We all know that being outside promotes wellness.  Not only does it boost our energy, it stimulates creativity and imagination, builds confidence and best of all, it gets kids moving.  But did you know that scientific studies prove that is also good for your vision, that sunlight can help mitigate pain, the natural dose of Vitamin C boosts your immune system and being ‘at-one-with-nature’ can even restore focus?

The science-y bit: In early 1980, a Harvard University biologist by the name of Edward O. Wilson presented the theory that humans are instinctively drawn towards natural surroundings, a theory he called Biophilia.  This sparked a national panic about kids spending altogether too much time indoors, so much so it has even been given a name: Nature Deficit Disorder.  But surely that’s just indicative of the time? Nintendo Switches, Pokemon GO!s, GTA, WOW, the list goes on!  That’s all fine in moderation but sometimes it’s hard to get outside and ‘just be’ when there is always something to do or the weather just isn’t playing ball.

If you look out of your window right now is it sunny? Grey? Raining? We won’t let that stop us!

Come rain or shine, living in this country means we can pop up an umbrella and don our wellies at a moments notice, as well as dust off the bottle of sun cream sitting forlornly on top of the medicine cabinet and rock our designer sunglasses at the first sign of a sunny spell. We don’t think there is any place better to brave the elements than right here at South Winchester Lodges.

Let us explain why: we, like many beautiful destinations here in the UK, have Wi-Fi, flat screens, fine dining, private hot tubs and a busy theatre, but we are also surrounded by nature. We have it in abundance. Nature in the form of idyllic woodlands, sprawling countryside and conservation at its best. Winchester boasts a plethora of invertebrates, mammals, marine life, wildflowers, rushes and even some impressive fungi! All you have to do is look.

We love all things Nature. We think it recharges our batteries, feeds young minds and teaches us about the little things that so often go unappreciated. A very wise little bear once said that “sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart” – from a little ladybird to a drop of dew, to the rare discovery of a four-leaf clover. One of the best places to see nature up close is the South Downs (right on our doorstep!). Whether you prefer walking or cycling there are so many trails to choose from, just be sure to meander gently so you can see the varieties of wildlife along the way. If you look through the grasses, you might just spot the odd rabbit or fallow deer rummaging in the undergrowth.

Have you ever been hiking? You don’t need a tall stick reminiscent of Gandalf’s staff to navigate the hills (though let’s face it, that would be so cool!), you don’t even need hiking boots. Just some comfy trainers and a warm (preferably waterproof) jacket and you are all set. The hiking trail along the River Itchen is truly spectacular. The inviting waters are clear enough to see the silt and alluvium swaying on the riverbed and if you look through the rays of light piercing the water you can see the trout swimming lazily.  It’s almost tadpole season, what kid doesn’t love spotting those! The edges are filled with some of the most resplendent flora and fauna our beautiful countryside has to offer; it really is worth seeing.  Did you know that the walking routes along the river are deemed an SSSI (that’s Site of Special Scientific Interest by the way)? See if you can spot a water vole, heron or kingfisher along the way.  You could even stop by the observation site and watch the otters’ playful antics through special underwater cameras.

If conservation is more your thing, why not visit Hensting Alpacas just a few miles away, or even Marwell Zoo.  These sites are bursting with nature ready to be explored and are home to some of the more interactive wonders of the natural world. Marwell has 100s of different species of animals across 140-acres of parkland. There are daily talks, animal feedings and a chance to learn about indigenous as well as wild species – though, alas, we take no responsibility for your little ones wanting to take one home with them!

Want to know the best thing of all when it comes to reconnecting with our natural world?  Our lodges are set in the very heart of nature itself – Norwegian Log Cabins surround our private putting green and ancient woodlands. These woodlands just happen to be home to a huge array of wildlife, fairy trails, trees, wildflowers and more hidden natural gems than you can shake a stick at! You can even bring your trusty 4 pawed companions to help sniff out a new adventure!

So when the great outdoors seems inviting but a little too big and you are not sure where to start, you can stay with us and take bite sized pieces to reacquaint you and your family with nature.  See you this February half term – we can’t wait to welcome you!