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Exclusive chance to sleep in nature's home at RSPB Farnham Heath

Last modified: 24 July 2013

Bushcraft challenge

This August, discover what really goes bump in the night by taking part in the RSPB’s brand new Big Wild Sleepout at RSPB Farnham Heath nature reserve.

For one night only, a ‘sleepover’ will be held on part of the site normally “off-limits” to visitors, offering families a rare chance to camp at the reserve and take part in a variety of exciting activities.  This fantastic summer sleepout experience, which will be held on Saturday 24 August, will include the opportunity to discover the secret world of the reserve after dark.

Mike Coates, Farnham Heath Project Manager, said: “The RSPB is encouraging people to spend a night in nature’s home and what better way to experience it than joining our Big Wild Sleepout event.

“Alongside taking part in all the interesting activities, including moth trapping and shelter building, families will be able to cook on our camp fire and enjoy a good night’s sleep in the shelters they build, or, if that’s all a bit too “Ray Mears” for some, they can bring their own tent!. This is a rare opportunity and there are limited places available so we encourage families to book as soon as possible. It’s a great way to get outside and get the kids close to nature.”

The Farnham Heath event is one of a number of Big Wild Sleepouts taking place across the UK in August. Around the country, people will not only be sleeping in their tents, but in dens made from fallen branches, ropes and tarpaulins, while ‘Glampers’ will be halfway between camping and comfort as they bring their mattresses outside. At Farnham, the RSPB has teamed up with Big Hat Bush Camp’s Ian Brember. Ian runs bushcraft courses across the south and will be on hand to give tips on camp fire cooking and shelter building.

Richard Bashford, the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout organiser, said:“There’s plenty of RSPB organised events taking place, but if you can’t join one of these, then you can take part by sleeping out in your garden. Imagine if you settled down and heard an owl calling, a fox barking or peeked out of your tent and saw a bat feeding overhead.”

To make the most of a garden sleepout, there are plenty of fun activity ideas on the RSPB website, from building dens to torch light safaris. People can also ask their friends and family to sponsor a sleepout to help the RSPB to give nature a home [note 2].

In a bid to encourage even more people to sleep out, the RSPB has joined forces with Blacks, the outdoor retailer [note 3].

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 Big Wild Sleepout is part of the RSPB’s new Giving Nature a Homecampaign which is aimed at inspiring everyone to provide a place for wildlife wherever they live and however big their outside space is [note 4].

The event at Farnham Heath runs from 5.00 pm on Saturday 24 August to 10am on Sunday 25 August. The cost is £20 per adult and £10 per child (RSPB members half price). Participants are asked to bring their own tents if they want to use them. A cooking fire will be available for use on Saturday evening and Sunday morning and drinking water will also be available. Portaloos will be provided on site.

To book for the Farnham Heath Big Wild Sleepout, call the reserve on 01252 795632 or email mike.coates@rspb.org.uk . Payment by cash or cheque only, payable on the day.

For more information and ideas on how to make the most of your Big Wild Sleepout, and for details of events near you, visit: rspb.org.uk/sleepout

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