Welcome to the adventure calendar home page. Brought to you especially for December 2020 this is our seasonal gift to each and every family in Cornwall. Of course everyone is welcome to get involved. Please send us your photographs to Cornwall Outdoors, we'd love to display your adventures on our Facebook page.
So here we have a few explanations of our suggested activities. If you are really stuck then go with the spirit of the calendar and just get out there and have a mini-adventure.
Such a simple project that brings us closer to nature. Whether you choose to make your own bird feed or to buy some fat-balls from your local store, feeding the birds is a worthwhile way of starting any adventure this winter.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds RSPB has some expert advice on feeding garden birds.
Day one of the Adventure Calendar. If you're doing them in order then today is about 'Feeding the birds'. Bird feeders and seeded fat-balls are are great way of getting high calories into our feathered friends.
This musical instrument can be found among the long grass of any garden, verge or field.
Pick yourself a healthy blade of grass, hold it straight and square between your thumbs. Between the two joints of the thumb you will see a gap where the grass is exposed. Blow good and hard through this gap and with a little adjustment you should get a wonderful shrill musical note.
Play on the swings, whoosh down the slide or see-saw with a friend. Take a frisbee, a football or just walk the paths for the sheer pleasure of being outside.
So the activities have been pretty easy so far then. How about learning something new today. Identifying trees is still possible, even when all of the leaves have fallen.
Looking for clues to the trees identity can be fun. Have a look around on the ground beneath your chosen tree and look for the most common leaf and seed that has fallen. Also the bark on the tree can be very helpful.
There is a great autumn leaf identification PDF from treetoolsforschools.org.uk
It's safe to say that most people can recognise the moon when they see it. The problem is whether we take it for granted or not. Did you know that the presence of the moon helps the earth maintain a stable climate?
Below we have listed some interesting facts about the moon. As extracted from NASA's Moon page.
We all know that knots are useful but how many can you actually tie yourself?
The classics are the; Bowline, Reef Knot, Overhand and Figure-Eight. But of course these are just a small example of the hundreds of knots available. There are also Hitches and Bends which have their own special applications. Learning a new knot, hitch or bend will be a worthwhile mini-adventure.
Try this handy British Mountaineering Council Download on knot tying.
The mushrooms and toadstools we see are only a tiny part of the whole fungus. These are actually the fruiting part that lives above ground. The vast majority of a fungus lives out of sight, beneath the soil or in rotting wood.
Autumn and very early winter are a good time to go out and find mushrooms. It's best if you can get out before the first frosts but these are such a diverse kingdom that you should be able to find an exotic mushroom at any time of the year.
The Woodland Trust have a great page on mushroom identification. We'd be really interested to see your examples of mushrooms that you've found across Cornwall.
At first glance, there's not much to say about this one. Scratch the surface and Going for a walk can become your vehicle for adventure.
There are footpaths and bridleways throughout our wonderful and diverse county. Leaving the pavement and drifting onto one of our thousands of miles of marked footpaths should bring you any number of mini-adventures. Try and find a footpath that you've never used before or get a short distance away from your local area and find the South West Coast Path. It will provide so many wonderful views, often never seen from the road or beach.
You'll probably need to wait for a blue-sky day with fluffy white clouds for this one.
Bring a blanket to lay down on, or find a bench that gives you an unobscured view and look up to the sky. Let the clouds drift across your view, tune in to your imagination and wait for those puffy white clouds to award you with your very own animal in the clouds.
If you find clouds interesting then pop over to the Metoffice for their very own cloud spotting guide.
We know that the planets are out there but rarely do we know how to tell them apart from the stars.
At the moment Mars is in a period where it is just moving away from being the closest to the Earth that it will for another 18 months. This makes it very bright and slightly red in the sky at night. You can see Mars with the naked eye however if you have binoculars then you should be able to get an even better view.
The best time to see it through December 2020 is between 7pm and midnight, high up in the southern sky. For a real experts advice have a look at the Sky at night magazine page - How to observe Mars
The spring dawn-chorus is still several months away but that doesn't mean that the birds have stopped singing.
If you've been feeding the birds regularly in your garden since the 1st December then you may already have started to notice the extra chirrups and chirps echoing from the trees and bushes near your feeding area. If you stop to listen you will be able to note recurring sounds of specific birds.
