Many families have discovered a newfound appreciation of walking during the various lock-downs and restrictions over the last year and are now looking to keep up the outdoor adventures but explore further afield. With that in mind, Muddy Boots Walking Holidays, a small family business based in the Yorkshire Dales, has just launched a new guided ‘Family Adventure Walk’.
The adventure walk is more than a ‘standard’ guided walk and has been designed to get the whole family enjoying a fun day out in the countryside while also picking up some handy skills and knowledge to inspire the kids to become nature lovers and independent explorers!
Starting from Kettlewell in Wharfedale, the route covers 4.5 miles of stunning Yorkshire Dales scenery. Muddy Boots get the family engaged early by helping to plan the route before heading uphill to gain stunning views up and down the valley. The return leg is a gentle stroll along the River Wharfe with opportunities for paddling and stone skimming!
Along the way, you find out how to squeeze the family into a storm shelter, cook simple food on the go, look at what land you are entitled to access, and learn to recognise key features of the landscape. They also provide a brief introduction to map reading (digital and old school!) and navigation and explain how to cope with an emergency in the hills.
Matt and Helen Coppin, who run Muddy Boots, are raising a young family in the Dales themselves and are keen proponents of how important it is to get children inspired by, and feeling confident in, the outdoors from a young age.
Helen said “We’re really lucky with our own children that we are able to teach them about exploring the countryside and the natural world on a day-to-day basis, but we both grew up in urban areas so know how much more challenging it is to equip your kids with this knowledge and experience when you don’t have it on your doorstep.
“There’s been a lot of coverage recently about the fact that being outdoors and engaging with nature is good for mental health, and this is equally true for children as it is for adults. There are also many other benefits of children gaining confidence in and enthusiasm for the outdoors, including the increased fresh air and exercise, the fact that it’s a great learning environment – it is a lot easier for children to learn about, for example, British wildlife, geography and geology if they see it for themselves and understand what they are seeing – and that allowing children to explore in a reasonably ‘free’ way also helps to teach them about safety, responsibility and self-reliance.”
Matt, who will be leading the Adventure Walk, added that “the idea behind the Family Adventure Walk is to help to give both children and parents a bit of a jump-start in planning their own adventures and exploring the fantastic countryside Britain has to offer, and we hope it will help them develop a love of the natural world on their doorstep.
“If we can help families to gain more confidence in the outdoors and inspire them to explore the countryside, both close to home and further afield, having equipped themselves with the knowledge and skills to do so safely and responsibly, then that is exactly what we are aiming for.”
Muddy Boots’ Family Adventure Walk can be booked through their website for dates throughout the year. It is a private trip for the family/group booking it. If you would like to explore the Yorkshire Dales under your own steam, Muddy Boots have also done a handy blog post on some of their favourite walks for families, which you can find on their website.