Noticing in a Nature Reserve

When we work up this morning it became really clear really quickly that today was a noticing day. Some days are for running and shouting and for bouncing off walls. Some days we wake up and just want to look at everything. We want to watch every tiny spider and see what’s inside every crack on every wall. The problem with those sorts of days is that it’s really boring for me. I didn’t know before I became a parent how much I like to be doing something. I do know now! Lucy AitkenRead writes about Sites of Mutual Fulfilment and that was just what we needed today. Somewhere for both of us and Brockholes Nature Reserve was it.  

What you’ll need

  • A Nature Reserve, we chose Brockholes but there’s lots of others
  • Many many layers of clothes
  • Wellies and a change of clothes (Muddy bums all round)
  • A packed lunch (We found stopping to eat disrupted the flow of the day)


  1. Find somewhere beautiful
  2. Stay there all day
  3. Look at everything


OH MY THAT SKY! I could look at it all day and I did. It was so good to be in a place where I could see the horizon, especially in the winter. Being at Brockholes was a beautiful experience.

It was perfect for Small too. We used our breath to defrost a frozen snail, we got up close to a lot of water and we spotted and named a few birds that we’d never seen before. The playground at Brockholes was amazing, full of tiny stones to dig in, scoops and chains and shoots and slides.

It’s hard to say what the biggest bit of learning was that we got from today. Getting up close and personal with nature is so important for developing a passion for the great outdoors. It’s difficult to be motivated to conserve something we’ve never experienced. Being at the reserve certainly developed our helping skills.

We worked a lot on our exploring skills too. We spent a lot of time looking around the reserve and finding out about the birds. In the playground we worked out how all the chains and buckets worked. I would love to say we explored the architecture and design of the floating buildings as well but that was too big. Today was about the small things.

The main thing we did today was developing our thinking skills. Noticing is thinking right? Thinking and concentrating is much easier when you’re calm. Being outdoors is ultimately very relaxing for both of us. It’s great way to unwind. It also meant that Small could roam much further from me that he normally does. He had the opportunity to assess the risks for himself, plan his own challenges and really grow in confidence. He was trusting his own thinking, not mine.

If we hadn’t learned or practiced anything today it wouldn’t matter because we still would have had an amazing day. Life is for living, adventure is great and for that reason alone we will be back again very soon!


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