National Trust launches '50 things to do' challenge

A START was made in the North East yesterday on the 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ .

National Trust staff and children from Abbeyfields Primary School in Morpeth
National Trust staff and children from Abbeyfields Primary School in Morpeth

A START was made in the North East yesterday on the 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ .

The National Trust campaign in the region is challenging children, and those who are young at heart, to get off the sofa and tick off the activities on the list.

To kick-start the summer challenge, 400 National Trust staff, volunteers, schools and local community groups joined in ‘50 things’ events.

The trust’s Sadie Parker said: “It’s a really fun way for us to showcase the outdoor experiences that the National Trust offers.”

At Low Newton by the Sea on the Northumberland coast, 90 turned up to rockpool and decorate a giant sandcastle while, at Allen Banks in Northumberland, teenagers from Prudhoe High School and National Trust staff climbed an ancient beech tree.

Visitors and staff at Wallington took part in a challenge to complete 10 of the 50 activities before 10am including snail racing, den building, cooking on a campfire, and balancing on a fallen tree while at Gibside 50 staff and volunteers camped out on the estate on Sunday evening.

There were also activities at Souter Lighthouse in South Tyneside, where 75 trust staff, volunteers and school children made kites to fly on the adjacent Leas, and at Washington Old Hall, where 80 people from the local community spent the day looking for 50 bugs and creatures in the garden.

The trust has produced a wall chart outlining which of the 50 things can be done at each of their locations in the North East.

They include activities from skimming stones and climbing trees to building a den and tracking wild animals.

Liz Fisher, assistant director of operations for the National Trust in the North East, said: “The National Trust’s 50 things do to before you’re 11¾ campaign provides families with a bucket list of fun activities that they can do at home, at our free and open access coast and countryside sites, or at places like Wallington, Gibside and Cragside which are fantastic for exploration .

“The downloadable wall chart, available from our website, outlines where you can do each of the 50 activities.

“Our challenge is to complete as many of the activities as possible and have fun getting outdoors and closer to nature.”

Anyone wanting to download the chart should log on to


1 Climb a tree

2 Roll down a really big hill

3 Camp out in the wild

4 Build a den

5 Skim a stone

6 Run around in the rain

7 Fly a kite

8 Catch a fish with a net

9 Eat an apple straight from a tree

10 Play conkers

11 Throw some snow

12 Hunt for treasure on the beach

13 Make a mud pie

14 Dam a stream

15 Go sledging

16 Bury someone in the sand

17 Set up a snail race

18 Balance on a fallen tree

19 Swing on a rope swing

20 Make a mud slide

21 Eat blackberries growing wild

22 Take a look inside a tree

23 Visit an island

24 Feel like you’re flying in the wind

25 Make a grass trumpet

26 Hunt for fossils and bones

27 Watch the sun wake up

28 Climb a huge hill

29 Get behind a waterfall

30 Feed a bird from your hand

31 Hunt for bugs

32 Find some frogspawn

33 Catch a butterfly in a net

34 Track wild animals

35 Discover what’s in a pond

36 Call an owl

37 Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

38 Bring up a butterfly

39 Catch a crab

40 Go on a nature walk at night

41 Plant it, grow it, eat it

42 Go wild swimming

43 Go rafting

44 Light a fire without matches

45 Find your way with a map and compass

46 Try bouldering

47 Cook on a campfire

48 Try abseiling

49 Find a geocache

50 Canoe down a river


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer