50 amazing things to do in the countryside this year

Get back to nature in 2019 by creating your own personal wish list of outdoor experiences and little adventures. Here are 50 ideas to help you get you started and make the most of your year

A hiker and their dog exploring the Scottish Countryside. This image has added grain and styling.

How often do New Year’s Resolutions, where one sets intentions for the year ahead, make you feel unhappy? In the bleak, grey month of January, the last thing you need is to drain your energy further by setting up a series of battles with yourself. And if you break a resolution, you feel deflated, which is a rubbish way to start the year. What you need instead are things to look forward to.

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So instead, try creating a wish list of fun and interesting things you’d like to see and do in 2019. This involves writing down 50 things you would like to do in the year ahead. The items can be enormous or tiny, ranging from “Climb Everest” to “buy a new pencil sharpener”. The main thing is that at some point it has popped into your head as something that you would like to do. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy yourself and good luck in all your adventures.

How to create your wish list

  • Write down 50-100 things you would like to do this year.
  • Be as clear as you can. “Climb Pen Y Fan” is more specific than “Get outdoors”.
  • Feel free to put down whatever you want.
  • Be honest with yourself – only put what you really want to do on the list

To help you get started, Production editor Maria Hodson shares her own wish list ideas for the year

Fog inside an ancient oak forest, Wistmans Wood, Dartmoor, Devon

1

Walk in Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor

These ancient knarled oaks will really capture your imagination.

Female in awe of the Aurora, Northern Lights, Seacliff Beach with Bass Rock in the middle distance, East Lothian, Scotland.

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2

See the Northern Lights

Magical lights that decorate the night sky! What’s not to love. Come ON!

3

Learn to play the ukulele (or instrument of your choosing)

It’s light and lovely to listen to; a great travelling instrument.

Britain’s best picnic spots

Longer summer days and warmer weather marks the start of picnic season. Unroll the blankets and dust-off the hampers, and head to one of the 20 best picnic spots in Britain

Plus, try one of these tasty picnic recipes:

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4

Have a picnic and drink in the views

A simple wish borne of fond memories from childhood. Just remember to pack lashings of ginger beer…

Steamtrain on the Glenfinnan Viaduct. This is the Viaduct that was used in the Harry Potter movies.

5

Take a steam train ride

Tootling through woodland, hills and valleys looks like a lot of fun. There are lots of options out there, including the Jacobite steaming over the Glenfinnan Viaduct (pictured above) and the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales.

6

Visit Portmeirion

Wales’s strange Italianate town looks so intriguing.

7

Walk Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast path

Have you seen the film Downhill? It might inspire you to walk this well-known route.

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8

Learn to identify five mushrooms

They are so varied and fascinating, but which is which?

Guide to British fungi: where to find and how to identify

Our woods, riverbanks and meadows are home to roughly 15,000 species of fungi, making identification a tough job. Our guide looks at 10 of the most common fungi species found in the UK to get you started, from the edible oyster mushroom to the poisonous fly agaric

 

Sunlight on the Autumn Fruiting Fungi

9

Search for sea glass

It’s so calming to scour the seashore for these beautiful washed-up gems.

10

Attend a surf/ yoga course

Some of my happiest memories have been on surf/yoga courses. More please!

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11

Venture to Cape Wrath

The most north-westerly point of Scotland has an epic, daunting and appealing name.

12

Read a nature book a month

Titles to be decided! Here are a few to get you started: the best nature books of 2017/18.

13

Go on a mindful walk

Walk silently, peacefully, while absorbing the world around. In BBC Countryfile Magazine’s series – the A to Z of mindfulness – we look at the various ways that nature and the countryside can be used to help improve physical and mental wellbeing, starting with A is for Awareness.

United Kingdom, Scilly Islands, Samson Island (aerial view)

14

Swim in the Scilly Isles

Dip into the glittering waters of these striking southern isles.

15

Explore Malhamdale

Stunning limestone scenery that everyone raves about; see it for yourself!

16

Cycle the Tarka Trail

From Braunton, enjoy 30 miles of traffic-free cycling in Devon. What a ride. Learn more about the Tarka Trail and four other inspiring long-distance routes here.

17

Visit a Dark Sky Park

Behold the beauty of a black, black sky festooned with brilliance.

