Titchwell Ticklist, November 1, 2016

Wildlife Explorers at Titchwell RSPB Reserve, rock-pooling on beach.  June 2004.
Wildlife Explorers at Titchwell RSPB Reserve, rock-pooling on beach. June 2004.
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Instead of saving up all your good intentions until next January, why not start early and pledge to get out and about in November. The weather is still mild with temperatures set to remain in double figures for the next two weeks. This should make early November the ideal time to get outside and stretch your legs before those harsh winter days set in.

Everyone knows that walking is good for us physically and mentally. It’s a great way to reduce stress, improve overall fitness and increase stamina. I find that time out of the house and away from the laptop and TV gives me time to reflect, evaluate and plan my week without all of those distractions. It’s in those moments of solitude that I feel most creative and inspired, it’s also when I realise that my brilliant idea is not really that brilliant after all.

At this time of year an early morning stroll starts in semi-darkness but as the watery sun rises over the landscape my pace becomes stronger, faster and more purposeful. There are times when I just want to saunter but I can also pick up the pace, find a hill or add in some simple lunges if I want to feel as if I am really exercising. I like having the option of adapting my walk to fit around my time and energy levels which is not so easy to do in the confines of a gym.

There are plenty of fantastic walking opportunities in Norfolk and if you want a cheap family day out then you can’t beat a rural ramble. A walk doesn’t just have to be about putting one foot in front of the other. If you can, allow time to appreciate the sights and sounds of the world around you. When my children were small we would bundle them up in duffle coats and wellies and head outside at every opportunity. Armed with a paper bag the children enjoyed a simple scavenger hunt, collecting conkers, acorns and pinecones along the way. When we got home, the children remained engaged making forest mobiles and leaf crowns or steeping conkers in vinegar. Climbing trees, playing hide and seek and making wild dens extended the excitement of time outside and splashing in puddles was a ‘must do’ for all the family.

At RSPB Titchwell there is a walk to suit everyone. Wooden pathways meander through woodlands and reedbeds alongside secluded pools which are home to moorhens, coots and elusive water voles. Winter migrants such as siskins and redpolls call from overhead trees which drape languidly across the boardwalk. Following the Fen Trail visitors uncover one of our wildlife watching hides almost hidden from the rest of the reserve and further along the East trail wetland reedbeds provide a home for wintering ducks and geese. A longer walk down the West Bank Path leads to a wide expanse of beach which overlooks The Wash. Here seabirds fly overhead or bob about on undulating waves waiting for the receding tide to expose a veritable picnic of small crustaceans and molluscs. A visit to Titchwell should always include time to explore the strandline and there’s nothing like a walk along the beach to tire over-energetic young minds and bodies.