Guest blog By Tim Bullen
Sussex Wildlife Trust's 30 Days wild, is a brilliant idea.
What better way to get us out of the coffee shops, off our phones and setting sail for a short voyage into the great outdoors than by encouraging us to do something a little bit wilder. The natural world is full of little adventures and discoveries and unlike most experiences in life, its free.
From watching a spider catch a fly, to lying in wait near a badgers sett, or following a bumblebee as it buzzes from flower to flower. Connecting with the natural world is the perfect way to drop lifes day to day baggage. In return, you get to experience the world like most of the creatures that we share the planet with do.
Its very liberating.
Politics and current affairs get demoted to the cheap seats, whilst the swallows build their nests and the trees sway peacefully in the breeze.
One of our favourite wild experiences at the campsite is paying a visit to one of the reptile shelters dotted around the camping meadow, often followed by an enthusiastic group of eight year olds.
Building a reptile shelter
Many of our guests live in towns and built up areas. So a few days wild camping in the Sussex countryside, is a chance to see grass snakes for the first time or to enjoy an ink black star filled night sky.
The experience is unforgettable. Others take to the boats and row up the river Ouse from the Anchor Inn, watching the beautiful damselflies skimming across the water, or succumbing to the urge for a wild swim at Barcombe Mills. Even the pitch black walk home from the Royal Oak in Barcombe, along the disused railway line, turns into an adventure infused with new sounds. You don’t often hear the tawny owls hoot or the cacophony of croaks from the marsh frogs as the tube pulls into Balham on a late June evening.
But you do here.
These brief encounters with nature are simple and they’re critical to our connection with the natural world. They help to bolster our sanity. They leave us refreshed, with an invigorating, but perhaps calmer perspective on the days headlines. By tomorrow, much of the news will have changed, even gone away. But, the hedgehog will still be looking for grubs for her young and the pygmy shrew will still need to have both ears open for the dive bombing barn owl and the flowers will still be competing for the attention of the pollinating insect, as the air meanders across the meadow. Sometimes it looks peaceful, but under natures skin a lot’s happening and its waiting to be discovered.
So go on. Be inspired. All you have to do is leave a few strips of the lawn uncut over June and see what a difference you have made. No-one will thank you for it, but everything will love you.
By the end of June summer is in full swing and it’s when we host the annual Secret Wildlife Festival in conjunction with the wildlife trust. Its now in its seventh year. Over the weekend, the Secret Campsite oozes wildness. We’re lucky to have the brilliant and wild-ish Michael Blencowe running the festival with his team of wildlife experts from the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
The event sells out at the drop of an acorn. So far it has raised over £17,000 to supports the Sussex Wildlife Trusts wild work. You can join the list for next years festival by sending us an email to email@example.com
But most of all do something wild, however small it is. You’ll suddenly see something different.