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Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags,  Hebden Bridge
Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge

Building rafts and investigating ponds are just two of latest activities in a series of events being held at Hardcastle Crags this summer under the National Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4’ initiative.

Last Wednesday, children were taught how to build their own mini rafts from corks and sticks before launching them on the mill pond behind Gibson Mill.

Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags,  Hebden Bridge

Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge

The following day saw the reserve hosting a “Discover what’s in a pond” activity that encouraged children to learn about their local ecosystem.

The events are run by volunteers and parents are welcome to participate alongside their children.

Sara Parsons, Visitors Services Manager for Hardcastle Crags, said: “We get great feedback and comments, with many parents looking forward to the fun as much as the children.”

The idea behind the 50 things initiative came in response to recent surveys showing that children are becoming increasingly disconnected with nature and often lack opportunites to to become familiar with the outdoors.

Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags,  Hebden Bridge

Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge

In response the National Trust compiled a list of 50 outdoor activities to do before you turn 11 and 3/4 which is available at the National Trust’s website, a large number of which can be done independently of their organised events.

Sara added: “It’s very rewarding to see families engage with some of the activities and many will then go off on their own do some of the other #50Things.”

Organised sessions at Hardcastle Crags run every Tuesday to Thursday from noon to 3pm and alongside being free, do not require prebookings. Upcoming events include building a den and campfire cooking. There are also self-led activities through the rest of the week.

Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags,  Hebden Bridge. Pictured are Freddie Moss, Andrea Conning and Rachel Moss

Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge. Pictured are Freddie Moss, Andrea Conning and Rachel Moss

Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags,  Hebden Bridge

Pond dipping with the National Trust, at Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge