Feel like you're flying in the wind: National Trust launches 50 Things to do Before You're 11¾

By Culture24 Reporter | 16 April 2012
A photo of a group of people dressed in adventure clothing in a field under a blue sky
The Elite Rangers prepare to spring into action© National Trust
“My top tips for bug hunting are to look for places where bugs like to hide,” reveals Laura Broadhurst, a 31-year-old from Bromsgrove known as The Bug Catcher.

“Under rocks, in the mud, in the bark of fallen trees. Remember you are a giant compared to these little beasts, so be gentle – take a look before you touch.

“You might be having too much fun to want to go home, but bugs like where they live. Make sure you put them back.”

Broadhurst is one of five “Elite Rangers” – the others include “Tree-Man” Des Cotton, from York, and “Den Boy” Andrew Hunt, from Dorset – who will take to the mean greens of England this summer under a new National Trust campaign, 50 Things to do Before You’re 11¾.

Aimed at encouraging horizontally-inclined kids to skim stones, fly kites and make mud pies with the help of a handy checklist, the scheme will be overseen by this quintet of supple superheroes.

Cotton is a 38-year-old tree-climbing expert who has conquered 50-metre trees with his 6ft 3” frame, and Hunt has outdoor hideaway-building championship victories to his name.

They stand alongside Captain Skim, a 49-year-old northerner who goes by the name of Mark Astley when he’s not sending pebbles hopping across streams, and Midas, a Norwich chap adroit at treasure hunting.

“They are a fantastic bunch,” says Tony Berry of the Trust, which will be offering free entry to more than 200 of its beautiful sites when the project launches this weekend (April 21-22).

“They have bags of enthusiasm for the outdoors and what it can offer kids. We’re hoping that the nation’s children will embrace the 50 things and start having their very own outdoor adventures with their family.

“The Free Weekend is the perfect opportunity to get outside in the fresh air.”

The 50 Things to Do Before you're 11¾:

1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Camp out in the wild
4. Build a den
5. Skim a stone
6. Run around in the rain
7. Fly a kite
8. Catch a fish with a net
9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
10. Play conkers
11. Throw some snow
12. Hunt for treasure on the beach
13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Go sledging
16. Bury someone in the sand
17. Set up a snail race
18. Balance on a fallen tree
19. Swing on a rope swing
20. Make a mud slide
21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild
22. Take a look inside a tree
23. Visit an island
24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind
25. Make a grass trumpet
26. Hunt for fossils and bones
27. Watch the sun wake up
28. Climb a huge hill
29. Get behind a waterfall
30. Feed a bird from your hand
31. Hunt for bugs
32. Find some frogspawn
33. Catch a butterfly in a net
34. Track wild animals
35. Discover what’s in a pond
36. Call an owl
37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
38. Bring up a butterfly
39. Catch a crab
40. Go on a nature walk at night
41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
42. Go wild swimming
43. Go rafting
44. Light a fire without matches
45. Find your way with a map and compass
46. Try bouldering
47. Cook on a campfire
48. Try abseiling
49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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