Seven naturally fun activities for families this Autumn

– Great ways to explore the nature and wildlife on our doorstep –

As the russet and golds of Autumn tint the leaves across our wonderful Cambridgeshire countryside, it really is a wonderful time to be outdoors, immersing yourself in nature. 

Here are 7 outdoor adventures to enjoy this change of season – and many can be done at home or in your local green spaces.  Each one has been selected by the New Life on the Old West team and their project partners to entertain and inspire you.

  • Autumn is an ideal time to build a den in the woods as there are lots of fallen leaves and branches to use. Dens make perfect bird watching hides, as well as shelters and basecamps for woodland walks. We’re fortunate that there are so many woodland areas around our county that we can explore such as Doghouse Grove near Wilburton.
  • Now’s the time to make your garden hedgehog friendly by creating suitable hibernation sites such as piles of leaves, logs or a hedgehog house. You could even create a hedgehog highway and provide food/water. There is some great information about hedgehogs on our website.  
  • Become a detective! Spotting the tracks of birds and animals is always exciting but who made the footprints? Making a plaster cast of what you find can help you to identify the creator and solve the mystery! You can paint and varnish the cast and start a collection too. Here’s how to make a plaster cast thanks to the RSPB and here’s a great guide for identifying who left their mark from The Wildlife Trust.
  • If you’d like to do something for your community, why don’t you visit the New Life on the Old West website and join us at a work party? You can help us to dig a pond, plant hedges and trees or sow a wildflower meadow. Everyone is welcome!
  • Why not build a bug hotel? Whilst enjoying your nature walk, collect lots of natural materials such as sticks and twigs, pinecones, and leaves. Place them where they are unlikely to be disturbed to create a unique place to stay for our favourite insects! There are many ways to build a bug hotel: here’s just one idea courtesy of the National Trust.
  • Can you spot the signs of autumn? Visit the NLOW website to download our  ID sheets for hedgerow berries, nuts, and leaves. Keep a record of what you spot and share photos of what you’ve found  on social media using the hashtag #NewLifeOldWest so we can see too!
  • Colourful Autumnal leaves are a great natural resource that can be turned into some stunning artworks. Here are just a few leaf art ideas by The Woodland Trust. We’d love to see your creations so remember to use the #NewLifeOldWest when you share them on social media!

There you have it – seven super ways to have fun together whilst learning more about the flora and fauna found on our doorstep and enjoying time in nature too.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, New Life on the Old West (NLOW) is a three-year programme delivering small-scale habitat improvements across the Cambridgeshire Fens, important strongholds for rare and threatened species. 

If you’d like to become a volunteer doing something as simple as counting wildlife spotted on a monthly walk or supporting community activities, do get in touch via