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The Big Wild Sleep Out - Sleep out in some fantastic wildlife reserves

08/07/2013 22:01:27

Tawny owl. Photo Steve Knell/

Under Canvas: Nature's Nocturnal Wild Side!
July 2013. From 9 -11 August, people around the UK will discover what really goes bump in the night, as they take part in the RSPB's brand new Big Wild Sleepout. The charity is encouraging people to spend a night in nature's home and discover a secret night-time world on their doorstep.

Participants can spend a night in their garden, or at an organised sleepout event, getting acquainted with all that flaps, snuffles and crawls. They can also help the RSPB to give nature a home by getting their sleepouts sponsored by friends and family.

Night life
Richard Bashford, the RSPB's Big Wild Sleepout organiser, says: "I hope thousands of people will get involved with our Big Wild Sleepout this summer. "Imagine if you settled down and heard an owl calling, a fox barking or peaked out of your tent and saw a bat feeding overhead in the fading light. Or even, finally saw that elusive hedgehog that you've long suspected calls your garden home.

"What better way to engage with nature than to sleep out under the stars and be part of a UK-wide event with people sharing their experiences and surprises on facebook and twitter. We're also asking people to get sponsored to sleepout and raise money to give nature a home at the same time!"

Sleep out in RSPB Arne

Wouldn't it be fantastic to spend the night out in the wild surrounded by wildlife in a truly epic landscape? That's what's on offer in August at the RSPB's Arne reserve in Dorset as part of the RSPB's Big Wild Sleepout. On three consecutive nights, the reserve is running special "sleepover" events.

‘In tents' kicks off the weekend on Friday 9th August. Visitors can bring along their tents and spend the night on an idyllic private part of the reserve.

Saturday 10th August sees ‘Gimme Shelter' where it's no tents allowed! Instead the attendees will be making natural and manmade shelters in the ancient woodlands.

Finally, on Sunday 11th August the RSPB is challenging the public to sleep at Arne without any shelter at all, just you, your sleeping bag and a fire.

The 550 hectare reserve has never run events overnight before so participants will be the first ever to experience this truly wild site, afterhours. All three include a guided night walk and a locally sourced meal cooked by The Dorset Charcuterie over a fire. The events must be booked in advance.The RSPB's Rob Farrington said ‘This is a great opportunity to get outside and have fun in the wild. On each night we'll be getting back to nature, tracking down some nocturnal wildlife, eating local food and all in the idyllic setting of the RSPB Arne nature reserve. "So if you want to learn how to make your own shelter for the night, or wake up to the sun rising over Poole Harbour or just want to be one of the very first people to experience Arne at night, this is your chance.'

 Hedgehog at dusk.

Photo credit Laurie Campbell ( 

 Sleep out on an RSPB reserve


The RSPB is also organising sleepout events across the UK for those who don't have a garden or who want a wilder time in some truly inspiring locations! With special night time activities from food and stories around the camp fire to a night time stroll, this is the ultimate summer sleepout experience. All events are different and a full list is available on the RSPB website.

To help encourage even more people to sleep out, the RSPB has joined forces with Blacks, the outdoor retailer.

Ken Reeve, CEO of Blacks, says: "Blacks is extremely proud to be part of this tremendous initiative. We are wholly supportive of any campaign that encourages more people to engage with nature and we see the Big Wild Sleepout as an ideal platform to encourage families to experience the outdoors together."

The Big Wild Sleepout is part of the RSPB's new Giving Nature a Home campaign which is aimed at inspiring everyone to provide a place for wildlife wherever they live and however big their outside space is.

For more information and ideas on how to make the most of your Big Wild Sleepout, and for details of events near you, visit:



Sleep wild at Loch Leven nature reserve!

For one night only, as part of the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleep Out, we are giving you the chance to camp out in the wild on the spectacular Loch Leven reserve. Bring along your tent, go out on a guided night walk, enjoy story telling round the campfire and wake up in a truly beautiful corner of Scotland for a magical dawn walk.

Please contact Lisa or Nicki on 0131 3174100 or email for more details!

The entrance fee includes...

  • camping out on the Loch Leven nature reserve
  • family friendly activities
  • BBQ facilities (food not included)
  • free guided nightwalk
  • storytelling around the campfire
  • catching moths
  • dawn walk
  • breakfast in the morning




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