Creating your own nature trail is a great way to add some extra fun to a family walk. You can do one in your local woods, park, or even in your back garden. Simply follow our top tips for a memorable day out together.

Step 1: plan your route

This activity requires a little forward planning, so you’ll need to visit the area where you’ll be doing your trail to decide on a route. Older children might like get involved in this bit and help plan a trail for younger siblings.   Make a note of the paths you choose and hunt for interesting things to include in your trail. Here are a few things you could look out for:

  • Trees – keep an eye out for special trees, like ones with hollowed trunks or interesting bark. It could be a particularly big tree, or one with unusual leaves like hawthorn.
  • An animal's shelter – see if you can spot  badger sett, bird's nest or mouse tunnel.
  • Logs or large stones – these are ideal for finding minibeasts. Make sure you lift and replace the stone or log carefully to not harm the creatures you find. Pick a log or stone that is very noticeable so you don't miss it on your trail.
  • A flower or flowering shrub – look out for more unusual flowers on your scouting trip, something like honeysuckle is much harder to find than than a daisy or dandelion which will add to the fun. Find out more about woodland flowers.
  • Fungi – check the bases of trees and rotting wood for any toadstools. Don't forget to keep little hands away on your trail, some fungi can be very poisonous.
  • Water features – ponds and streams attract all sorts of wildlife so the are a great addition to a nature trail. Remember to keep a close eye on children around water.
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Step 2: design your nature trail

Draw a map of the trail to help your family find their way round it. Mark on it the things they need to look out for, such as a fallen tree, a patch of wild flowers, or a bridge over a winding stream. You could even add some fun facts about the things they’ll see along the way.

Step 3: prepare for the trail

Make a copy of the map for each member of your family. You could even make a trail pack, including instructions, pencils or a magnifying glass.

If you have some smaller kids on your trail, it might help to make arrows with sticks on the ground for them to follow.

A prize at the end of the trail is a nice way to wrap it up and helps encourage little ones to get to the finish.

Step 4: get going

All that’s left is to follow the trail. Kids will love exploring new spaces and finding the weird and wonderful stops along the way. Bring along a picnic to round off a lovely family day out.

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