It’s Clean Air Day on June 20, which offers a great opportunity to get the kids thinking about air pollution and the environment as a whole.
From changing the way we travel to making different choices about what we buy, there are lots of simple things we can do to make environmentally friendly choices.
One of the best ways to help children understand for themselves the importance of being a little more eco-friendly is through fun. So here’s our pick of the top ‘green’ days out in the region, to give the kids a chance to enjoy some family time in an environmentally, educational way.
National Trust Formby
With miles of carefully conserved stunning sandy beaches, and one of only 17 red squirrel strongholds in the north of England, National Trust Formby is a fantastic place to show children why it’s so important to live in an environmentally friendly way. Sign up to join one of the Marine Conservation Society’s regular Beachwatch litter picking events here – there are plenty of ways to learn while having fun at this beautiful part of the Sefton coastline.
Nearest station: Freshfield
Walking distance: 13 minutes
Rice Lane City Farm
This urban gem provides a fantastic chance for children to learn all about animal husbandry, farm skills and crafts and meet farmyard animals – all within 24 acres of countryside hidden away in the heart of Walton. From Ryeland sheep and goats to saddleback pigs, visitors can chat to the staff about the residents and find out what life is really like down on the farm. The RSPB pays regular visits too, making crafts with the children and playing nature bingo to educate kids about the wildlife on our doorstep in a fun and entertaining way.
Nearest station: Walton
Walking distance: 5 minutes
Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve
If you find it hard to tear the kids away from their devices, then this lovely reserve is the perfect location for a mini digital detox. Made up of ancient woodland with habitats including reed swamps, wildflower meadows and parkland, this picturesque oasis offers so much opportunity for children to explore the great outdoors. Climbing trees, playing pooh sticks, searching for wildlife . . . it’s like the best ever forest school – and it’s all free. Look at the Woodland Trust’s list of woodland activities for children for imaginative ideas to help them learn about nature, and don’t forget to pack a picnic for the ultimate forest adventure.
Nearest station: Spital
Walking distance: 7 mins
Of course, getting out in the fresh air doesn’t always have to mean peace and quiet – and Otterspool Park bears testament to that. This vibrant, lively green space on the banks of the River Mersey boasts a wide variety of entertainment for kids, including an Action Sports Hub for skateboarders, BMX and scooter riders, a lovely playground where children can climb, swing and slide to their hearts content, and Otterspool Adventure Centre, a paid-for adventure park with wooden play equipment and additional activities that range from mini golf to The Maze. The hardest part will be tearing them away from it all to go back indoors.
Nearest station: Aigburth
Walking distance: 20 minutes
Lark Lane Farmers Market
Support local businesses, cut food miles, and enjoy tasty food direct from the producers at one of the region’s farmers markets. Lark Lane Farmers Market runs from 9am-2pm on the fourth Saturday of every month, and has a variety of food fayre such as organic vegetables, gluten free pies, fish, different types of bread, cakes and much more. Take the kids and introduce them to the traders (all of whom must come from a 30-mile radius) so that they can learn about the environmental benefits of buying local, hear about the process of bringing the product to market, and – the best part – sample some of the tasty delights on offer.
Nearest station: St Michaels
Walking distance: 8 minutes
National Waterways Museum
Climb aboard some narrow boats, explore a row of old houses furnished to show how people lived in times gone by, and maybe even take a ride on the canal at this fabulous waterside museum, where there’s plenty to keep all the family entertained – whatever the weather. Find out all about one of the greenest methods of transport, discover how canals are helping transport information technology beneath their towpaths in this, and get hands-on with the many interactive displays. And if hunger strikes, there’s a great café too. You’re welcome.
Nearest station: Ellesmere Port
Walking distance: 11 minutes
Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm
When the Wirral Urban Farm Association together with the Tam O’Shanter Cottage Trust started to develop the four acres around the cottage as a city farm in 1986, they did so with the intention of making the varied collection of farm animals accessible to as many people – and children in particular – as possible. Over 30 years on, they’ve now been taken over by Pawprints, owners of the West Wirral Hedgehog Hospital, who are looking to implement a huge regeneration and renovation process with ambitious plans for treasure trails, scavenger trails, educational placements and opportunities and so much more. Go along, meet the animals, and help this important part of many people’s childhoods to flourish for years to come.
Nearest station: Birkenhead North
Walking distance: 17 minutes
Cycle to Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve
Hire a Bike & Go bike from Maghull station and cycle to Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve three-and-a-half miles away. Lock your bikes up and wander along the footpath and you’ll see wildlife at its very best as birds of all varieties flock to the reserve in huge numbers. You can print out the Lancashire Wildlife’s Trust guide to identifying birds of prey and challenge the kids to see how many they can spot, and look out for the water voles as well. Check out other wildlife sightings before you go on the local Lunt Meadows Facebook page to find out which species of wildlife are chillin’ out on the reserve at any given point in time.
Nearest station: Maghull
Walking distance: Hire a bike at the station