Nature trail ideas: how to make a nature trail

Family in woods looking through binoculars and magnifying glasses
Make the most of summer with a homemade nature trail (Photo: Jill Jennings/WTML)

Create a nature trail in the woods or your local park, or even in your own garden, and then invite your friends over to explore it. You’ll soon turn them all into Nature Detectives too!

Step 1: Plan your route

Planning your trail is half the fun! Arm yourself with a pen and notepad, and perhaps a phone or camera to take some pictures, and hunt for interesting things to include in your trail. Remember to draw a rough map of your route as you go. Here are some ideas:

Yew tree with roots that look like a face
Look out for faces peeping out from the trees (Photo: Danielle Wesley/WTML)

Trees – Look out for any special trees, such as one that has a hollow in the trunk, looks like it has a face, or has interesting bark or leaves. It could also be a tree that stands out because it’s bigger or different from the rest. Use our leaf ID to help you work out what sort of tree it is.

An animal home – It could be a badger sett or a mouse tunnel. Check out our animal homes spotter to help you find them.

Logs or large stones – There are bound to be some minibeasts hiding underneath. You can use our creepy crawly spotter to identify them. Make sure you lift and replace the stone or log carefully so you don’t squash any! Remember, there are lots of stones and logs in the wood so you’ll need to choose one that stands out, and signpost it clearly.

Honeysuckle
Look out for plants like honeysuckle (Photo: WTML)

A flower or a flowering shrub – choose something like a honeysuckle rather than buttercups or daisies – there are loads of them and you’ll make it too easy! Check out our summer flowers ID or summer flowers blog for some ideas.

A clump of flowers that’s visited by lots of butterflies or bees – Do you notice a particular type of butterfly or flying insect that you could ask nature hunters to identify?

A weird and wonderful fungus – remember fungi can be very poisonous so you’ll need to include a warning not to touch them!

Step 2: Design your nature trail

Now you need to draw a proper map of your trail and write some instructions for your nature hunters. Try to include some fascinating facts about the things they’ll see – you can find some by searching our blogs.

Step 3: Create a nature trail quiz or treasure hunt

You can take the excitement up a notch by including some quiz questions or things to do. For example, can they name a tree or flower using a print out of our spotter sheet? Can they bring back a flower or take a picture of an insect they’ve found? How about asking them to measure a tree if there’s a very tall one on your trail?

Step 4: Get ready for your nature hunters

Child holding a magnifying glass over a butterfly spotter sheet
Are you all set for your nature hunters? (Photo: Jill Jennings/WTML)

Make copies of your map, instructions and spotter sheets. Perhaps you could make a little pack for each person, with a pencil and perhaps even a magnifying glass. You could signpost your trail by making arrows with twigs, especially if you have some smaller children taking part. A little prize at the end of the trail always goes down well, or you could make a badge for anyone who’s completed it.

Step 5: Get hunting!

Invite your friends over for a fun-filled day! Don’t forget to pack some drinks and snacks. When you’ve finished, why not challenge them to create a nature trail for you to follow?

We’d love to see some pictures of the things you’ve included in your trail, and your friends following it. Post them on our Facebook page, or on Instagram or Twitter using #NatureDetectives.

Share your nature trail tips

comments powered by Disqus