FLORA AND FAUNA
NEW FOREST WALKING FESTIVAL, HAMPSHIRE
Encouraging younger ones to walk for the sheer pleasure of it is easier when there is something to find. A guide makes it easier still, which is where a festival like this comes in handy: no navigational effort is required, just enthusiasm and sensible footwear. The New Forest is new in name only: what was once a royal hunting ground is now a ramblers’ paradise, dotted liberally with wild ponies, Second World War remains and more secrets besides. The walks are free but need to be booked in advance: there are 70 to choose from, with varying degrees of strenuousness.
BURGHLEY HOUSE, STAMFORD, LINCOLNSHIRE
A great herd of deer bring the glorious parkland to life at Burghley, whose gardens were primped and pruned over a quarter of a century by Lancelot “Capability” Brown. He once said his work at the great Elizabethan estate gave him “25 years of pleasure.” Long may it thrive for contemporary visitors. The parkland is free to visit (so too, is parking, although family entry to the house costs from £46). A 20-minute walk will lead you to picturesque Stamford, which rivals even Bath for its graceful Georgian architecture and fine use of stone.
DOLPHIN SPOTTING, CARDIGAN BAY, WALES
You can’t rely on nature to perform on cue, but you would be unlucky not to spot dolphins in Cardigan Bay, right up until November. New Quay is home to the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, where the volunteer staff can show you how to spot local sea life, including Atlantic grey seals, dolphins and other porpoises. The centre is free to visit but does rely on donations; otherwise you could book a boat trip into the bay from £22.50 per person.