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Planning Retirement Online

The Great Outdoors

You can use the outdoors to provide you with interesting hobbies that will give you lots of fresh air and thus help to keep you healthy. Some of them we have already mentioned in the Physical Activities section, but there are many more, too.

Wildlife Gardening for Everyone

Gardening is perhaps the most common and popular outdoor hobby. Whether you like growing flowers or vegetables, or just enjoy gazing on your nicely -cut lawn, millions of us get tremendous enjoyment from pottering in the garden or on an allotment. There is a wealth of information available to give you tips on how to garden successfully. There are numerous television programmes and hundreds of books. Have a look at some of them at Amazon. You can even learn how to garden whilst being sympathetic to the wildlife in your garden.

Hobbies Groups and Links

Hobbies and Interests

Physical activities and sport

Mind Games

Creative Hobbies

The Great Outdoors

There is also an extensive guide to gardening in our Gardening Section in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society.

If you're completely new to gardening, take a look at our feature for beginners

The Secret Lives of Garden BirdsBirdwatching, or twitching if you do it seriously, is one of the most popular outdoor hobbies. There is a monthly on-line magazine for bird watchers, called Birds of Britain and, of course, a hard copy one, Bird Watching, that you can subscribe to through  . You can go on bird watching breaks, bird watching walks and there all sorts of other activities for bird watchers. So it’s a good way to maintain and increase your social contacts, too!

Flower Spotting is an activity that many people take a great deal of pleasure in. Of course, if you are a walker, you can always admire the flowers that you pass. There are many books that you can buy that will help you identify them. You could, if you wish, go on a course to learn to spot them. The Peak District National Park organises such courses that last for a day and which will help you get more you’re your flower spotting. You can find out about them at 

Keeping BeesBee Keeping is not everyone’s idea of a nice, relaxing hobby but a surprising number of people do it. If you fancy producing your own honey, or just keeping bees because you like them, it is a fascinating hobby. The British Bee Keepers’ Association has a beginner's guide on their website. Find out what’s involved to see if it’s for you.

Country Crafts. There are many country crafts that you can learn and then take up. Amongst them are dry stone walling, hedge laying, willow weaving green oak barn building. All of these crafts can be acquired and then practised if you are keen enough to do them. Type the name of the one you fancy into Google and take your investigations from there. The National Trust runs courses in various of the country crafts. Go to the website and then the Learning & Discovery section followed by adult learning. They also do courses in birdwatching (see above).and you can do archaeological digs with them.

Click here to see what’s available. You can also do archaeological digs with the National Trust.

As well as courses, The National Trust runs working holidays, during which you can help with a conservation survey, herd goats, paint a lighthouse or plant trees. You can, of course, just walk around their wonderful gardens and properties. How about a hobby that aims to do every National Trust garden or property in your area – or the whole country?!

Just being outside is good. However, if you can have an interest in the great outdoors, it will enhance your pleasure in your surroundings and help you appreciate them more. Is there anything here that you like the look of?

As well as these activities, the following might also tempt you:

  • Clearing ponds and ditches for your local conservation group
  • Becoming a warden for a common in your area
  • Volunteering to help the National Trust and/or English Heritage

Now, take a look through the other pages and see if anything takes your fancy – or something might trigger another inspiration. If you don’t find what you want, however, take a look at the Sports and Activities section, or go to Amazon where you will be certain to find a book on the hobby or interest of your choice

This Guide to Hobbies and Interests is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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