Easy ways to stay connected to nature and the outdoors from your home

We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, which is why we're here to help you stay connected to the BBC Countryfile Magazine online community, and find ways to enjoy nature from your home, garden and local area.

Great tit (Parus major) perched on wooden garden fence in the snow in winter. (Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Corona virus or Covid-19 pandemic crisis has marked a huge changed in our way of life. Whether that’s working from home, social distancing, social isolating, home-schooling children or caring for others in your local community, it can feel a scary and lonely time for many.

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For those of us who love the outdoors, visits to the countryside, walking in beautiful places and holidaying in the wild outdoors are no longer possible. With the government announcing a UK lockdown, other than one daily exercise or shopping for essentials, there has never been a more important time to connect with others digitally and appreciate the nature on your doorstep

We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, which is why we’re here to help you stay connected to the BBC Countryfile Magazine online community, and find ways to enjoy nature from your home, garden or local area, plus we share our pick of the best podcasts, crafts and recipes to do at home.

You can get in touch with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram or drop us an email if you’d like to say hello or share ideas.

We’ll be updating this page regularly, so please keep checking back for new content.

Embrace winter

Snowdrops
The snowdrop may appear delicate but it is a hardy little plant, surviving snowfall and cold temperatures/Credit: Getty Images

If you’re able to get outside for a local walk during your daily exercise, enjoy the signs of late winter, such as snowdrops or other early winter blooms and take a moment to appreciate the nature found on your doorstep.


Enjoy wildlife in your garden

Robin on a branch in winter
Spotting a robin redbreast in your garden is a cheering sight on a cold winter’s day/Credit: Getty Images

Although winter might not seem the best time of year to enjoy spotting garden wildlife, there is still plenty of life to be found in our gardens, or locally during your daily exercise. See how many different bird species you can spot from your window or just a short garden wander.


Chat with family and friends in nature using RSPB nature reserve Zoom backgrounds

From lighthouses to lakes across all four countries, the RSPB has released 15 free images of its nature reserves for people to use as Zoom backgrounds.

Once downloaded, the RSBP is asking people to share a screengrab with the hashtag #NaturePhotoBomb to celebrate nature and the outdoors – even if you have to stay at home. These images are free to download, via rspb-images.com/Respages/FreeImages

Garden projects

Two men working in a garden in winter/Credit: Getty Images
Tidy up your garden in the winter months to reap the benefits in spring and summer/Credit: Getty Images

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, or even a window box, there are still plenty of jobs to do in the garden in winter.


Make nature arts & crafts with your children

A child drawing a butterfly
Children will love creating their own butterflies/Credit: Getty

Find a daily fun craft project or outdoor nature activity for children to enjoy in the home, garden or in your local area during the Coronavirus pandemic.

See easy craft projects and outdoor nature activities for children to do at home


Improve your nature identification skills

Leave and berries in frost
Holly leaves and berries in winter frost/Credit: Getty

Listen to podcasts

Woman in headphones listening music in nature and at the mountain (intentional pale color style)
Escape to the countryside with a podcast!/Credit: Getty

Make the most of your extra spare time to listen to some of the interesting wildlife, nature and science podcasts freely available. This handy BBC Wildlife Magazine guide, explains how to listen to podcasts.

Don’t forget to tune into the BBCCountryfile Magazine ‘plodcast’

In each episode of the BBC Countryfile Magazine podcast, we go on a great escape into beautiful landscapes where we look for great wildlife, explore curious historic sites, meet interesting rural people and discuss the big issues affecting the countryside.

Catch up on each season and enjoy a countryside escape

The podcast is available on AcastiTunesApple Podcasts and most major podcast apps

Science

From the inner workings of the human brain to how we’ll conquer space, tackling climate change and better understanding the animals and plants around us – the Science Focus Podcast is the best place to make sense of the big issues of our time.

History

HistoryExtra podcast comes out three times a week, featuring interviews with notable historians talking about topics spanning ancient history through recent British to American events. Episodes feature history stories and perspectives on everything from crusading knights to Tudor monarchs and the D-Day landings.


Birdwatch from your window and take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Great and Blue Tit Feeding
Add feeders to your garden to attract a wide variety of birds/Credit: Getty

The annual Big Garden Birdwatch returns on 29th-31st January 2021 for the UK’s largest garden based citizen science project. Find out how to take part and the best birds to spot in your garden this winter with our handy birdwatch guide.

According to the conservation charity, across the UK nearly 9 million hours have been spent watching garden birds since the Birdwatch began in 1979 with more than 137 million birds counted, helping provide the charity with valuable insight.

See how to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch

RSPB

The RSPB has set up the #BreakfastBirdwatch, a daily hour on weekdays between 8-9am where supporters and the wider public can share photos and videos of their garden birds. There will also be different species and themes to focus on, such as drawing and poetry.

The Self-Isolating Bird Club

TV presenter, author and naturalist Chris Packham has set up The Self-Isolating Bird Club on Twitter and Facebook, so that birdwatchers can share their local sightings virtually.


Take a virtual escape to the countryside

Tree in winter landscape
Join us on a Virtual Escape this winter/Credit: Getty

We’ve started a Virtual Escapes series last spring to help you enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of your home and provide a bit of inspiration for future trips.

Experience the sights and sounds of each season countryside until we can all safely enjoy the real thing with our stay-at-home guides.


Craft ideas to make at home

hotel insect shelter for wild bees and weps.
hotel for insects made of reed. a house of different kinds of insects in a garden.

Here is a selection of relaxing craft projects to make from your home.


Recipes – baking ideas

Crumpets

Make the most of being at home by baking tasty treats to enjoy with a cup of tea and a good book.


Stay well, stay home

BBC Countryfile Magazine has always shared great walks and holiday destinations with readers and website visitors – it’s a key part of our mission. But we cannot do that for now – it would be irresponsible. We ask all readers and web visitors to adhere strictly to Government advice on travel, social distancing and personal hygiene. If you are feeling unwell, please visit the NHS website or call ‘111’ for medical advice.

We all have to be responsible, think about others and follow expert advice.

There are some basic rules we can all follow:

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  1. Make only journeys only for essential supplies.
  2. We are now only allowed out of our properties for exercise once a day.
  3. Practise social distancing at all times
  4. Avoid touching stiles and gates if you can.
  5. Thoroughly wash your hands before and after each walk