Things to do for FREE on Avon Meadows


Not sure what to do when you get to Avon Meadows?  Have a look though our list of suggestions for fun, exploration, learning and relaxing, why not try a few yourself?

Go bird watching
With 135 species of birds recorded on the meadows, you can be sure of spotting a few of our feathered friends. Binoculars can help, but sharp eyes are often all you need. For younger visitors, print off the Bird Picture List you can find here and see how many birds you can spot during your visit!

Walk the dog
Lots of people already do this on Avon Meadows, it’s a great way to keep fit and meet like-minded people.  The majority of our dog walkers are very considerate and pick up after their dog, but a few don’t, so please watch your step


Record the changing seasons
When did you see your first leaf of spring, your first butterfly, or notice the leaves turning brown in autumn? This is called phenology and some people have been keeping these sorts of records for years.

Feed the ducks
Have you thought about what wild ducks eat? Pondweed, leaves, seeds and the occasional water bug or snail are usually on the menu.  You can help them stay healthy by feeding them your cut up vegetable peelings, or bird seed, rather than bread.  It’s better for them and no plastic bags left behind.


Hunt for tracks
Snow and mud are great for tracking, but you’ll probably need to find somewhere off the main paths to do this.  Dog and people tracks will probably be most common, but you might spot fox, bird, or if you’re very lucky, the webbed and clawed print of an otter.

And there are other signs...  Animal tracks & signs activity sheet

Go bug hunting
 Life in the undergrowth can be fascinating.  You don’t need special equipment, perhaps a paintbrush a small clear pot or jar and some white paper.  We operate a catch and release programme for all our wildlife, so if you do catch a bug, let them go again. Tips on bug hunting can be found here.

Create some wild art
Make a piece of art from what you find lying around. The ground can be your canvas; sticks, leaves, seeds, pebbles and flowers your paint and brushes.  You can leave it for others to find or sweep it away when you’re done.

Join a work party
Do you love Avon Meadows and want to help look after it? Our weekend work parties are a great way to keep fit, meet new people and keep Avon Meadows great for people and wonderful for wildlife.


Wave to a river boat
Smile and give them a big friendly wave from the river bank 

Count the butterflies
It’s not as easy as it sounds! With their darting flight that constantly changes direction and excellent camouflage, chasing butterflies is wonderful fun. Why not learn to name a few common ones as well?

Fly a kite
With our huge open fields and few trees, Avon Meadows is a perfect place to fly a kite.  Just watch out for other people while you do, and keep well away from the river and pools, because soggy string doesn’t fly well.

Join our moth group
This is when the night shift takes over.  There are over 330 species of moth recorded so far on the meadows, and if you’re interested in learning more about moths, why not join us to find out more.

Learn about plants
Use one of the great identification websites or apps suggested on the Links page and discover something new… right under your feet!


Fish for tiddlers
Time to get out the beach gear; a net and small bucket are all you need.


Make a teasel hedgehog
Carefully pick a prickly teasel head, leaving a bit of stalk on the end to make your hedgehog’s nose.  Trim off the prickles from one side of your hedgehog so it will lie flat and trim its nose to shape. Then you can either give it eyes and a nose by sticking black headed pins into the teasel, or scrunching up and sticking on little bits of coloured paper. Ta dah!

Watch the clouds change
Take a few minutes to look up and see how the clouds are changing above you. 

Scrunch frozen leaves under your feet
Wait for a good frosty day, find a pile of leaves and scrunch away. Try other textures like frozen mud (be careful) or grass and see how they feel and sound underfoot.

Stick burrs on yourself
Go on, make patterns with them, just make sure you’re not wearing your best jumper!  Have a close look at what makes them sticky.

Go pond dipping
There’s a whole different world under the water and its best to go prepa
red, or better still if it’s your first time, join an organised dip.

Pond dipping activity sheet 

Make a leaf and mud drawing 
Take a stick, collect some fallen leaves, find some mud and draw away.  You can smooth it over and start again as many times as you like.


Have a picnic
Grab a blanket, find your spot and relax.

Run your hands through the reed heads
Walk along the boardwalk in later summer and the reeds form a green tunnel around you.  Just reach out and touch them.

Pick blackberries
Sweet and juicy, blackberries are a big part of Autumn, but you have to fight to get them.  They’ll stain your fingers and clothes, scratch and stab at you, so make sure you go prepared.

Take a photograph
Or more than one, take as many as you like and if you take some good ones, we’d love to see them!

Find some frogspawn
Spring warms the water in the ponds and ditches and soon the frogspawn starts to appear.  Why not pick a patch and watch the tadpoles develop, hatch and slowly become frogs?

Join our bird survey
Every week we count the number of different birds around the meadows.  If you’ve got an ear for birdsong and an eye for plumage, why not join our group?

Enjoy the peace
Find yourself a quiet spot and take 5 minutes, or as long as you’d like to relax and listen to the sounds around you

Paint a picture
Whatever your style or medium, you can find inspiration down on the meadows.

Go for a run
It’s so much better than a treadmill down the gym. The level paths make an ideal track and there’s plenty to see.

Track a dragon (fly)
The best place to start is near water.  Their glittering jewel-like colours give them away, darting around patrolling their territory. Spend some time watching how they fly, how they settle and how they hunt.


Simple safety tips

Safe pond dipping advice is available from ROSPA

Always wear sensible boots or shoes.  Many places can be muddy or slippery, so watch your step.

Only pick or eat things that you absolutely know are safe.  If in doubt, don’t.

Make sure any cuts or grazes are covered before playing around mud, soil or water and always wash your hands properly after any visit, before you eat or drink anything.

Check the weather before you go out and make sure you have the right clothes for the conditions.  Avoid trees in strong winds.

Avon Meadows is part of the flood plain for the River Avon.  You can check for flood warnings on the Environment Agency website

Watch out for plants and insects that bite and sting.  In summer, pollen levels can get very high, too.

If you’re going out on your own, tell somewhere where you’re going and when you’ll be back. If you’re going to be near water, take someone with you.

If you catch any wildlife, handle it gently, only keep it for as short a time as possible, then please put it back where it came from.


The Friends of Avon Meadows CIO is a Registered Charity, registered number 1174083