With natural beauty and grandeur in spades, it’s little surprise how popular the walking routes are around the Jurassic Coast. However, putting one foot in front of the other is only a single, very basic way to immerse yourself in such a beautiful setting. You can also draw, paint or photograph it. You can climb, collect or dip your toe in it, or even look for hidden treasure using your smart phone. Why not make your next sortie a walk with a difference?
Make it into a Digital Treasure Hunt: Fancy a little technological fun along with a good old fashioned treasure hunt? You have just imagined geocaching. Ideal for tech-heads and tempting youngsters out into the fresh air, this novel pastime is rather like modern “letter boxing” (readers over thirty will probably know what we mean!). Using a free app on your smartphone, clues are followed to reach a hidden container or “cache”. Exactly what you find will vary; it could be a little log book where you can leave a message. But equally, other secret caches hide little keepsakes which can be exchanged for one of your own. It’s simple, free and good fun.
Make it into a Work of Art: Creating a work of art requires materials, talent and plenty of time, right? Not necessarily. Using sand, stones and even random debris it’s easy to experiment and create something unique. Whether it’s an hour’s casual fun or a masterpiece that takes all day, beach art is enjoyable, absorbing and totally free.
The only cost is time and using only the natural environment and items you find it is also truly eco-friendly. The wind or tide might wash the whole lot away once you’re done, but with modern smart phones it’s easy to take a picture or two for a lasting memento to show your friends.
Make it Snappy: Ok, so it sounds obvious. But a quality camera and an appetite for creativity can turn a simple walk into a voyage of discovery. And besides the postcard views, the East Devon and Dorset coast is awash with crazy, craggy and unique shapes and forms that make for some excellent photographic possibilities. Rock formations are one source of creativity; random beach debris from driftwood to rusted or warped items are another endlessly varied source ideal for abstracts.
Should you want to go down the classic postcard scene however, this is also rewarding. What is the best tip we can give you in these few lines? Timing is one crucial element, regarless of whether you are a beginner or a master. Early birds and late arrivals often get the most joy because it is at these periods you get the most interesting and beautiful play of light and colour. At the wrong time of day it is hard to take a great photo; but arrive in a misty dawn or blazing sunset and you might find it hard not to take a beautiful photo!
Make it a Foraging Mission: The process of finding your own, totally natural food has been gathering momentum for some time now. It’s not only free, but fascinating and highly educational. Winter might not be the easiest time to forage, but there are several year round staples that are still available. Plus, with mild winters and typically early springs, you may well find those tasty new leaves sooner than expected. Nettles (good for soups or stews) and various types of Sorrell and dandelion leaves (good for pepping up salads) are classics you will find everywhere. Other year round edibles, such as oyster mushrooms, can also be found in winter but require careful identification for safety reasons! Why not treat yourself to a special walk or even a short course with an expert this year? Try the Wild Food UK site for further info, including courses running in Devon and nationwide: www.wildfooduk.com/foraging-trips/
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