Guest Blog: Can you identify a Kingfisher?

Can you identify a Kingfisher? If so, you’re one of few Brits who can 

In a survey* carried out by holiday expert Camping in the Forest, figures reveal what we’ve all long suspected – we’re a nation of nature ignorant and ‘beWILDered Brits’.

According to the Guardian**, a hundred years ago only two out of 10 people lived in urban areas. Today, more than half of us have chosen a life in the city meaning more people than ever are detached from our country’s wildlife. Camping in the Forest’s research shows that almost half of those surveyed couldn’t even identify a Kingfisher.


Then again, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. One in 10 of us admit to only leaving the city to relish in the countryside once every six months, and of those that do, 63% head straight to the same place. That’s right, the pub.

Alongside Camping in the Forest, wildlife expert Chris Packham and integrative psychotherapist Hilda Burke have been working on educating the masses to get us out of our towns and cities, appreciating the great outdoors more than we currently are. After all, spending time in the countryside can benefit us a great deal in more ways than you might think.

Hilda Burke explains: “Spending an ever-increasing amount of our time indoors rather than getting outside and back to nature is having an adverse effect on our wellbeing.

“Constant exposure to the familiar, causes our brains to become lazy. So by getting out into fresh and unfamiliar landscapes, we experience new things and ultimately exercise our brains. This benefits our eyesight in a similar way. By allowing our eyes to adjust from a narrow field of vision (let’s face it, in most cities you can’t see more than a couple hundred metres in front of you without a man-made object in the way), to a broader one out in the open, we’re giving our eyes a healthy workout.”

Chris Packham, who also feels strongly about the campaign adds: “Camping in the Forest’s survey found an amazingly large number of people couldn’t identify the most common of UK species, including a kingfisher, buzzard or even an oak tree! How can we look after our wildlife when we don’t even recognise it?

“A lack of nature is incredibly unhealthy: being in and around leaves and trees is the natural state of our world. It’s home. It’s in our blood and in our genes. Yet, despite knowing it’s good for us, we’re avoiding rural areas because we say we either don’t have the time or that we’re averse to the lack of shopping and public transport. We’ve got to stop neglecting both our countryside and our own wellbeing.”

There is no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with family and friends on a camping trip. And now is the perfect time. Come rain or shine the memories that are made on these trips will last a lifetime.

Camping in the Forest has 16 campsites across the UK, and with all sites on Forestry Commissioned land you are bound to see some nature delights, from wild roaming ponies in the New Forest, to Ospreys and Red Squirrels in Scotland.

So, whether you’ve got all the gear or have no idea, it’s definitely time to head out to the countryside and reconnect with the natural world.


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