‘Wild’ gifts range from beaver-gnawed wood chips to a new version of Top Trumps featuring our best-loved native animals. From environmentally friendly Christmas trees, to creating that special handmade present, Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK have a wide range of festive gifts and events with a difference. By gifting ‘wild’ this Christmas you can give nature the helping hand it needs.
Top ‘wild’ gifts
Beaver-gnawed wood chips: fashioned by busy beavers, whose reintroduction to the River Otter has been led by Devon Wildlife Trust. The wood chip comes in a presentation box; stocks are limited. Definitely a talking point! The Welsh Beaver Project is offering beaver design mugs and bilingual Christmas cards.
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Curl up snug as a bug in a rug: in a plaid dark Hebridean wool blanket, with white Charollais stripe. Spun in Yorkshire with wool from the local Wildlife Trust’s grazing flock of rare breed Hebridean sheep. Hats and shawls available too. Picture below: Pete Bachelor
Top Trumps: who’s the fastest: fox or puffin? Who’s more ferocious: stoat or red deer? And who’s the speediest? Battle it out to get the highest scores; a fun way to find out about UK wildlife. On sale at various Wildlife Trust visitor centres or online. Check your local trust website. Picture below: The Wildlife Trusts
Stand up for nature: show you stand up for nature with The Wildlife Trusts animal print clothing. Hibernate in a hoodie, or chill in a T-shirt. Robins, stag beetles, bats, badgers, bees, dormice and whales are just some of the designs on offer. They are 100% organic cotton, ethically and sustainably made in a wind-powered factory.
Yule festive feast: Feathered friends deserve Christmas treats too. Make a wreath and fill pine cones with bird cake, it looks good, and gives birds nutritious food they need for winter. Download free instructions. Vine House Farm grows and sells wild bird seed. Five per cent of every order goes to your local Wildlife Trust. Over the past 10 years they’ve given £1.25 million to help wildlife recover.
Crafty Christmas: gifts from the heart made with love and care
Rockin’ robins: Our best-loved bird, who sings all year round, and cheers up dark winter days. With expert tuition, make a Christmas needle-felt robin to give as a special gift, or perch on the mantelpiece. Workshop at Blakehill Farm nature reserve, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, December 13. Print a set of handmade robin Christmas cards using recycled polystyrene pizza bases, Sevenoaks, Kent Wildlife Trust, November 25.
Knit for nature: buy high-quality balls of wool, with yarn from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s grazing flock of rare breed Hebridean sheep. Combine with fun patterns for Boris the Barn owl, Betty the Bee and Rustle the Hedgehog, and knit your own wildlife; the patterns support the work of Somerset Wildlife Trust.
Spoon carving and more: have a go at making braiding wheels, lucettes, drop spindles and crochet hooks from local wood in the lovely setting of Bradfield Woods, Suffolk Wildlife Trust. The next day learn to make useful kitchen utensils: November 11-12.
Tasty treats: chutneys and jellies masterclass, learn quick and easy recipes for chutneys and jellies, which will keep well and make welcome edible gifts for your friends and family. Redgrave & Lopham Fen reserve, Suffolk: November 12 and 26.
Christmas greenwood working: learn a new skill use natural materials and hand tools to make a festive reindeer or snowman. Wrekin, Shropshire Wildlife Trust: December 18.
Winter wreaths: throughout December many local Wildlife Trusts are offering workshops, with walks to gather greenery and create natural festive decorations. There’s one in Shropshire; find similar events nationwide. Many Wildlife Trust shops offer gifts made by local artists, craftspeople and jewellery makers.
Wild festive events
Pine and dine: ditch the boring office Christmas ‘do’. Bring your office party to the common at Barossa, Surrey to chop down your own Christmas tree, make a festive wreath and enjoy a hearty lunch, with mulled cider and toasted marshmallows around the campfire. Beats Secret Santa hands down! Book first: December 8.
Enviro-friendly Christmas trees: Scots pine Christmas trees and wreaths for sale, all by-products of the sustainable management of lowland heath by Wildlife Trusts. Caversham Court, Reading; and Wildmoor Heath, Berkshire: December 9-10.
Family fun: have a go at pulling your own mini pine tree then potting and decorating it for Christmas, along with a heathland walk followed by crafts and treats around a fire. Knettishall Heath, Suffolk Wildlife Trust: December 20. Picture below: Lee Parsons
Forest Father Christmas: Santa is visiting woodland grottos at various Wildlife Trust nature reserves throughout December. Search for his visits on the website wildlifetrusts.org.
Check Wildlife Trust websites to book events and workshops.
Share the love
Jolly Holly: Shelia could do with some help, she’s ancient, and although vibrant and beautiful, she’s showing her age. Shelia is one of the Stiperstones hollies, given individual names by the reserve manager! Support will help Shropshire Wildlife Trust look after these marvellous trees.
Many Wildlife Trusts offer the chance to adopt animals and plants to support the work they do creating a wildlife-rich world. From hedgehogs to pine martens, otters, hares and ponies too –everyone can find a favourite!
Gift membership: for a present that lasts all year, check out gift membership from your local Wildlife Trust for friends or family. Some include special Christmas offers. Cheshire Wildlife Trust is including a free book; and a gift pack for membership of Wildlife Watch, the club for junior naturalists. New members of Devon Wildlife Trust will also receive a free Seedball tin of wildflower seeds, good for bees and butterflies.Enjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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