Experiencing nature is essential for our well being and never, ever gets boring! Our quiet campsite, which is so very quiet now we are in Lockdown, provides a great opportunity for slowing down, switching off and ‘doing nothing’ as we say.
When we choose to ‘do nothing’ we give ourselves the time to pay close attention to our natural surroundings, which are calming, invigorating and so beautiful here in the meadow and within the neighbouring woodland.
To make the most of nature, we like to use all of our senses; touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste.
Here are our favourite ways to engage with the natural world at The Secret Campsite:
It’s easy to find beauty when you observe nature visually, but if you look more closely you might spot something you don’t often notice. Sneak a peek under the reptile mats on site and see if you can spot any slow worms, common lizards basking on top or grass snakes warming up underneath. Look for the colours of flowers in bloom. Notice the reflections on ponds, fluttering butterflies through the long grasses. The way that the breeze catches cobwebs and the rhythm of the wings of different species of bird as they fly overhead. Be curious and study the things you see that you might usually dismiss.
Make yourself at home at your camping pitch. Take your shoes off and feel the cool grass beneath your feet and between your toes. When you’re ready to pop your shoes back on, head out for a walk in the surrounding woodland! With your bare hands touch the different textures of leaves –are they smooth, spiky, furry, waxy?
What about the bark on different trees? The deeply textured bark of old oak trees, the smooth bark of beech or the, papery bark of birch. Have any critters decided to hitch a lift with you? What do they feel like as they scurry across your skin? Slow and deliberate caterpillars, hurried ants and truly unpredictable springy crickets!
When we ‘tune in’ to nature the first thing we hear are usually birds. Waking to the dawn chorus is really special and we love settling down to the sound of owls calling at dusk.
Through the day we often hear woodpeckers laughing (at least that’s what we think their call sounds like) and the spine-tingling call of buzzards circling in the thermals overhead the campsite. Sussex is regarded as one of the best counties to hear Nightingales and we love hearing them on the old railway track.
Look past the dominating vocalisations of birds and think about what else you can hear. Can you hear the insects buzzing and the low hum of passing bumble bees? Can you hear the trickling stream in the woods? Listen further. Hear the long grasses and the leaves of the trees rustle as they are disturbed by a gentle breeze. Natures orchestra never stops playing.
We know that rain isn’t something you might ask for while camping. But don’t you love the pleasant, earthy, sweet smell that comes after rain has fallen on dry ground? This smell is uncommonly called petrichor. Or, maybe the rich scent of pine trees in the evening after they have been baked in the hot sun of a summer day. We love wandering down the old railway track, enjoying honey scented meadow sweet and clouds of gorse fragrance which smell like vanilla and coconut!
We definitely don’t recommend doing a taste test on every plant you see, so stick to the ones you know! There are lots of tasty treats around the campsite at different times of year including blackberries (it’s easy to spot the children that have been feasting on them in late Summer!), apples, bullace, medlar and quince to name a few! Alternatively, head over to the tea garden to try some lemon verbena. We recommend foraging yourself just enough to make a cup of tea back at your pitch.
We love to hear the ways our visitors experience nature and become wilder people while staying at The Secret Campsite. A mentality that we hope you carry home with you!