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Walking in a winter wonderland

Enjoy some winter sunshine and feel happier and healthier says BBOWT's Wendy Tobitt

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Nick and Muffin enjoy a winter walk at Wokefield Common. Picture: Charlie Gray

Just as we decorate our homes with glitter and tinsel as a way of celebrating light in midwinter, we can feel happier and healthier enjoying sunshine on a brisk walk in the countryside.
Sunshine boosts levels of serotonin, which is our natural ‘happy’ hormone, and if we combine sunlight with outdoor exercise in green spaces, such as a cycle ride or walk on a nature reserve, we feel even better thanks to increased endorphins. Ric Mellis captured his family having fun on a wild walk (below).

Why not combine a winter walk in the sunshine with photography, as Charlie Gray from Calcot did last December? This year he’s won two prizes in the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust’s Oxford Festival of Nature Photography Competition.
Charlie is a keen amateur photographer and usually takes his bridge camera with him on walks.
But out with his son Nick and their collie cross terrier dog Muffin, he only had a smartphone to capture the afternoon sunlight streaming through the trees at Wokefield Common nature reserve near Aldermaston (main picture).
Charlie won the Wildlife Trust’s People and Wildlife and Smartphone categories in the photography competition.

Having a family photo competition, just for fun, while walking around Hosehill Lake near Theale, led 14-year-old Adam Dewar from Lower Earley to capture this amazing close-up shot of an Essex Skipper butterfly on wild carrot (above).
Adam won the family competition on that day and snapped up the Wildlife Trust’s Young Photographer Award too.
If you’re inspired by the sparkle and glitter of sunlight, and enjoy exploring the colours and textures of the natural landscape, then book a place on BBOWT’s Winter Wildlife Photography course on Saturday, February 10, at the Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham.
This is a practical day with expert wildlife photographer Iain Green giving individual tuition to suit beginners and intermediate photographers, who are keen to capture the very best of the winter wildlife.

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