On Saturday 31st October, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown for England. From Thursday 5th November, non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants will once again close, to help curb the spread of COVID-19. You can read all the latest guidance here.
With the nights drawing in and restrictions tightening, many of us will be spending more time indoors — but that doesn't mean we can't embrace our daily dose of nature. Looking for ways to enjoy the beauty of nature during lockdown? Take a look at some inspiration below, as well as what we can still do according to government guidelines.
Of course, while undertaking the below, you must observe social distancing guidelines, wash your hands regularly and wear face coverings where you can.
1. Local playgrounds will stay open
Unlike the first lockdown in spring, children's playgrounds will be kept open this November. You can head to your local playground for some much-needed fresh air with your children, while observing social distancing. Pack a flask of coffee and hand sanitiser.
2. Take regular local walks
The guidelines explain that we can still enjoy heading out for walks. We are also allowed to meet one person from another household outdoors but, while doing so, we must maintain social distancing. The government adds: "You should minimise time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble."
3. Visit the garden centre
From November 5th, garden centres will remain open. When visiting one, you must maintain social distancing, wear a face covering where possible and consider it an essential shopping trip.
4. Sit in your garden
Come rain or shine, make the most of your garden. Slip on a warm jacket and embrace the beauty of winter. Depending on where you live, some of the gorgeous birds you might spot at this time of year include a Kestrel, Blue Tit, Barn Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Waxwing.
Remember that you can only enjoy your garden with your own household and support bubble. We will not be allowed to host members of other households in our gardens from 5th November.
5. Feed the birds
During the crisp winter months, food for birds is often scarce. A great way to embrace nature during lockdown is to provide our flying friends with extras on the bird table, as well as nesting materials.
Even in the winter, there can be spells without rain and if the temperature drops below freezing, dehydration can be a real threat for small birds. Always make sure you keep an eye on your bird bath, ensuring it's topped up with fresh water.
6. Listen to birdsong online
Celebrate nature's greatest chorus by tuning in online to the sweet symphony of birds. It might not be quite the same as hearing them in the springtime, but it's a surefire way to boost your spirits when it's miserable outside. Previously, The Wildlife Trusts provided sounds of many beautiful birds for everyone to access online. Click on the bird to hear it's stunning morning song...
7. Tune in to Autumnwatch
BBC Two's Autumnwatch has returned to our screens, bringing us a double dose of live wildlife updates from all over the UK. If you're looking for a fun way to while away an evening, tune in to watch Chris Packham, Meghan McCubbin, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams present from different locations.
Our favourite heartwarming moment so far? The birth of a grey seal pup.
Missed an episode? You can tune in on BBC YouTube, iPlayer or at www.bbc.co.uk/autumnwatch.
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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