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18

Learn to identify five constellations

Work out what you are actually staring at while stargazing.

Stargazing guide: Britain’s dark sky sites, best places to stargaze, plus how to get started

The UK has a growing number of great places to go stargazing – our expert guide on the best locations to stargaze in Britain, advice to help you see more in the dark, and basic stargazing equipment to help you get started

This photograph was taken at Burrator Reservoir in Dartmoor National Park. The picture was captured at night and shows the Milkyway and starry sky over the calm reservoir water. Dartmoor is a popular tourist destination as well as one of the best locations in the country for stargazing.

19

Walk part of the Pennine Way

The spine of England seems excellently bleak and remote. Here are some of our favourite sections of the historic trail.

20

Spend the night in a bivvy bag

It’s time to try the joys of sleeping outdoors without a tent.

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21

Cook a meal outdoors

Get fired up. Nothing tastes better than food cooked and eaten outside.

22

Surf on the Gower

As a surfing fan, I’m keen to catch a wave in this beautiful heartland of Welsh surfing.

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23

Canoe camp along the Wye

Paddle along this great winding river, stopping overnight at lovely campsites. Check out our guide to wild camping by canoe.

24

Attend a summer festival

Not to big, not to small, just right. The Big Shakeout in Derbyshire would be a great place to start.

25

Walk under a waterfall

How cool to wander behind a wall of water, such as Sgwd Yr Eira in the Brecon Beacons.

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) flock flying over lake, Wales, United Kingdom

26

See a starling murmuration

A truly exhilarating spectacle. Here are some of the best spots to see them in Britain.

27

Make sloe gin

Collect sloes and turn them into something quaffable.

Marbled White butterfly (Melanargia galathea) at rest, Dunsdon Nature Reserve, Devon, UK. July.

28

Learn to identify five butterflies

From tortoiseshell to Adonis blue and red admiral, spot the difference.

29

Travel in a camper van

Living the dream, man, living the dream.

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30

Go wild swimming

Take any opportunity to get in the water, from rivers and lakes to the sea.

31

Spot an otter

One of Britain’s most entertaining but most reclusive animals. Join otter expert Simon Copper for some inspiration here.

Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill in Peak District at sunset, Peak District, England. (Photo by: Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images)

32

Climb a Peak District peak

I can’t believe I’ve never been. But which one of these walks should I choose? Pictured are Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill for sunset.

33

Eat a roast in a great country pub

My year will be a failure if this doesn’t happen.

34

Dance a jig at a ceilidh

Just jolly good fun.

35

Go on a glow-worm walk

Watch these little critters illuminate a summer night.

36

Go cider-cycling in Herefordshire

Make a pilgrimage by bike to the county’s orchards and cider farms.

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37

Send a vintage postcard

Post a classic scene of a pretty village or famous landmark to a friend

38

Have fish and chips by the sea

The classic seaside experience. Just… YES. Here are five of the best.

39

 Listen to folk music in a pub

An ale, a fire and some fine music, please.

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40

Learn to identify five new birds

There’s more to life than pigeons.

41

Have a cream tea

It speaks for itself.

42

Sketch a landscape

There’s a contemplative joy in drawing a fine view. Even if the sketch is a mess.

43

Write a poem

Try channeling nature into lyrical beauty, like Mary Oliver or Wendell Berry.

The common kingfisher also known as the Eurasian kingfisher, and river kingfisher, is a small kingfisher with seven subspecies recognized within its wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa.

44

See a kingfisher

Catch that flash of blue.

45

Paddle the Norfolk Broads

There’s wonderful wildlife on these waters.

46

Visit Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

This Scottish National Park looks stunning.

Rays of sunlight illuminating the picturesque patchwork quilt landscape of green fields, farms and misty mountains under panoramic skies from high above. ProPhoto RGB profile for maximum color fidelity and gamut.

47

Fly in a hot-air balloon

What a rush, to see the land so spread about beneath.

48

Learn to identify five trees

Give our big friendly giants a name. Perhaps this tree guide will help?

49

Adventure in a narrowboat

Watch the world go slowly by while navigating our canals. And maybe visit one or two waterside pubs while I’m at it!

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A view of Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.

50

Walk the Northumberland Coast

I’ve been once and dream of going again…