Are you up for a challenge or keen to try something new? The modern older generation are saying ‘why not!’
The results of a recent survey commissioned by Camping in the Forest, alongside celebrity ambassador Janet Ellis, revealed that today’s over 60s are truly a ‘Why Not’ generation, with 76% of over 60s saying they feel younger than their true age and 44% saying they feel between 10-15 years younger than they actually are. Generation ‘Why Not’ are also trying out more new experiences, such as learning to fly a plane, parascending, and white-water rafting.
However, despite this active social life, a whopping 61% of over 60s admit to not exercising regularly, with 13% never exercising at all, demonstrating that while they may feel young at heart, they need to balance their wellbeing with fitness.
Janet Ellis, said: “As someone who is just 62 years young, I’m enjoying all life has to offer. Some of my favourite activities include going on walking holidays and hiking, anything where I’m outside being active. 60 really isn’t old, so it’s great to see ‘Generation Why Not’ dispelling the stereotypical views of this age group.
“However, it’s important that as part of this, we remember to get outdoors in the fresh air, keeping fit and active, whilst keeping our mind and our souls happy too.”
Bob Hill, sites director at Camping in the Forest, added: “At 60 you know what you enjoy doing, you have less responsibility and you’re likely to have more financial freedom than you’ve had before.
“Nonetheless… we need to ensure this is balanced with keeping physically fit. A great way to do this is by cycling, walking or hiking in the great outdoors’.
With this in mind, MT stayed at one of the Camping in the Forest sites for a long weekend, spending a very enjoyable three nights at the beautiful Bracelands campsite in the Forest of Dean. Born out of a partnership with the Forestry Commission, Camping in the Forest have 15 campsites across England and Scotland, all of which offer camping pitches for motorhomes, caravans and tents with the Bracelands site in particular also home to five camping pods. All the campsites have direct access to forests, miles of foot and cycle paths and offer some of the best camping in the UK.
As our tent has long since come to the end of its useful (and weather proof) life we opted for a camping pod, which for the uninitiated, are wooden structures designed for those who want something more comfortable than a tent. Complete with carpet, electric sockets, lighting, your own decked area and an oil filled radiator for colder nights, the pod was ready to go – all we needed to do was unpack the camp bed, table, chairs and stove, and we were in!
The site is in the most idyllic location; a good half-mile off the road and so no traffic noise to spoil a good night’s sleep. In the middle of mature forest, managed by the Forestry Commission, the local wildlife is not far from your pod door with swallows swooping over the site. Peace and quite, light-pollution free skies, and nesting birds in the washing-up area, added to the enjoyment.
The on-site staff were all very welcoming, friendly and always helpful. The facilities and the site are well managed. Tents, caravans and camper vans are all welcome, as are dogs with well-behaved owners. There’s a small shop/reception area selling some essentials, providing local tourist information and offering help should you have any queries. The site closes to cars between 10.30pm – 7.30am to make sure there are no uninvited wild boar guests!
There are number of foot and cycle paths accessible directly from the site, so you can just head off straight from your pitch. As soon as we’d unpacked we were off on foot exploring the cycle path that circled the outer perimeter of the site. We saw deer and many woodland birds and had the chance to chat with others taking in the fabulous woodland. A relaxed evening on our deck with a picnic supper and a few drinks was as restorative as it was enjoyable.
Saturday morning saw us setting off to walk to Symonds Yatt on a circular route recommended by one of the very helpful site staff. This 6.5 mile walk takes in the delights of the forest and included: an exciting footbridge; wonderful riverside scenery; a trip on a hand ferry; a jaunt up Symonds Yatt Rock (pretty exhausting, but well worth the effort) and a look through the local RSPB volunteers’ monoscope to see if we could spot the Peregrines nesting on the cliff (we couldn’t unfortunately). Late evening drinks on the deck (again) and another good night’s sleep beckoned.
Sunday saw us take a trip to magical Puzzlewood. This fabulous ancient wood has amazing rock formations and is truly enchanting. Famed as a film and TV location, it is credited with inspiring J.R.R Tolkein’s forests of Middle Earth.
Lydney Harbour is also a must-see. There has been a dock here from Roman times right through to the 20th century and the area is steeped in history. A pleasant accessible walk around the dock and the harbour is definitely worth doing; great river views and numerous reminders of the area’s illustrious past.
If you enjoyed camping and the great outdoors in your younger days or even if you’ve never camped before but love the countryside, then consider Camping in the Forest. As Camping in the Forest’s Bob Hill says: ‘We’re all about embracing nature at Camping in the Forest, and we hope that we can encourage ‘Generation Why Not’ to do the same and use it to keep themselves fit and active.”
So this summer, why not venture into the forest, spend a few nights under the stars and get out and enjoy the countryside.
For more information on Camping in the Forest, please visit: www.campingintheforest.co.uk or telephone: 024 7642 3008
For tourist information on the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean, please visit: http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/