On a sunny summer weekend, Riverlution by RSC teamed up with Sheffield-based charity Mums in Need to mark the Great Big Green Week with a fun, family nature trail and wellbeing walk exploring the exciting urban green and blue spaces waiting for us in the south-west corner of our city.
The walk, which meandered through the shaded pathways of Ecclesall Woods and looped back along the River Sheaf at Millhouses Park, gave opportunities for our group of adults and children alike, to experience the joy of natural play and take time out together to reconnect and engage with the natural world around them.
In the heart of the woodland, the group created a colourful ‘nature art’ collage, using twigs, feathers and an array of leaves and other naturally found objects. Carrying an imaginative reminder to ‘adventure’ and ‘protect nature’, it was left proudly in situ as a feature for fellow nature explorers to discover and enjoy!
The group also put their practical skills to the test with a towering tree ID and bushcraft activity with Riverlution volunteer La, a recent graduate from Riverlution’s River Stewardship Skills Scheme.
Andy Freeman from Space to Breathe CIC, brought some ‘mindfulness moments’ to the group, taking time to reflect on the authenticity of our journey through the green and blue spaces and reminding ourselves of the huge benefits to our physical and mental health when we take time to immerse our senses in all nature has to offer.
The walk culminated with a welcome paddle and ‘kick sampling’ activity to discover what river beasts might call the River Sheaf home, in addition to spotting a whole host of local wildlife from frogs and robins to crayfish and a family of ducklings enjoying the sunshine!
Zara, who wholeheartedly joined in the activities on behalf of Mums in Need, welcomed the chance to team up with Riverlution for the nature trail:
“We were delighted to be contacted by Riverlution and given an opportunity to team up for a nature walk. The day was a great success and provided our service users, and their children, with some much needed quality time. For women we support, finding something to do with people that understand the complexities of their lives is difficult, this day gave them space to explore connections with the outdoors and each other. The children unearthed some wonderful creatures, from a frog to a crayfish, and we all left with a better knowledge of how to explore our rivers and outdoor spaces safely without forgetting the fun. We hope to work with Riverlution's wonderful team again.”
Niki, Riverlution Marketing Officer highlights why making the most of the natural resources around us is so important:
“At Riverlution, it’s our aim to reconnect people and communities with their local waterways and a group nature walk is a great way to get families working together and learning new skills. Authentic experiences like these that take place in the natural world, really help to spur our imagination and creativity. Taking part in activities such as bushcrafts and nature art encourages a sense of belonging to your ‘local patch’ and provides a simple way to connect to the natural environment which is freely accessible to everyone right here on their doorstep! It was a pleasure to team up with the team at Mums in Need and Space to Breathe for the ‘Great Big Green Week’ and we hope it will inspire ideas for a future series of wellbeing walks together.”
The call to explore the hidden gems located within our city’s rivers and woodlands came as part of the Great Big Green Week, the UK’s biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature, which encourages people who care about the environment to come together and take part in activities in their local area to support action to protect the planet.
It also coincided with Riverlution’s series of ‘wellbeing river walks’ and ‘12 Days of Riverlution’, a campaign to donate a minimum of 12 corporate and community volunteer and awareness days across our rivers every year.