Families urged to go wild in Nidderdale to combat screens

Wildlife detectives, one of a number of summer activities for families visiting the Nidderdale AONB, Pateley Bridge
Wildlife detectives, one of a number of summer activities for families visiting the Nidderdale AONB, Pateley Bridge

The Wild Watch in Nidderdale has launched a series of free family-friendly Bug and Beast safaris across the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Families are asked to go wild as part of its Screen Free Summer initiative to lure children away from their mobiles, iPads and TV screens.

The free workshops open to all ages will offer fun interactive learning, from creating bug hotels to pond dipping, nature crafts and bug hunting.

A Wild Watch snapshot survey of 35 parents in Nidderdale found 74 per cent of children spend up to two hours a day on their screens; just over 25 per cent spent three to five hours glued to a screen.

And over half questioned said they had concerns about the amount of time their child spends on screens, with 30 per cent of parents saying they were ‘very concerned.

Alice Crosby, Project Manager at The Wild Watch, said: “In the summer holidays it can be a real juggle entertaining children for weeks on end, and we wanted to offer something that was free, educational but fun.

“Playing outdoors helps self-confidence, independence, creativity, well-being and a sense of adventure.

“It’s a natural antidote to screen time. Being engaged with nature and the outdoors from a young age can also help nurture a love for wildlife, and we need future generations to be our custodians to help protect and safeguard our declining species.”

The Bug and Beast Safaris are led by Forest School Leader, Liz Milner and ornithologist, Richard Baines.

Workshops last two hours with events at Castiles Farm, Fewston Reservoir, Hackfall Wood, Pateley Bridge, and Gallows Hill Nature Reserve in Otley.

All are free with no need to book, but children need to be wearing suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.

For timings and locations of the Bug and Beast Safaris throughout August, visit: https://www.nidderdaleaonb.org.uk/wild-watch-events