Due to the current coronavirus outbreak, this activity may not be appropriate during this time and our reserves are closed following government advice. Please only leave home if absolutely necessary and practice social distancing. For more information please see our Covid-19 updates page. Thank you.
Pitch-up and get a taste for the night life!
What could be more exciting than a night under the stars?
Sleeping outside can be thrilling. You’ll hear night-time sounds that you don’t notice from indoors. You’ll see stars, planets, satellites, planes and - if you’re lucky - shooting stars! And you’ll notice all kinds of wildlife that wakes up when it gets dark.
You could camp in a tent, under a blanket or even on a trampoline! Stay out for the whole night, or try just a few hours and experience nature after the sun goes down – it’s up to you.
Find out more about how you can enjoy a wild night out at some of our nature reserves.
When you’ve done your sleepout, let us know how you got on. Sleeping out counts towards a Wild Challenge award. Why not go for gold?
Did you know the smallest bat in the UK is the Pipistrelle and they weigh less than a £1 coin!
What you will need
- A tent (a trampoline or clothes horse and sheets can make a great outdoor hideout too). Or if you're feeling really wild, why not make a den or shelter with branches and leaves!
- Sleeping bag or duvets and blankets.
- Something waterproof between you and the ground - you don't want soggy sleeping bags!
- A torch. One with a red filter is best. You can buy these or make your own with some red film.
- Firewood (if you've somewhere safe to have a fire and a big stash of marshmallows)
- A sense of adventure!
Step by step guide
If you're new to camping, then starting in your garden is a really simple way to begin. However, if you don't have a garden or you want to venture further afield, there a loads of amazing wild campsites around the country which are sure to provide an amazing night under the stars.
- Choose a dry, calm night (ideally a warm one) and set up your tent in a handy spot. If you don’t have a tent, you could make a shelter. Even if you don't have a tent or shelter, you can still have a great sleepout!
- Get a stock of food to keep you going and if you have somewhere safe for one, set up a camp fire.
- Quietly explore your surroundings for night life (a piece of red film over your torch will mean you disturb wildlife less and get a better look), always listening carefully. You're almost certain to find moths congregating around outside lights, or bats flitting across the sky. If you're really lucky and quiet, you may spot hedgehogs, foxes or badgers.
- Finally, tell some wild stories and have a comfy snooze under the stars! Zzzzz.
- Don't forget to tell us when you have completed the activity! When you mark the activity as complete, you will be asked to upload a photo, drawing, painting or a piece of writing talking about your experience to help earn your award.
Completing the activity
Use the 'Mark as complete' button at the top of this page to tell us you've completed your activity. You'll need to show us what you did by uploading a photo of your family sleeping out under the stars. Write a story or a poem about your experience or create some artwork that shows what you got up to.