the more we do it the quicker we’ll get! There was plenty of space for us all, the kids loved their bedrooms and Valli even slept until the morning in her room which is unheard of at home! They currently have great offers on tents, campervan awnings and camping accessories, and always offer free delivery.

A few things I was worried about were

1 - feeling the cold, thankfully the weather was good but it did go colder at night, however the tent was lovely & cosy so I didn’t feel the cold at all (coming from me who is always cold that means a lot!)

2. The shower/toilet situation - I had lots of messages about this! We stayed in Camping Plus which is still standard camping but means you are allocated a larger pitch closer to the event. I was pleasantly surprised there were plenty of showers & toilets that were cleaned regularly. The showers were warm and we showered everyday which just makes the whole experience better!

It was lovely to wake up to the sounds of nature and just so exciting for the kids so we’ve definitely caught the camping bug!

We’re planning some weekends away down here in Cornwall at campsites with good facilities so even though I live here you guys probably know better than me the best campsites to visit...I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments please!’