It doesn't matter if you never find the bird that is singing, to stop and listen is enough to bring a cheer to the soul. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds RSPB provides some good resources to help in your search: RSPB bird-songs.
Painting a stone, pebble or rock is itself fun. Turning your artwork into a gift for a friend, or to place it along one of your favourite walks for others to find turns it into a whole new pastime. This side of stone painting is often referred to as painting a 'Kindness Rock'.
If you need a bit of a hint on how to go about creating your rock-art then the Scouts have produced a guide to Kindness Rocks.
Trees breathe in Carbon Dioxide and breathe out Oxygen for us, they cleanse the air, of unwanted particles, they soak up gallons of water, they provide natural barriers to sound and they provide a very important environment for our wildlife.
Trees do a good job of producing seeds each year to ensure that they continue to work for the environment however so many of them never get to grow into a tree. You can help them by giving an acorn a better chance of survival by burying them deeper into the undergrowth.
If you want to investigate the best opportunity for your young oak before planting in the wild then visit: The Royal Horticultrual Society RHS guide on how to grow an oak from an Acorn.
This one is for the creative adventurers out there. Create a parachute or other egg-citing structure that will protect an egg from smashing if it is dropped from a first floor window.
You should try and limit your resources to the bare minimum to maintain the egg-citement. Better still, do this project with others and see who can come up with the most successful design.
If you want suggestions on what to use, try:
If you want more ideas visit: Egg Drop Parachute
Mature Holly Trees can grow up to 15m and live for 300 years. The bark is smooth and thin with lots of small, brown 'warts', and the stems are dark brown. The Holly Tree will retain it's leaves throughout the year, usually a brighter green in the summer months, that darken as winter sets in.
You can also look out for their bright red berries nestled among the dark glossy leaves, usually but not always with spiny prickles on the edges.
If you're the type to get up in the morning and have a cup of tea before school. Or if you always have a hot-chocolate last thing at night before bed, then make sure that at least one day this month you take it outside. Have some fresh air with that brew!
For the adventurous among you, take a flask to the park, sit on a river bank or watch the waves roll at your favourite beach. It's all about getting outside.
Finding a feather doesn't necessarily mean that a bird has met it's demise. Did you know that birds moult their feathers to prepare themselves for the changing seasons?
Looking for feathers may be an arduous task if you're looking in the wrong areas. Beaches often provide plenty of random feathers that are easy to spot and if inland look for a copse or wooded area that would be a natural habitat for wildlife. A short hunt around should bring you good fortune.
For a further explanation of why we find random feathers visit the RSPB page called: New feathers please
It's that simple everyone. Get out in the garden, woods or beach and use whatever you find on the ground to produce a work of art with natures gifts.
It could be a twig sculpture, a mosaic of leaves, a crown of ivy, a seaweed mermaid or whatever takes your imagination. Don't forget to take a photo to share back with us
Quite a tough one, but very rewarding when it happens. It is important to be safe here at all times as water, especially cold water is dangerous to us humans.
Spotting fish is best achieved with clear shallow water, although even silt-laden water can provide the tell-tale signs of fish through ripples and bubbles on the surface. If you are lucky you may even see a fish jump clear out of the water.
It is also best to stop and wait for a time, as your arrival at the stream or pond will no doubt have been spotted by the very fish you came to watch. Also, stay still, as any sudden movement from you the observer, will most definitely keep the fish shy from your gaze.
Countryfile have put together some handy hints on how to spot fish
Let nature come and find you over a picnic. Sit down in a beautiful environment and enjoy the company of your family or a few friends. The fact that it is December should not stop you from grabbing some lunch in the wilds.
Find a good spot, get some shelter from the wind, pull out the lunchboxes and relax over a sandwich and cake.
There is extensive research that shows, just being outside and among nature for ten minutes a day can have enormous health and wellbeing benefits. Visit this web page for more information on how nature affects our wellbeing
This project can be as simple or as complex as you would like it it be. It may be that you'd like to build a compost heap that attracts insects and bugs or that you would like to build a bat, bird or hedgehog shelter. The project is all yours.
The wild creatures that live close by will be attracted to your wildlife home if it is the right structure, in the right place. For some handy hints from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust on creating a home for wildlife, visit their Home for wildlife page.
