Outdoor adventures to keep the kids busy this summer

Youngsters and grown ups will have the chance to go a bit wild this summer with a whole list of free events aimed at developing new skills in a fun packed environment.

The Growing Up Wild series of events is offering children and their families the chance to get out and play in the Clyde Valley – and explore some areas on your doorstep that you may not know exist.

Following the success of the fully subscribed Growing Up Wild play sessions in 2016, further funding has been secured to continue the outdoor learning and family woodland play project in RSPB Baron’s Haugh, Chatelherault Country Park, Lanark and Lesmahagow, with OutLET Play Resource.

Ahead of the sessions there has even been a Community Clean-up at Lanark Loch to make the place look as good as it can to welcome those taking place in a summer holiday of activities.

The sessions are supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP), with additional help from the William Grant Foundation.

CAVLP is also supported by the Scottish Rural Development Programme through its LEADER project which is co-funded by the European Union and supports eligible projects in rural areas.

Karen Dobbins, development officer with CAVLP, said: “I am delighted that CAVLP are able to expand the project to develop opportunities for outdoor play in new areas.

“It is essential for our children’s well-being that we allow them the space and freedom to play and are very excited to be given the opportunity to bring this popular family play initiative back once again this summer.”

And Jackie Meager from OutLET: Play Resource, an organisation that was only founded in May 2016 with the aims of using play and culture to level the playing field for those affected by social, emotional and economic deprivation, added: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for families to play and explore in their local wild spaces and we hope it will help keep the benefits of outdoor play at the forefront of people’s minds.”

Tickets were released via Eventbrite at the start of this month but a few are still available. Participants are encouraged to register on the waiting list as further spaces may become available and this will help secure funding for similar events in future.

Dates for the Growing Up Wild family play sessions are as follows: RSPB Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell, Tuesdays, July 11, 18 and 25 and August 2, 1pm to 3.30pm, with an additional slot on July 25 from 10am to noon; Chatelherault Country Park, Wednesdays, July 12, 18 and 26 and August 2, and Saturday, July 15, 10am to 12 noon, with an additional slot on July 15, 10am to noon; Lanark Racecourse, Wednesdays, July 12, 19 and 26, and August 2 and 9, 1pm to 3.30pm; Birkwood Estate, Lesmahagow, Thursdays, July 13, 19 and 27, and August 3, 1pm to 3.30pm.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the event as additional Grow Wilder drop-off wild play sessions are planned. These sessions will be suitable for children ages five or more and will allow them the opportunity to try activities such as den building, making tree swings, exploring in streams, bug hunting, climbing trees, making bows and arrows, building and lighting fires, toasting marshmallows and much more – all without parent supervision.

A list of these dates are: Lanark Racecourse, Wednesdays, August 9 and 19, 10am to noon; Birkwood Estate, Lesmahagow, Thursdays, July 13, 20 and 27, and August 3, 10am to noon.

Tickets for any of the Growing-Up Wild sessions can be booked through www.Growing-Up-Wild.eventbrite.com, but it is expected that demand will be high, so it is advisable to book early.

The summer play sessions are part of a wider programme promoting natural play through Forest School training, an Outdoor Play conference in 2016 and workshops in schools.

For more information on what support is available for setting up a new, local outdoor play club, contact CAVLP on 01555 663 430 / [email protected]

The aim of the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership is to help conserve, enhance and celebrate the unique landscape and cultural heritage of the Clyde and Avon valleys.