The National Trust has compiled a fab list of 50 outdoor things to do before you’re 11 3/4. It was even mentioned on Countryfile! Don’t worry if you have missed any of the National Trust’s specific ‘ 50 things’ weekends, you can use their website and our printable leaflet to get busy at home and on holiday. It’s really not just for kids either…
We’ve worked out how to do 33 of the 50 here in Borrowdale – so here are our top tips! You don’t even have to get in your car.
There is a particularly good climbing tree near High Brandelhow landing stage. Or explore Manesty Wood or the woods around Castle Crag.
Manesty Band’s slopey lawn is perfect.
You can learn wild camping skills with Keswick Canoe and Bushcraft. Their courses range from a taster day for children to an overnight wilderness canoe journey.
Hide out with the red squirrels in the hazel thicket at the north of Manesty or make a den in the bracken on the fell.
The flat slate stones around the lakeshore and river could have been designed for skimming – try Abbot’s Bay or Brandelhow or the River Derwent near Hollows Farm.
We’re not often short of rain in Borrowdale, and there are tumble dryers and hot baths for afterwards.
Try Castlerigg Stone Circle for 360 degree views, open fields and a 5000 year old monument – or closer by there’s Catbells Hawse, which is almost always windy!
Minnows can be found in Ellers Beck, the stream running through the field in front of Manesty. There are fishing nets in the laundry.
Come and talk to us about the varieties growing at Manesty.
There’s a great horse chestnut by the road just past the postbox and the entrance to Manesty Woods.
You can often find snow patches higher up the fells long after the snow in the valley has melted.
Try Scalethorns wood just 100m up the road from Manesty, on the left.
Swing, slide, splash and climb your way around the free Wild Play Trail at Whinlatter, or adults and kids over 10, try the high ropes course ‘Go Ape’.
There are brambles in the hedgerows at Manesty.
If the lake’s not too high you can paddle to a small but perfectly formed island in Great Bay. Or you can hire a canoe or sailboat from Lodore landing stage and sail to one of the bigger islands.
Have a look in the pond in Manesty Wood: there’s a little jetty for a good view.
The buddleia at the top of High Seat’s Drive is very popular with butterflies when it’s flowering. Use the fishing nets in the laundry.
You are quite likely to spot deer around Kings How or on Ashness Fell so you can learn the difference between sheep and deer tracks.
Try pond dipping in Manesty Wood; to find the pond follow the wall as soon as you go through the gate by the post box. Nets are in the laundry.
Our tawny owl hunts in the trees behind the cottages and might answer back.
We’re spoilt for choice: how about Castle Crag, Catbells or King’s How… or even Scafell Pike?
You might have to be small to get behind them, but if you take the path from High Lodore up to Watendlath, there are good waterfalls, or you can visit the Lodore Falls (the same beck just lower down) which are in the grounds of the Lodore Falls Hotel.
Try a loop through the woods to the lakeshore and then come back to Manesty through the fields: that way you’ll get three different habitats.
There is good lake swimming in Derwentwater or you can have a dip in the river at the Chinese Bridge on the way to Lodore, or further up the valley try Black Moss Pot or Sour Milk Ghyll for a jacuzzi-like experience.
Groups of 5 or more can build rafts with Plattyplus (at Lodore) and Derwentwater Marina (in Portinscale).
You might need a lesson first! Keswick Canoeing and Bushcraft can teach you and then you can try out your skills on the barbeque.
All the cottages have large scales maps of the area, but you could also try orienteering at Whinlatter Forest Park (77A bus) where there are 5 suggested courses.
The crags and boulders around the Bowder Stone are popular. Keswick Adventure Centre or the Keswick Climbing Wall run classes.
The River Derwent from Grange Bridge to Derwentwater is lovely.
Depending on engineering ambition and the amount of rain we’ve had, you can try damming the trickle behind the cottages, Ellers Beck or even (bits of) the River Derwent at Grange Bridge.
Keswick adventure Centre hosts some incredible abseils in Borrowdale: the most spectacular is 100 feet high at Woden’s Face near the Bowderstone
Manesty Band’s lawn and drive are great for sledging, but you’d have to be quick as the snow usually melts pretty quick. You can always borrow a sledge if the snow takes you by surprise.
Catbells Hawse is the windiest place near Manesty and it’s also surprisingly flat.
And the other 17 things to do…
Print the list by downloading our pdf leaflet.