The 50 ultimate British locations for tree climbing & beyond

To celebrate the launch of its 2013 list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ the National Trust has identified the best places around the UK for outdoor adventures, including the greatest tree to climb.

The UK's Best Tree For Climbing

In a bid to help children reconnect with nature, the charity asked more than 1,700 kids to vote on their top outdoor activities and reasons why, and then set about finding the ultimate places where they could be enjoyed.

Over half of the children questioned (63 per cent) chose tree climbing, den building and bike riding as the top three activities, with half (51 per cent) agreeing that tree climbing was one of their favourite activities as it is the most challenging.

Off the back of the study the National Trust chose the 45 foot high Nootka Cypress evergreen at Wallington, Northumberland, for tree climbing, after agreeing that its trunk height and branches made it ideal for mini adventurers. Other favourites on the list were going on a really long bike ride at Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire, and building your own den at Lyme Park, in Cheshire.

National Trust finds best UK spots for kids' favourite adventure

Following last year’s success, the list of 50 outdoors adventures from National Trust staff has been updated for 2013. Fifteen new experiences were suggested by children across the country over the 2012 summer holidays, including star gazing and daisy chain making. Over 40,000 kids signed up to the initiative in its launch last year.

The top ten activities and best places in the UK to experience them are:

1. Go on a really long bike ride – Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

2. Build a den – Lyme Park’s woodland, Cheshire

3. Climb a tree – Wallington’s ‘the tree climbing tree’, Northumberland

4. Cook on a campfire – Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

5. Hunt for fossils and bones – Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex

6. Discover what’s in a pond – Florence Court, County Fermanagh

7. Track wild animals – Castle Drogo, Devon

8. Hold a scary beast – Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

9. Go birdwatching – Kingston Lacey, Dorset

10. Go on a walk barefoot – Strumble Head to Cardigan, Pembrokeshire

Den building (73 per cent) was voted the most fun and exciting activity by under 12s, and over half (60 per cent) of children chose bike riding because they could do it with their family. Nearly all parents (96 per cent) agreed these activities helped to strengthen their child’s relationship with the natural world.

Four out of five (80 per cent) parents said they’d like to see their children get outdoors and tackle activities such as tree climbing more. The research also revealed that adults share the same love of outdoor adventures as children, with parents also choosing long bike rides (33 per cent), den building (24 per cent) and tree climbing (15 per cent) as the activities they most enjoyed as a child.

However, four in five (83 per cent) parents reported that their child spends less time playing outdoors than they did at their age, with almost three quarters (73 per cent) blaming the rise in technology as the main obstacle for boys and over a third (71 per cent) claiming concerns over safety prevents girls from enjoying the great outdoors. Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of parents agree that active adventures, such as tree climbing, are the best way to get their children playing outside.

National Trust finds nation's best den building spot

Jessica Swales, National Trust Kids Council member and tree climbing ambassador (aged 8), commented: “I have completed every activity from the 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ list and tree climbing is my favourite thing to do outdoors, so I’m really glad other children really like it too. I love playing outside and climbing this big tree at Wallington with my friends was great fun. I can’t wait to get outside and start ticking off the new 50 things list!”

Andrew Hunt, Head Gardener at the National Trust’s Kingston Lacey, best for birdwatching commented: “We are passionate about getting children outdoors and we want to encourage kids everywhere to play outside and connect with nature, so we’re thrilled at how many under 12s have been engaging with the 50 things initiative. This inspired us to source the nation’s best tree to climb and place for bird-watching, and we hope our new list and ‘best of’ recommendations across the country will encourage even more kids to get into the wild this year.”

To help kids tick off their list, over the summer the National Trust has over 7,000 50-things-inspired activities taking place around the UK, with hundreds of events happening over this bank holiday weekend

The 50 things to Do before you’re 11¾:

1. Climb a tree – Wallington, Northumberland

2. Roll down a really big hill – Croome, Midlands

3. Camp out in the wild – Gibside, Yorkshire

4. Build a den – Lyme Park, Stockport

5. Skim a stone – Fell Foot Park, Cumbria

6. Run around in the rain – Finch Foundry, Dartmoor

7. Fly a kite – Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

8. Catch a fish with a net – Parke, Dartmoor

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree – Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion Coast

10. Play conkers – Osterley Park and House, London

11. Go on a really long bike ride – Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

12. Make a trail with sticks – Longshaw and Eastern Moors, Peak District

13. Make a mud pie – Moseley Old Hall, Staffordshire

14. Dam a stream – Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath

15. Play in the snow – Bodiam Castle, East SussexWinchelsea Countryside

16. Make a daisy chain – Lacock Abbey, North Wiltshire

17. Set up a snail race – Lyveden New Bield, Midlands

18. Create some wild art – Sheringham Park, Norfolk

19. Play Pooh sticks – Mottisfont, Hampshire

20. Jump over waves – Compton Bay and Downs, Isle of Wight

21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild – Castle Ward, County Down

22. Explore inside a tree – Hatfield Forest, Essex

23. Visit a farm – Cuckmere Valley, South Downs

24. Go on a walk barefoot – Strumble Head to Cardigan, Pembrokeshire

25. Make a grass trumpet – Hare Hill, Cheshire & Wirral Countryside

26. Hunt for fossils and bones – Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, South Downs

27. Go star gazing – Tyntesfield, Bristol

28. Climb a huge hill – Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

29. Explore a cave – Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire

30. Hold a scary beast – Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

31. Hunt for bugs – Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire Countryside

32. Find some frogspawn – Springhill, Mid Ulster

33. Catch a falling leaf – Rowallane Garden, County Down

34. Track wild animals – Castle Drogo, Devon

35. Discover what’s in a pond – Florence Court, County Fermanagh

36. Make a home for a wild animal – Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Yorkshire

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool – South Milton Sands, Devon

38. Bring up a butterfly – Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridge

39. Catch a crab – Plas Newydd, Wales

40. Go on a nature walk at night – Nostell Priory and Parkland, Yorkshire

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it – Tredegar House, South East Wales

42. Go swimming in the sea – Llyn peninsula, Llyn Wales

43. Build a raft – Borrowdale, North Lakes

44. Go bird watching – Kingston Lacy, West Dorset

45. Find your way with a map and compass – Chartwell, Kent

46. Try rock climbing – Brimham Rocks, Harrogate

47. Cook on a campfire – Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

48. Learn to ride a horse – Clandon Park, London

49. Find a geocache – Sizergh, South East Cumbria

50. Canoe down a river – Brancaster Millennium Activity Centre, Norfolk Coast

This summer sees the premiere of an exciting new documentary film, ‘Project Wild Thing’.

The film looks at how and why children lost touch with nature through the eyes of film maker David Bond and his kids. He seeks to find out more about why this matters and what can be done to reverse the trend that has happened in just one generation. On the back of the film The Wild Network will launch a campaign in June to begin the process of reconnecting kids with the nature on their doorstep and bring together an even wider range of partners to tackle this issue.

Watch the lovely film’s trailer:

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