Nature hobbies
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • The appreciation of the natural world around us is something that interests many people, whether they live in the towns and cities or the countryside.  

  • This interest may be a fairly casual one, observing wild flowers, trees and birds when walking or cycling, or be part of more organised nature study of some kind.

  • The range of possible aspects of the natural world that can be of interest is wide, covering insects and water life, small mammals and different mushrooms and toadstools, as well as the more obvious birds and wild flowers.  For more information on the possibilities, consult the specialist organisations below.  

  • For some people, the interest in the natural world is part of a wider concern about conservation and the current state of the natural environment. 

Find out more


British Association of Nature Conservationists  01604 405285
British Entomological and Natural History Society  0118 9321402
British Naturalists' Association  01920 830527
Royal Society for Nature Conservation/Wildlife Trusts  01522 544400

British Ornithologists' Union Online
Interbird net on-line 
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds  01767 680551

Field Studies Council  01306 883849
The Wild Flower Page


BBC Wildlife 
Natural World 
Bird Watching 
Butterfly Conservation News

Getting started

  • Find a local nature study group or club covering the areas that interest you (see organisations above).

  • Take a class or course at your local adult education centre.  See if your local group offers introductory sessions or events.

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of nature study.

  • Check in your local library/paper, local nature reserve or education centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • Anyone, whatever their age or sex, can develop an interest in nature hobbies, and no special knowledge is needed to start looking at and learning about the natural world. 

  • Much of the study side of nature hobbies can be done at home on your own, and it is also possible to learn and appreciate much from the natural life that surrounds the home, even in towns and cities.  

  • But many people also like to leave home to observe natural life in other locations.  And they can get stimulus and social contact from belonging to a group of like minded enthusiasts.  

  • This can be a local group which organises trips and events on a more or less regular basis, or a one off group sharing a special weekend or holiday trip. 

Equipment or clothing
  • There is no really essential equipment or clothing for nature hobbies, though guides of different kinds help with identification.  Notebooks may be useful to record what you find or see.  

  • Bird watchers often have binoculars, while those going regularly on field trips may want to have special weatherproof clothing (see rambling).

A place or facilities
  • No special facilities are needed to observe the world around us, but, for visits to special sites and countryside, transport is required.  

  • This may be organised by any group to which you belong.

Have a go - get started now 

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