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How volunteering can help to preserve our natural environment

How volunteering can help to preserve our natural environment

It seems that people are finally cottoning onto the fact that since the Industrial Revolution, human society has inflicted untold damages on the natural environment. Fortunately, more and more organisations are undertaking green initiatives which advocate the use of energy saving devices in offices, creating products using sustainable materials, eliminating hazardous waste products from production processes and more. While some of these stories are truly inspiring, you don’t have to be a member of a multinational corporation to have a positive effect on the environment. In the UK, there are numerous organisations dedicated to conserving the countryside and its wildlife with which you can get involved today. Green organisations The Wildlife Trusts is an organisation consisting of 47 local Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK (check out this map to find your local branch). There are numerous causes you can donate to via the organisation, including: badger vaccination programmes, conservation appeals for various woodland areas, and protection initiatives for endangered species. For bird lovers, the organisation offers a scheme for buying bird feed from Vine House Farm, where a percentage of all profits will be funnelled back into environmental causes. However, for those looking for a more ‘hands-on’ approach to conserving the countryside, volunteers – corporations as well as individuals – are always highly appreciated. There are currently over 30,000 active volunteers throughout the 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK, carrying out a series of activities including: community gardening, managing habitats, looking after nature reserves and wildlife, hedge-laying, giving lectures to children and more. To find out about volunteering opportunities with The Wildlife Trusts, please complete this online form and...
The historic hot spots of Dorchester

The historic hot spots of Dorchester

Situated on the banks of the River Frome, Dorchester is one of Britain’s most picturesque market towns; featuring cobbled streets, historic architecture and sites of abundant natural beauty. Aside from Dorchester’s visual delights, the town also has an incredibly rich history, and sites erected during the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman occupation and even the Neolithic era can still be viewed today. Here is a list of some of the town’s most exquisite historic hot spots, perfect for those looking take a trip back in time and gain some insights into the cultural traditions of our ancestors. Maumbury Rings Maumbury Rings is arguably Dorchester’s most famous site, and it was originally the location for a vast Neolithic monument. However, during the Roman occupation of Dorchester (approximately 100 AD), the site was transformed into an amphitheatre, used to host vast spectacles and entertain up to 10,000 people at once! During the 17th century, the site was transformed once again to become an artillery fort during the English Civil War. In the modern day, the site which was once used for gladiatorial games and public executions is now a popular spot for live bands and other festivities. Located only a few minutes away from the centre of town, Maumbury Rings is a must-visit if you are discovering Dorchester, particularly during the summer months. The Victorian Borough Gardens When exploring Dorchester, the Victorian Borough Gardens is an excellent place to catch a bite to eat, whether you’re bringing your own packed lunch or eating at the site’s popular refreshment kiosk. The site is also home to a stone obelisk, erected in 1899...
How to take interesting outdoor photographs

How to take interesting outdoor photographs

Whether you’re taking in the sights of London’s most renowned historic buildings or enjoying the serene landscapes of Britain’s countryside, taking some excellent outdoor photographs is a great way to remember your adventure and inform your friends about your explorations on social media. While you don’t have to be a professional photographer wielding a £2000+ camera to take a great photograph, there are some important rules to abide by if you want your photographs to be just as vivid and beautiful as the memories you have. The golden hours There are two specific time periods during the day which are ideal for taking outdoor photographs: the hour after the sun comes up and the hour before it goes down. There’s something incredibly enchanting about photographs which are taken during the golden hours, arguably because the gentle lighting creates a soft touch which is not replicable at other times of the day. The shadows casted by buildings, trees and vegetation during the golden hours also help to create a magical ambience. While it’s not always convenient to go exploring during these hours, you should still take the time of day into account. For instance, photographs taken in the midday sun tend to have a harshness about them which is not particularly pleasant, so try aim for the morning or late afternoon/evening. Rule of thirds Creating balance in your photographs is important, and this can be achieved by implementing the tried and tested ‘rule of thirds’. The rule advocates dividing the image into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, using imaginary lines to balance the picture. It is suggested that for landscape...
Famous sights of the Thames waterway

Famous sights of the Thames waterway

The River Thames stretches over 210 miles of southern England, flowing from near the quaint town of Kemble in Gloucestershire all the way through to London and out into the North Sea. Along this vast stretch of water there are numerous attractions, including royal castles, museums, famous gardens, palaces, bucolic fields, rolling hills, and of course, some excellent taverns to enjoy a traditional British meal with a pint of ale. Here are some of the must-see attractions located in the immediate vicinity of the River Thames. Tate Britain Tate Britain (formerly know as the Tate Gallery) is home to an exquisite collection of British art which dates all the way back to the 16th century. Since opening in 1897, Tate Britain has expanded to showcase historic works by artists such as William Blake and J.M.W. Turner, as well as the works of more contemporary artists such as John Latham, Tracey Emin and Douglas Gordon. Whether you’re a connoisseur of fine art or are simply interested in having a glimpse into one of Britain’s foregone eras, Tate Britain is an excellent place to visit if you’re strolling along the Thames waterway in London. Towns and villages Historically, the River Thames was a major transportation artery, meaning some of Britain’s most picturesque towns and villages are conveniently located along its banks. For instance, Windsor in Berkshire is the home to the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, but the town also features tranquil rural walkways, the gorgeous Savill Garden and numerous fine dining establishments where you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. In addition to this, you...
The health benefits of walking

The health benefits of walking

We’re continually bombarded with the negative side effects of doing enjoyable things, so it’s nice when you hear that doing something enjoyable has positive side effects! Our Countryside, Pub and Waterway Tours have just such an effect, while they immerse you in Britain’s natural beauty and bring its very history to life, the tour’s humble and ancient mode of transport, namely walking, over an average four to six miles, delivers significant health benefits. Research indicates that walking regularly can increase the longevity of a person’s life, and may also be linked to lower rates of heart disease. You don’t need any fancy equipment to go for a walk, just the appropriate clothing, a bottle of water, some sunscreen and the keen urge to explore Britain’s countryside. Here are some of the health benefits you can expect to receive by embarking on long walks in the countryside. Improved cardiovascular health It’s been proven that people who go on regular walks are significantly less likely to develop heart disease than those that don’t exercise. In addition to this, regular walkers suffer from less strokes and generally have lower blood pressure. Coronary heart disease is currently Britain’s biggest killer, so by taking regular exercise in the form of walking you are reducing the chances of becoming part of this statistic. Weight loss While mass marketing would have you believe that weight loss is only accomplishable using fad diets and rigorous workout routines, the truth is that you can dramatically overhaul your physique by embarking on long walks at a steady pace on a weekly basis. While the prospect of heading to a...