My local patch is the National Trust’s Sherborne Park Estate which has different habitats and provides the opportunity to see different wildlife. I have a long-haired German Shepherd so she needs long walks and the space at Sherborne Park Estate allows her to run and for me to see animals and birds up close.

My walking companion

I am lucky enough to live in a place where there are many red kites and it is possible to see them searching for prey and also nesting. They are quite fearless and curious and on occasion, they have even flown almost along side me when I am out running!

I am aware that there can be divided opinion on red kites with some people perceiving them as a problem, however, it is difficult to not be impressed when they are silently hovering over you and gliding effortlessly next to you.

Footage - RSPB.images.com

Whilst the red kites can mostly be spotted out in the open meadows, I have spotted newly dug badger sets under the cover of a little woods. My family and I have been watching the area for any new signs and we have been encouraged by the claw marks on the ground and paw prints.

My little brother loves to spot them! We are careful never to get too close to the set. What I have realised from observing the badger set is that an interest in nature is not specific to any age and everyone can appreciate it and learn new things.

Image - Ben Andrew RSPB-images.com

I have recently finished my exams and walking the dog up at Sherborne allowed me to clear my head and to de-stress from the pressure of exams. I found that the wide, open fields and light breezes helped me to stop panicking and stressing and that the wildlife I would see allowed me to be distracted from revision, in a positive way. 

Some of you will have watched Spingwatch on BBC 2 this year and may have realised that they filmed this year’s series at Sherborne Park Estate. For somebody local, this allowed me and my family to know what other birds were at my local patch, like the chaffinches and wagtails. So now, when we go for walks up there, I keep an eye out for some of the birds mentioned on the programme in hope to see something new, and still look out for the frequent wildlife up there, like hares, barn owls, muntjac deer and foxes.

What I have discovered is that surrounding yourself in nature helps you stay calmer and can have help reduce your stress levels. Whether it is just a little patch of green somewhere nearby or vast expanse of land, a local patch really helps you to switch off, relax and distract you from the stresses of day-to-day life.

Lily

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