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Spend a night in nature's home at Lotherton Hall with the RSPB

Last modified: 17 July 2013

Feet sticking out of tent

Lotherton Hall is a beautiful setting and offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Image: Frank and Helena/Imagesource

From 10 -11 August, people in Yorkshire will be able to discover what really goes bump in the night, when they get the chance to spend a night in the grounds of Lotherton Hall, and take part in the RSPB’s brand new Big Wild Sleepout.

The charity is encouraging people to spend a night in nature’s home and discover a secret night-time world on their doorstep, and has teamed up with Lotherton Hall, near Leeds, to offer families a unique opportunity to camp out in the grounds.

Ella Dixon, RSPB People Engagement Officer, said: “This is set to be a fantastic event and we’re very excited to a part of it. What better way is there to connect with nature than spending a night under the stars, discovering all that flaps, snuffles and crawls?

“Lotherton Hall is a beautiful setting and offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and discovery. As well as camping, we’ll also be holding a shelter building competition, taking people on a night-time woodland walk and discovering what lurks in the night sky with a spot of stargazing.”

Participants will also be given a nice introduction to wildlife during a Nature Walk, where they will collect bits and bobs to use during an arts and crafts session, making masks and pictures amongst other things. Teatime will take place around a campfire, with jacket potatoes cooked on the open fire, and s’mores for the children afterwards.

This event is just one of many RSPB events taking place around the UK. With a variety of special night time activities, this is the ultimate summer sleepout experience. However, participants who can’t make an organised sleepout event are being encouraged to spend a night in their own garden.

Richard Bashford, the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout organiser, said: “Imagine if you settled down and heard an owl calling, a fox barking or peaked out of your tent and saw a bat feeding overhead in the fading light. Or even, finally saw that elusive hedgehog that you’ve long suspected calls your garden home.

“We want to encourage participants to share their experiences and surprises on facebook and twitter, and we’re also asking people to get sponsored to sleepout and raise money to give nature a home at the same time.”

Anyone and everyone can take part. Adventurous campers will be going completely au naturel and sleeping in dens made from fallen branches, ropes and sheets. ‘Glampers’ will be halfway between camping and comfort as they venture outdoors or even just put their mattress on the floor near patio doors or balconies.

To help encourage even more people to sleep out, the RSPB has joined forces with Blacks, the outdoor retailer.

Ken Reeve, CEO of Blacks, says: “Blacks is extremely proud to be part of this tremendous initiative. We are wholly supportive of any campaign that encourages more people to engage with nature and we see the Big Wild Sleepout as an ideal platform to encourage families to experience the outdoors together.”

The Yorkshire sleepout event will take place in the education field at Lotherton Hall from 2pm on Saturday 10 August until 12noon on Sunday 11 August. There is space for up to 80 people, so booking is essential. The cost is £30 per family (2 adults and up to 2 children) and £25 per RSPB member family, with an extra £6 per additional child (under 16). To book contact Kate Whitehead on 01484 868405 or email

A meal on Saturday night is included in the price but any other food throughout the weekend will need to be supplied by the participants. Breakfast will be available to buy on Sunday morning from Lotherton Hall cafe. 

The Big Wild Sleepout is part of the RSPB’s new Giving Nature a Home campaign which is aimed at inspiring everyone to provide a place for wildlife wherever they live and however big their outside space is.

For more information and ideas on how to make the most of your Big Wild Sleepout, and for details of events around the UK, visit:

How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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