We all love waterfalls, young and old! And rainy days are the best for waterfalls! A river or stream that might normally be a trickle, can be a torrent of water in wet weather.
I always end up getting soaked by the spray but that’s part of the fun – so don’t forget a waterproof jacket! Just hold on to the little ones close to the water. There are famous waterfalls across the UK, including High Force, Co Durham; Steall Falls, Glen Nevis; Glenoe Waterfall, County Antrim; Becky Falls, Dartmoor. But why not find one local to you? Check out your OS Map or app as waterfalls are clearly marked. Plus, finding your own private waterfall is extra special!
Wet woodlands are now some of our least common wooded habitats. Most have been lost by draining and clearing and much of the wet woodlands remaining are now protected reserves. These woods occur on soil that is often or seasonally wet, so you’ll find trees such as willow alder and birch and sedges, mosses and ferns below. They are home to many rare species of animals and bugs. Visiting on a rainy day means you’ll see these woods in their element. Many of the charities and reserves have installed walkways in these woods to allow access to all.
Pre-school and primary school age children will absolutely love this afternoon of creativity outdoors. Playing in the rain can be so much fun and even better if you can redirect the water using pipes and tubes. So find some off-cuts of old drainpipe and link them together with old bits of hosepipe and buckets to see how far you can get the rain water to travel across your garden. Why not dig out the summer paddling pool as well and see how much water you can collect.
There are thousands of miles of canals throughout the UK.
During the wet autumn and winter months you can guarantee that they will be a little easier underfoot than a lot of other trails that may cross the countryside. They are suitable for all the family, and there's usually a nice pub where you can stop for lunch and warm up.
It's good to see how nature changes over the seasons, the colours of the trees and birds. Why not buy a nature or wildlife book to see what you can spot along the way? Plus it's always nice to see barges floating past and take in the relaxed vibe.
It's important to get outside all year, and although this is something that might take little planning, it ticks all the adventure boxes.
Pull your wellies on and simply find mud, sand or snow to plod through and puddles to splash in. Make and leave footprints and tracks for others to find and follow. Take photos of your different sized family footprints next to each other and look for prints/tracks made by animals. Or, just put wellies and waterproofs on for a rainy day scavenger hunt. A flask of hot chocolate and biscuits are necessities to pack for a treat alogn the way.
Everyone loves a scavenger hunt and the ways to create one are endless! A favourite of ours involves coming up with a word of about 8-12 letters in length. Send your family members out to hunt for objects using the first letter of your chosen word. Then the second, third and so on. Make the word seasonal or topical, like 'CHRISTMAS' and the objects could include Chalk, Hair, Root etc. For a younger family, why not do it in themed fancy dress such as Pirates or a favourite film.
As the days draw in we might need a little more motivation to get outside. Discovering lost ways gives us that purpose to get out whatever the weather.
All you need is your outdoor apparel (so you can get out in rain or shine), a map and access to a computer when you get home. To find lost ways you need to head out along your local routes and see if they are on your OS Map, checking if they are recorded correctly on the OS Map key. If it isn't, or is missing completely, when you return home you should head over to The Ramblers or British Horse Society websites to find out more on how to save your lost way.
Be inspired to do more and go further by equipping yourself with the best tools for the job. Our maps are built on 220 years of experience - we keep walkers, runners, cyclists and more safe in the great outdoors all year round.
Available from local outdoors retailers, bookshops and our online OS shop.Go to the OS shop