LIANNE DE MELLO: There’s a wealth of wildlife experiences, even in winter

Great spotted woodpecker PICTURE Charlotte Groswell
Great spotted woodpecker PICTURE Charlotte Groswell

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CHRISTMAS indulgence in turkey, roast potatoes, and pudding can put off a good start to your New Year’s resolutions.

Grab your coat, gloves and woolly hat, pull on your wellies or walking boots and immerse yourselves in the Wildlife Trusts’ brrr-illiant guide to spending time outdoors with nature this festive season.

Walk off that Christmas dinner by grabbing some fresh air on Boxing Day and going on festive wildlife hunt. Who will be the first to hear woodpeckers drumming on trees, see starlings gathering, or spot the unmistakable red berries of a holly tree?

Visit one of our magnificent winter wonderlands like the Lower Test Nature Reserve or Farlington Marshes Nature Reserve where there is so much to see.

Watch the overwintering wildfowl make themselves at home on the Solent in their thousands, after having made the long trip from as far as Siberia.

Play poohsticks with friends or family on a bridge over a river.

Collect a stick for each person of similar size and weight, but they must look different so you can recognise them. Drop sticks on the upstream side of the bridge, turn around to the other side and see whose stick arrives first.

Endless fun for everyone!

Look out for wintry animal tracks and signs – pine cones that have been stripped by hungry squirrels, animal fur caught on fences and footprints in mud, sand or snow.

Take some time out to watch the robins and other garden birds to melt a bit of the stress away.

Help our feathered friends make it through the cold weather by leaving out fresh water (don’t forget to check it isn’t frozen each morning!) and food like homemade fat balls or bird seed.

Though winter is the coldest time of the year, there’s a wealth of wildlife experiences waiting to be had over the festive period.

And it’s an ideal way to spend quality time with your loved ones away from screens.

This is especially the case for children, who can be introduced to a lifetime of pleasure and connection to wild places – you just need to wrap everyone up warm and keep your eyes and ears out.

For more ideas on what to do with the family this Christmas, visit hiwwt.org.uk.