13, December 2022
Nature is a Gift – Take Time to Enjoy it This Festive Season
Nature is good for mental health, but in winter that fact can be easy to forget. When temperatures plummet in the UK, the default setting is often to stay inside. But the natural world is putting on a spectacular show right now – and in the hectic festive season, it can be a much-needed balm. No matter the time of year, Nature is a gift. Whether you’re surrounded by countryside or need to stroll to the park to catch a glimpse of greenery, here’s why it’s worth wrapping up and getting out there now.
When you don’t have to go to work and it’s freezing outside, it can be tempting to indulge in a cosy lie-in. Drag yourself up and out, though, and you may well have stunning scenery and near silence to yourself. Sunrises are often especially vivid at this time of year, with golden or even orange sunlight illuminating icy cobwebs and casting long shadows. And if it’s been snowing, there’s nothing quite like finding an unspoilt stretch of the white stuff, waiting to be stomped on.
FEED THE BIRDS
Being around birds can actually boost your mental health and the simple act of maintaining a bird table or feeder can be wonderfully rewarding. Enjoy watching a variety of feathered friends fluttering in and out of the all-you-can-eat buffet, and the warmth of knowing you’re helping them survive. One of the most incredible things you can witness from birds are murmurations, when starlings flock to roost at dusk in amazing formation. You can see this magnificent natural phenomenon all over the UK, but it’s especially awe-inspiring at the seaside.
THE BEAUTY OF COLD
Ice might be an inconvenience when it’s covering your windscreen, but close up – and in Nature – it can create incredible patterns. From shimmering frost on the ground through to delicate wisps of hair ice or hoar frost in the woods, ice can be truly beautiful. Look out for sharp icicles hanging from tree branches, or frozen, bead-like droplets on smaller twigs. You may even spot a rare form of ice, like these unusual ribbons on a reservoir in the Peak District.
There’s nothing quite like the clarity of a cold, cloudless night, when stars shine brightly in a black or deep blue sky. If it’s safe to do so, head out into Nature after dark for some wintry stargazing. The best spots are in remote areas, where light pollution is lower than in cities. But in built-up areas, you can still catch constellations and even planets on a clear night. And on rare occasions in rural parts of the UK, you might even be lucky enough to spot the awe-inspiring Northern Lights.