The beauty of this research project is that it showcases the whole range of hillforts that can be found in the countryside like pearls on a necklace. It takes you beyond the really well-known and much visited sites and demonstrates how fundamental these places have been to the story of these islands over hundreds of years.
Telling stories that inspire must be at the heart of getting people back into nature and captivating the next generation. Films and radio produced by the Natural History Unit will without any doubt play an essential role in allowing us to see the sheer beauty and diversity of wildlife around the world and getting us in to nature in our own backyard.
Close your eyes for a minute. Think of a favourite place on the coast. Tune into your memory sound bank and start to imagine the sounds that fill the airwaves. It could be the sounds from the days spent at the coast as a kid when the day felt like it would never end. Or it might be a trip to a seabird colony clinging to the cliffs and creating an intense wall of sound.
These memories of days at the seaside as children are part of our national DNA. Millions of Brits head to the coast every year. And there is a rich social history of the connections between the big cities and the nearest stretch of coastline.
As a nation shaped by the coast and drawn to the sea the news, announced by the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, that a coastal footpath around the shores of England will be completed ten years early by 2020 represents one great big stride to opening up access to a remarkable coastline.
This place, which in area is the same as 50 football pitches, is dripping with the history that encapsulates the story of the British Isles... These jewels in the National Trust crown have drawn people for a huge variety of reasons. Whether as a place to escape the rat race, a place to be at one with nature or a place to fire the imagination.
Millions of us spend a fair amount of time daydreaming about being at the coast. Living by the sea with those views into what appears to be infinity and the dreamy sunrises and sunsets has enchanted generations. And yet that sense of things always being the same at the seaside, a constant in a turning world, seems to be changing.
I'm no expert but the very wet and mild winter that we're having must be very confusing for our feathered friends. Their biological clocks will have started to tick early as they will be thinking that we're heading towards the first day of spring rather than being stuck still in the middle of winter. That's the beauty of nature: you don't need to be Sir David Attenborough to understand how the weather is affecting the natural world...
It's the age old question that parents have to face up to every year: will my kid(s) have enough presents to open on Christmas Day. How much is enough we ponder? And will they like them? We try to get that balance right between fun toys and educational toys. As the cash registers tick over we will be tempted to throw caution to the wind heading home with bags full of goodies.
Technology has revolutionised the way that we live in just one generation bringing with it a huge transformation. As the saying goes 'information is power' and we have the ability to participate in a plethora of activities whether sat on the sofa or on a train to work.
Without really noticing we've been heading towards the end of the traditional outdoors childhood. Something that many millions of adults took for granted is becoming the exception rather than the norm for today's children, where-ever they live. Roaming ranges are down, physical activity is down and the ability of children to identify common wildlife is being lost.
Stone skimming nestles at number five on the new '50 things to do before 11 3/4' list published by the National Trust this week... Stone skimming, that timeless past time that generations have enjoyed. Whether you skim yours on a beach, lake or river the experience and emotions are the same. This is partly about accuracy and technique but it's also about pride and raw emotion.
In recent years there has been a boom in community led initiatives from creating new woodlands to running an orchard. These places, which are often quite small, can bring people together to share the wonder of being immersed in nature and seeing how the seasons change.
The White Cliffs appeal has shown that despite the challenging economic climate that we live in today that people do still really care for special places and will come together to help save them for future generations to enjoy.
Making nature part of children's everyday experience is a simple and effective way of plugging them into the world around them. Children are naturally inquisitive and love to explore; it's about getting them hooked and excited about the simple things. It could be about watching ants marching to their nests, snails clinging to a wall or birds singing in a tree.
Going on a walk allows us to take a step back from our daily routine. You can feel the wind in your face, the changing of the seasons, the excitement of coming across a beautiful building or the buzz from immersing yourself in a rich social history.
Octavia Hill championed the 'environment' at the height of the industrial revolution when our towns and cities were expanding rapidly. For her the environment was the link between where we live and the way we live: about everything from the quality of our housing to access to green spaces.
13/08/2012 12:15 BST
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