We all know that our wellbeing is extremely important. Spending time outside next to the water is an easy way to take care of our mental health. Make the most of your new year motivation to get out and about, and plan to take some time by the river. To help you get started, we have put together some great things that you can do at or near the river this coming year.
Get your morning routine off to a healthy start
There is a general consensus out there that starting your day off with a morning walk is one of the best ways to have a healthy and productive day. Just getting outside for a 20 minute stroll has been shown to increase your energy levels, lift your mood, strengthen your muscles and improve your mental health. If you are lucky enough to live near the River Severn, start the day with a short walk and make a note of the positive benefits that come with it. With a lot of us still working from home, this is a good way to get your daily step count up too.
Spot a kingfisher in 2022!
The more time you spend by the river the more chance you have to see a kingfisher. They can be seen as a flash of blue in flight and heard as a peep-peep-peep. They can often be seen on vegetation overhanging slower flowing spots of the river, near high banks where they can burrow. Find more tips here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-and-river-wildlife/a-spotters-guide-to-waterway-wildlife/kingfisher-waterway-wildlife
Improve your photography skills
Why not take your camera out with you on your morning stroll? The river brings with it a whole host of different flora and fauna, and we are lucky to have wildlife like kingfishers and herons on our doorstep. You could also use the wonderful artistic inspiration provided by the river and set yourself a photography project. For example, try capturing a fixed river view through all the seasons, or you could focus on taking images of reflections off the water. Another idea is to create a nature checklist for yourself or family / friends – find and take photos of different things on your list. Ideas below:
– A set of lock gates
– A yellow flower
– An uncommon bird e.g. heron, cormorant, kingfisher
– Photo from or of a bridge
– A riverboat
We’d love to see the results – do share them with us! @SevernUnlocked
Hunting heron, photography by Corinne Spiller
The River Severn has also been known to play host to marine mammals, with sightings of seals and dolphins in the lower reaches of the river! Will you be lucky and spot one?
Have you thought about volunteering with us on the Unlocking the Severn project? We have a number of volunteering opportunities becoming available during our project, including: supporting our learning team, Diglis Island Guides and shad monitoring. Volunteering can provide positive benefits to both mental and physical health, it is proven to help counteract the effects of stress, anxiety and depression as well as helping to increase self-confidence.
We will have lots of opportunities to get involved with our project this spring, as we celebrate the return of the twaite shad to the River Severn.
For more information follow the link: https://www.unlockingthesevern.co.uk/volunteering/
If you wanted to experience being on the river instead of beside it then you could hire a narrow boat and have a short or longer break. There are a range of routes departing from Worcester that take you along part of the river. For more information follow the link: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-and-river-network/river-severn-navigation
Take a trip to Severn Valley Country Park
Thanks to a collaboration between Unlocking the Severn and Severn Valley Country Park, this is now the perfect place for a family day out. Our river-themed themed play area and sculpture trail brings some of the history and wildlife of the river onto the land, and provides a unique way to engage children in the importance of the River Severn.
A wooden Severn Trow – the historic river barge for river transport before the towpath – is the centre-piece of the play area. In addition a beautifully carved wildlife trail tracks down to the river and back again, encouraging families to explore the Severn Valley Country Park and learn more about the river on their way.
Boat Cruises on the River
There are a range of cruise operators that are situated along the River Severn including; Upton, Tewkesbury, Shrewsbury and more. These cruises provide the opportunity to see and experience the river from a new perspective, some operators offer both daytime and evening cruises among other events!
Set yourself a walking challenge
You could try setting yourself a personal walking challenge this year, picking 2 towns on the River Severn and set yourself the challenge to walk the Severn Way between them. This could be done in one go or several legs depending on your personal goals. For information on the Severn Way follow this link; https://www.ldwa.org.uk/ldp/members/show_path.php?path_name=Severn+Way
Rowing and paddle boarding on the River Severn
Rowing has a long, proud history in Britain and there are a range of rowing clubs situated along the river. These clubs are both for teaching beginners to row, recreational rowing or competitive rowing. There are a number of rowing clubs along the River Severn – from Pengern Boat Club and Adventure Rowing Club in Shrewsbury, and clubs at Bridgenorth, Bewdley, Stourport, Worcester, Upton, Tewkesbury (AB Rowing) and Gloucester. Many run introductions to rowing courses, so do take a look if you’ve always fancied sculling along the river!
As well as rowing (mentioned above) there is also the opportunity to paddle board in several places on the River Severn. For more information about paddle boarding follow this link: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canoeing-and-kayaking/paddle-boarding-the-basics
Foraging gives you an opportunity to explore your local green spaces gain a new perspective on wild plants, as well as bringing some new tastes to your table. Last year Unlocking the Severn collaborated with Wild Food UK to run a foraging workshop on Diglis Island. Their website provides a great overview of foraging in the UK, the plants to look out for, as well as how to book onto your own foraging adventure.
Visit our travelling exhibition!
This spring we will be bringing back the travelling exhibition to Worcester. Our immersive shad themed Travelling Exhibition will be arriving at The Hive in Worcester in April (dates TBC). The exhibition will bring the underwater world to life in a whole new way that is accessible to all. Find out more by keeping an eye on our website: https://www.unlockingthesevern.co.uk/
Try a walk at a different time of day
Why not try taking a walk along the river at a different time of day, – sunrise, dusk, or even full moon night walk – It may enable you to gain a new perspective on a familiar landscape. Do consider your safety. Take a friend, and a torch, just in case!
We hope that this gives you some great ideas of ways to get out and about by the river this coming year!