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Winter days out: 7 ideas for your family

Grab your warmest coat, pull on your walking boots and bundle up for an adventure in the woods this winter. Get ready to hear the satisfying crunch of snow beneath your feet, see the beauty of the sparkling frost-covered branches and experience the ethereal stillness that fills the woodland at this time of year.

It’s the perfect opportunity to gather up the family and take in the beauty of the woods at their most magical.

Take a look at our top ideas for family days out this winter.

Bundle up and venture out on a woodland walk with the family this winter (Photo: iStock)
Bundle up and venture out on a woodland walk with the family this winter (Photo: iStock)

Enjoy a winter picnic

Who said picnics were just for when the weather’s warm? A winter picnic is a brilliant accompaniment to a trip to the woods during the chilliest season. Pack some cosy blankets, grab a flask and fill it with hot chocolate, soup or stew, and put together a yummy picnic with lots of delicious warming treats.

Hot food like sausage rolls, pies and jacket potatoes stay warm for longer when wrapped up in foil and then wrapped in tea towels. Make sure you wear lots of layers so you don’t get cold when enjoying your al fresco winter banquet! 

Go stargazing

There is no better time to look to the night skies than during the winter. As it gets darker much earlier, it means even the smallest of family members can experience the wonder of starry skies.

Wrap up warm and take a blanket and hot drink along with you, and stick to areas with little to no artificial light, as this will allow you to see the stars much more clearly. The more remote the wood is, the more chance you have of seeing the stars and planets as there is less light pollution.

Some of our more remote woods include Loch Arkaig, Balmacaan and Glen Sherup.  Download a stargazing app like Star Walk or Google Sky Map to help you easily navigate the starry expanse!

Keep warm on your winter walk

Grab our best-selling rCup coffee cup!

Take part in Tree Charter Day and National Tree Week

Tree Charter Day kicks off the beginning of National Tree Week on 24 November. It’s time for the nation to celebrate trees and all that they bring us. There are lots of activities taking place across the country, including sculpture trails, tree planting events and family days. Find out more on the Tree Charter website.

Track wildlife

Winter is probably the easiest time to track wildlife, as the woods are at their stillest and a sprinkling of snow on the ground means you can spot animal tracks with ease. See if you can find deer hoof prints, fox prints and badger prints as you walk around the woods.

You can also keep a lookout for badger setts and rabbit warrens, and you can even see if you can spot any animal poo! Take our poos and clues swatch book along with you to help you track woodland animals when you’re out and about. 

Ledmore & Midgale is a great wood to visit if you want to see the likes of otter, pine marten and black grouse. There’s even the chance you might come across the elusive Scottish wild cat, as these have been sighted here.

Keep an eye out for deer hoof prints and other animal tracks (Photo: Alamy)
Keep an eye out for deer hoof prints and other animal tracks (Photo: Alamy)

Get crafting for Christmas

Crafty woodland visitors rejoice – winter is a great time for sourcing natural craft materials from the woods. Head on a wintry walk and bring along a bag to collect your craft supplies in.

Hunt for pine cones, conkers, twigs and acorns to take home and have a go at some festive Christmas creations. Just remember to only pick things that have already fallen to ground and don’t take too much – leave some for the wildlife to enjoy. Take a look at our Nature Detectives crafts for some inspiration.

Head to an event

There are countless Woodland Trust events taking place throughout winter, so why not round-up the family and head along to one? Winter is tree-planting season, and there are a whole host of tree-planting events across the UK. It’s a great day out and a brilliant way of giving back to the community.

Or, why not get in the festive spirit and come along to a wassailing adventure at Smithills or Skipton Castle Woods? There’s even a Christmas pantomime walk at Yarner Wood, part of Bovey Valley Woods, which is sure to bring some festive cheer! Take a look at all of our Woodland Trust events.

Have some snowy fun

Of course, one of the best things about visiting the woods in winter is the prospect of snow. While it doesn’t happen often, pick the right time and you could be greeted by snow-capped trees, iridescent icicles and fluttering snowflakes.

Have some fun in the snow and build a snowman, go sledging, make snow angels or have a friendly snowball fight. It’s also the perfect time to get snap happy – woodland looks stunning in the snow, so bring your camera along and capture the memories.

Why not build a snowman when out in the woods? (Photo: iStock)
Why not build a snowman when out in the woods? (Photo: iStock)

You can enjoy the woods as a family all year round. The best way to get the most out of your visits is with our family membership. For just £5 a month, or £60 a year, you’ll get:

  • seasonal activity packs
  • Nature Detectives membership
  • regular copies of our Broadleaf magazine
  • …and lots more besides.

Don't miss out!

Take a look at our Family membership