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Published 26th Jul 2017

rspb big wild sleepout

Owls, bats and hedgehogs are among the many creatures the RSPB are encouraging children and their families to keep an eye out for this weekend as they take their first step on their own wild adventure by taking part in the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout.

For the fifth year running, thousands of children and their families across the UK will be pitching up their tents, rolling out their sleeping bags and gathering round the camp fire as they take a step closer to nature by spending a night out under the stars.

And people in Teesside are being encouraged to join in the fun. Whether seasoned pros or first-timers, campers can take part anywhere – big, small, urban or rural – it’s free and the RSPB has loads of activities, hints and tips to help families make the most of their adventure.

The RSPB is also organising Sleepout events across the UK for those who want a wilder time in some truly inspiring locations. With special night time activities from food and stories around the camp fire to a night time stroll and star gazing, this is the ultimate summer Sleepout experience. All events are different and a full list is available on the RSPB website.

RSPB Saltholme, near Stockton-on-Tees, will be holding a Big Wild Night Out, with a unique opportunity to explore the reserve after dark. There’s the chance to see creatures that are usually only seen after dark, such as bats, little egrets flying into roost and perhaps the thrill of an owl fly-by. The night will be rounded off with hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows on the campfire.

Paul Birmingham, the RSPB Big Wild Sleepout co-ordinator, said: “Whether you’re a child or just a big kid at heart, a night under the stars is always exciting. And night time provides some of the most exciting wildlife to explore, from hedgehogs and badgers snuffling around the lawn to bats and owls flying over head – gardens transform into another world after dark.

“Whether you’re a seasoned camper, occasional glamper or just fancy an evening exploring before returning to home comforts, there’s no better time to get together and take a closer look at the nocturnal nature in your outside space. And by taking part you’ll be taking your first step on your own Wild Challenge, the RSPB’s new, free, year round nature adventure for families.”

The Wild Challenge is the RSPB’s new online award scheme encouraging children and their families to go out and get closer to the natural world. By completing activities ranging from minibeast safaris to creating a compost heap and planting for wildlife, families can log their achievements on to the RSPB Wild Challenge website and collect their rewards.

Paul Birmingham added: “With the amount of time children and their families are spending outside in nature declining, experiences like the Big Wild Sleepout provide a perfect opportunity to get out and discover the wildlife that surrounds us all. The chance to take a step closer to the wonders of nature should be a part of every child’s life and the RSPB Big Wild Sleepout is here to help every family start their own wild adventure.”

Rohan – designer and supplier of outdoor clothing and footwear – is once more supporting the RSPB Big Wild Sleepout, which is expected to be the biggest Sleepout yet with over 11,000 families expected to spend a night in the wild.

Scott Longstaff, Managing Director of Rohan, said: “The great outdoors is full of amazing creatures and wild places that are waiting to be discovered, and the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout is the perfect opportunity to get out and start your own adventure. Whether you’re camping out in your back garden, or planning a trip further afield, Rohan is here to make sure you’re kitted out ready for your night out in the wild.”

For lots of free fun activities, ideas and tips to help you have a wild night out under the stars, go to

To start your own Wild Challenge adventures go to

Photo credit: John Terence Turner/ Alamy

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