Half term days out in the East of England

ENJOY nature s playground this February half-term with the National Trust s Fresh Air Festival . Bring the family and escape to the great outdoors, where you ll get a breath of fresh air and be closer to nature. Celebrating the physical and emotional ben

ENJOY nature's playground this February half-term with the National Trust's 'Fresh Air Festival'.

Bring the family and escape to the great outdoors, where you'll get a breath of fresh air and be closer to nature.

Celebrating the physical and emotional benefits of nature and the outdoors, the Fresh Air Festival has everything from Welly Walks and forest survival skill days to animal tracking and nest box building activities.

Plus, the National Trust has some great open spaces and events for the whole family to enjoy together, and you do not have to go far to discover them.


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Eight in 10 people live in urban areas, but the majority of families are never more than 45 minutes from their nearest National Trust site.

The vast amount of open countryside and dramatic stretches of coastline are all within easy reach and are less polluted than our towns and cities.

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Benefit from the fresher air that rural locations provide, which is essential to our children's health and well-being.

For example, the average Nitrogen dioxide levels, a key indicator of air quality, recorded in Cambridge city centre at Regent's Street during the month of February 2009 were three times higher than those at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve.

So apart from the fun that can be had in the countryside, it's also good for you.

Television naturalist and Wicken Fen Patron, Chris Packham, said: "The National Trust's Fresh Air Festival is designed to encourage families to have a great day out together, exploring the sights and sounds of our countryside.

"The Trust has arranged a programme of activities and events throughout the festival to bring the magic of our countryside alive, which will hopefully generate a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and the wonders of the natural world."

Here are some of the great events and activities to look forward to in the area, all as part of the National Trust's Fresh Air Festival in the East of England:

ESSEX

Hatfield Forest

Nest Box Building Week - Monday 15 to Friday 19 February, 11am - 3pm

Bring along the whole family and build a nest box to take home, to attract birds to nest in your garden. Full instructions given - Not only for DIY enthusiasts!

Suitable for accompanied children. �6 per nest box. No need to book. Car park charge applies.

Welly Walk - Wednesday 17 February, 11am - 3pm (arrive anytime)

See, touch, smell and listen to the Forest in lots of exciting and different ways.

Have a go at welly wanging! Don't forget to wear your wellies!

For families with children six years and under. �3 per child. No need to book. Car park charge applies.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Wicken Fen

Come and Make a Natural Bird Feeder - Monday 15 Tuesday 16 February

Drop in any time between noon and 3pm. �1.75 per feeder.

Arty Party - Wednesday February 17, 10.30am - 12.30pm, or 2 - 4pm

Make some wonderful arty creations.

�4.50, book in advance on 01353 720274.

Messy Monsters - Friday February 19, 10.30am - 12.30pm, or 2 - 4pm

Enjoy some wildlife stories and make a mess in our craft area. �4.50, please book in advance on 01353 720274.

Wimpole Home Farm

Birds and beasties - Tuesday 16 to Thursday 18 February, 11.30am - 3.30pm

Use natural materials to create bug hotels and bird feeders to encourage wildlife to your garden. Farm admission, plus small charge for craft activities.

Peckover House and Garden

Snowdrops and oranges - Weekends in February, noon - 4pm

Enjoy this rare opportunity to see the early spring flowers, from snowdrops to orange trees in blossom.

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