The Wild, Wild West (of Stamford)
By Nikki Squires writer of the Wild Guide Central England

As the summer draws to a close and the days start to shorten, Autumn can still offer up some warm, sunny days and balmy evenings: a final opportunity to enjoy some quality family time outside before we need to search out
our Winter woollies!

 

Rutland and the surrounding area prospered during the Middle Ages with the rise in
markets and
trading routes, and its rich history has resulted in some fantastic
locations for all the family to enjoy.


Hints of past greatness can be seen at the imposing 9th-century Crowland Abbey that adults and kids both love to explore. Further afield, many patches of ancient woodland still survive from medieval times. Launde Big Wood is a wild, overgrown playground sat atop a hill with glorious views across the surrounding countryside on
the walk in.

 

The gentle Welland is the principal river in the area, and meanders its way across the beautiful Rutland and Lincolnshire countryside to The Wash estuary. The water in September, having heated up over the summer months, is warmer than it is in May, and come October is still inviting enough for a paddle. What could be
better after enjoying a picnic of delicious local produce from one of the well-stocked
local farm and community shops?

 

There are a growing number of studies that evidence the importance of connecting with nature for our health and wellbeing. We also live in a time when it is increasingly important to teach our children to appreciate and look after the wild. Growing up with a fascination for wildlife, a respect for the countryside and an understanding of its fragile yet persistent qualities will ensure that these stunning and enthralling places will be looked after for generations to come. Why not spend a night or two camping locally at this time of year; you don’t have to travel far to feel as if you’re ‘away’ for the weekend. Remember to take layers of clothing so that you can keep warm
enough once the stars come out.


5 tips to keep the kids happy:


1. Give everyone an empty matchbox to fill – a point for every object they can fit into it.

 

2. Select a leader who decides which way to go by tossing a coin: heads: right, tails: left.

 

3. Build mini cairns: How many stones can you pile up without it toppling?

 

4. Play good old-fashioned Pooh Sticks or just wade in for a paddle!

 

5. Split into 2 groups, an adult with each, to create signs with sticks and stones
to guide the others to the picnic or a cool place you’ve discovered.


The Wild Guide selections:


LAUNDE BIG WOOD - 
A hidden, ancient woodland adjacent to the old Launde
Estate. Lose yourself in the impressive array of rich flora carpeting the floor. Great for
picnics, games or den-building.

THE WINDPUMP, RIVER WELLAND, COTTINGHAM - A tranquil section of the
Welland with a pebble beach which is perfect for kids, leading to a gloriously deep
pool near the bridge.


CROWLAND ABBEY
The striking remnants of a Benedictine abbey, its north aisle
is still in use as the parish

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