The autumn is a wonderful time to go walking as a family. The changing season brings with it beautiful colours, the joy of walking through leaves and the pleasure of seeing your breath in the air. Then, after such a lovely walk, what better than to relax around a roaring fire and a large meal in a local pub.
If all of this sounds like an ideal day out, then read on to discover our top tips for getting the most of your family day walks.
Plan your route carefully
Choosing your route is important. It needs to be a suitable length, something that is easily do-able for the smallest, and youngest member of your group. Plan a route that will go past some points of interest to all of your group. What might you walk past that would be of interest? Perhaps it would be an old building, a National Trust property or even some interesting natural sights – such as an arboretum. Having interesting sights or places to visit on the walk helps to break it up, distract younger members who might be getting bored and, of course, give you something interesting to talk about.
You can find out which National Trust or Historic England properties are near you using the links below:
Take warm and waterproof clothing
The weather in the autumn is likely to be cold and, more often than not, wet. No matter what the forecast looks like in the morning, you can almost be certain that it will change by lunchtime! Warm clothes and waterproofs are always a good idea, even more so if you have little ones who enjoy jumping in puddles! For this reason, it is always best to pack at least a waterproof jacket for everyone. Ideally, you should also pack waterproof trousers for all, just in case the weather really comes in. It is also a good idea to pack spare warm clothes, such as a jumper or fleece for each member of the party.
The Met Office app can help you with planning what to wear for a walk. Find out more about this app for Android and iOS here.
Take something to eat
All of us can unexpectedly find ourselves hungry in the middle of a walk, and children are particularly prone to hunger pangs. This is why it is a good reason to pack some energy-boosting foods. Although it might be tempting to pack the backpack full of sweets to restore energy these can have the opposite effect. While sweets can be great for temporarily boosting energy and concentration, the body soon burns off the energy they provide, throwing the body into a cycle of sugar highs and lows.
Some better sources of fuel to take with you on a family walk are things such as trail mix, bananas, and sandwiches.
How to make trail mix
Rather than buying expensive specialty trail mix it is better to make your own. Simply buy nuts, such as almonds, pecans or walnuts, mix them with pumpkin seeds and dried fruits such as apples, bananas or cherries. Mix the whole lot together and then throw it in a food-grade zip lock bag to take out on your walk.
Make the walk loads of fun
As well as having loads of great things to see on your walk, it can be a good idea to throw in a few fun activities. One of the best treats on a family walk is brewing up a hot chocolate on a wood-burning stove halfway through the walk. Not only is this much more fun than simply pouring it out of a flask, getting the children to search for wood to use as fuel while on the walk can be great fun for them.
Finding dead, dry wood
The best fuel for a wood-burning stove is dead, dry wood. The easiest way to see if the wood you have found is suitable is to break the small twigs and branches that you have collected. If they break cleanly with a ‘snap’ they are good to use. If they bend or don’t break easily then the wood is likely to be wet.
Play games while you walk
Other fun games could involve making the walk into a treasure hunt for the children. Can they find things such as acorns, pinecones or certain leaves? If a treasure hunt isn’t suitable then what about letting them take pictures on your mobile and having a picture competition at the end of the walk?
Having a hot drink on route
There’s nothing better on a family walk in the autumn than stopping halfway through for a hot drink. It’s a lot more fun and entertaining to brew up a hot chocolate on a wood-fuelled stove than it is to pour it out of a flask.
Choosing a wood-burning stove
When choosing a wood-burning stove to take on family day walks, you will want to choose one that is light enough to carry but also hardy and powerful enough to use on extended camping trips – after all, you want to get the most out of it. For that reason, we recommend that Wild Woodgas Stove MKIIand the Bushbuddy. These stoves are light enough to carry with you while also powerful enough to be used for summer camping trips. Read on to learn more about these fantastic stoves.
Wild Woodgas Stove MKII
This lightweight, clean-burning stove is one of our most popular. It burns wood more cleanly than any open fire, needing only a handful of twigs to provide a steady cooking flame. In fact, it can burn for 1.5 hours from a single charge of wood pellets! It can also be used with fuels such as Meths in a Trangia-style burner, or FireDragon blocks. Weighing it at only 280 grammes and capable of boiling a litre of water in around five minutes, the Wild Woodgas Stove MKII is the perfect accompaniment to family walks.
The famous Bushbuddy Stove was designed many years ago in Canada. Described as the Rolls Royce of stoves, the maker of the original Bushbuddy Stove passed down his knowledge to a select group of Alaskan craftsmen. Giving a clean, intense burn and weighing in at only 171 grammes the Bushbuddy Stove is the ideal hiking companion for family day walks or longer, multi-day backpacking trips.