Maps come in many guises, from road maps and leisure maps, through to GPS maps. Therefore you can choose to go for a walk, ride a bike or even go on a car journey to tick this one off. You may even choose to draw your own map of a journey you take yourself. Whatever you do, try and use a map.
If you don't own a map of your area then the Ordnance Survey online service allow you to purchase, download or print a map of your area quite easily. They also have some very useful beginners guides on map reading.
Skimming stones is an ancient pastime that for some reason never gets tiresome. 'Just one more skim' is often heard muttered by anyone undertaking this noble art.
For some, the ability to get it right can be frustrating but once learned it will never be forgotten.
The original navigation star for the Northern hemisphere, the North Star can be readily found by just about anyone with the use of the star constellation The Plough.
The Plough, often referred to as the big-dipper looks like a big spoon in the northern sky. Depending on the time of night this constellation may be either slightly West, below, above or East of the North Star but the important feature is that the last two stars (spoon end) of The Plough will always point to the North Star. Just follow up from the last two stars by an approximate distance of five lengths of those last two stars and you will see The North Star.
If this explanation still doesn't make sense then visit The Natural Navigator web page on How to navigate using the Stars.
Notable by their distinctive red breast and their musical song, Robins can be seen all year round in the UK. You will be able to spot them in parks, woodland and in hedgerows just about anywhere.
If you are lucky then your garden or allotment may also be an attractive residence for a Robin to visit, particularly if you have been regularly putting out food for wild birds throughout the autumn and winter.
Countryfile have put together a web page on Robins, their lifestyles and how to attract them.
If you've been working through the adventure calendar then the chance that you have already visited the woods in your local area is high.
Perhaps it's time that you ventured further afield. The Woodland Trust have put together an interactive map on where to find open-access woods throughout the UK. Visit Find a Wood by the Woodland Trust, enter your town into the search box and see if there are any new woods that you can visit.
A game that can be played with any number of people. All you need is; a stick for each player, a narrow stream with moving water and a start/end point that everyone can agree to. With Winnie-the-Pooh the start and end point is a bridge but the game is just as easily played along a narrow stream.
Throw your sticks into the stream at the same time and watch as they get picked up by the flow, bobbing and bouncing their way towards the finish line. The winner is the owner of the stick that gets to the finish line first. Don't worry if you lose your stick, just go and find another one and play the game all over again.
Watch the following video if you need to see Winnie playing Pooh Sticks
This is a great way to spend an hour, and made all the more riveting when using rounded pebbles.
It really doesn't have to be anything larger than a pebble. Pebbles will give you as much sport as any other stone, and are easier to find in and around your garden. You can also do this activity indoors if the weather won't allow you to easily get out.
Select an assortment of 5 or 6 pebbles of your choosing and see how many you can get to stand un-aided. If you can achieve more than five then you are doing very well. If you have chosen to do this activity away from the home please remember to return any stones you have used to their original resting place.
Geo-caching does require a mobile device with GPS technology but apart from that it's free and anyone can do it.
It's like a treasure hunt with maps, with something real to find at the end of your hunt. Give it a go, it's real fun!
For the complete low-down visit Geo-caching UK for everything you need to know.
Cornwall was once the worlds' epicentre for deep mining technology and we went on to export our skills and our associated mining town-names throughout the world.
We now live among the architecture of this industrial age and it has become a lasting symbol of our Cornish heritage. Take yourself on a trip to visit one of these wonderful structures and think back to the times when they were alive with engines, smoke, steam and noise.
Please be aware of the associated dangers of mining and keep yourselves safe at all times. If you are looking for a guide on how to find the best examples of our mining heritage cast your eye on this map of Cornwall and Devon mines
Standing on a hilltop is of course only the mid-point of your adventure. You have to; 1. Get there and 2. Get back. So choose your hill wisely to make sure that the view is worth the effort.
We are blessed with plenty of hills in Cornwall. We have the famous Brown Willy, Rough Tor, St Agnes Head and Kit Hill among many others. It doesn't have to be one of these four examples though, it can be any hill of your choosing.
Make sure that you take the right clothing for the weather, a drink, some food and most certainly a friend or two to enjoy the view with. If you need to do any reading before your final adventure of the month then we have found these tips for how to walk uphill