The Buckingham Otters Auction

After a Summer of Otter Spotting, the Buckingham Otters Bidding Extravaganza Begins

Did you fall in love with the otters? Would you like to become the proud owner of one? Our final key event of the project, the Buckingham Otter Auction is here and bidding opens this Friday 24th September 2021!

The Buckingham Otter Trail was a temporary feel-good public art installation featuring ten 3ft tall sized otter sculptures. Sponsored by local businesses and organisations, the otters were decorated by professional artists, school children and community groups which brought much excitement to the town over summer.

Photograph of painted otter sculptures

Following the removal of the otter-tastic sculptures at the end of the trail and their appearance at the first-ever Celebrate Buckingham event, Buckingham Town Council will now say their final farewells to the beloved otters as they swim away to their new forever homes.

Chairman of the Town Centre Events Committee Cllr Robin Stuchbury said “After a summer of giving so many people pleasure the otters are going up for auction, if you’ve enjoyed seeing the otters this is your opportunity to purchase one and by doing so you’ll be contributing to the Mayor’s charities and benefiting our local community, in the very same way the otters have throughout the summer. So please don’t miss this one off opportunity of owning your own Buckingham otter and by doing so you’ll be helping others”.

The bidding will be taking place online using social media and the Town Council website. Each week one otter will be added to the auction, you will have nearly two weeks to make your highest bid.  The otter being auctioned will be on display at the Tourist Information Centre. Bids may be submitted through the Town Council website and by telephone.

The online event will see our large sculptures auctioned, with profits to be split equally between the Mayor’s Charities and a future similar event next summer. The Mayor’s Charities are Project Street Life and Community Care North Bucks, which includes YC2 Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers, North Bucks Carers, Open House and the Hospital Car Service. We could not be more delighted to raise money for these worthy causes, pouring funds straight back into supporting the community and making another sculpture trail next summer for everyone to enjoy.

If you wish to find out more information about the auction or one or more of the otter sculptures, please visit www.buckingham-tc.gov.uk

We’ll be sad to wave goodbye to our otters but we’re sure there are wonderful things on the horizon for them in their new homes!

It’s Blooming Spring!

This Saturday 20th March 2021 is the Spring Equinox. The Spring Equinox marks the beginning of spring and from this day forward the day is longer than the night which means extra daylight. After the cold and gloomy winter, springs warmer weather puts a smile on everyone’s face. There are many reasons to enjoy spring including, brighter days, colourful flowers, green trees, birds return, bees and butterflies reappear, the list could go on and on!

Spring is the perfect season because it’s not too cold and not too hot to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. With this in mind, we have put together a Spring Spotter Sheet for young children to enjoy while on their walks. Buckingham has some lovely walks, for more information, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham. Don’t forget to check out Buckingham’s Community Heritage app Buxplore. Remote access has currently been enabled so if you are still self isolating you can still enjoy a visual tour around the streets and parks of Buckingham, completing activities, questions, and mysteries from home.

We would love to see some photos of you out and about completing the Spring Spotter Sheet. Please send your photos to us via private message on Facebook, or tag us on your post using #SpringSpotter @BuckinghamTC and don’t forget to tell us what you thought to be entered into a prize draw to win a reusable water bottle. We will do our best to share as many of your photos as possible. Happy hunting!

Buckingham Otter Trail

The Buckingham Otter Trail 2021 was a temporary feel good public art event featuring ten individually decorated, 3ft sized otter sculptures displayed across town and surrounding green spaces from July 23rd - August 31st.

The trail was a fantastic way for residents and visitors to explore Buckingham and find out more about its businesses, artists and local attractions. Sponsored by local businesses and organisations, the otters were beautifully decorated by professional artists, school children and community groups in all sorts of colours and mediums which brought much excitement to the town over summer.

The free, inclusive public art sculpture trail was the perfect family friendly day out and made many happy memories. All ten otters were together one final time which gave people a chance to say their final farewells at the first ever Celebrate Buckingham Event. If you didn't get a chance to do the the trail you can read all about it below.

The sculptures will now be auctioned off to raise funds for the Mayor's charities and to support a future similar event in 2022.

Otter name: Jeff

Our design was inspired by the natural world around Buckingham and wanted to reflect the animals, birds and insects we have seen on our many walks during lockdown. The design incorporates lots of ideas taken from the year 6 children and discussions we had around the theme. We liked the idea that you could find lots of different creatures hidden around the sculpture and hoped that it would appeal to both young and old, counting the insects, finding the toad or even the hedgehog! We named him Jeff - not entirely sure how that happened - he's enjoying being in our school reception at the moment welcoming visitors!

I'm a primary school teacher at Buckingham Primary school specialising in art. When not at school I am also an artist exhibiting my work in galleries working in predominantly oils and watercolours. I also teach adults art at Vitreus Art Gallery, Towcester. I have been chair for many years of Buckingham Art for All - a popular local community art group

Heritage & Sons are proud to serve the wider community in Buckinghamshire and to support the fantastic Buckingham Otter Trail. We are part of CPJ Field, a leading family-run funeral service provider which operates funeral homes across South East England. At CPJ Field we understand that no two lives are the same, which is why every funeral we arrange is completely individual too. Whether you’re making the arrangements for a loved one or prudently planning your own, we’re here for you in every way. Over the past three centuries, CPJ Field has been actively owned and managed by the Field family through ten generations. It is our solemn promise to help you to make your funeral experience as personal and individual as possible.

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Otter name: Canalotto

Artist: Zoe Day

Zoë Day is a professional artist who has lived in and around Buckingham all of her life. Zoë studied art from a young age learning to paint wildlife with her grandmother. She went on to learn techniques and methods from some of the most prestigious art institutions including the Florence Academy, Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art and the Heatherley’s in Chelsea. Zoë set up her own Art School in 2010 and is still passionate about teaching the joy of painting in her weekly classes, while principally engaged in modern landscape painting and exhibition/commission work.

Zoë’s inspiration for this otter comes from her love of the Buckinghamshire landscape and countryside and is a celebration of this amazing project by the Canal Society to transform a disused waterway into a beautiful sanctuary for local wildlife. Try to see how many different creatures you can spot on her design!

The Buckingham Canal Society are proud to be supporting the Buckingham Otter trail. Our aim is to fully restore the 10 miles of the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal, from Cosgrove right through to Buckingham. At Bourton Meadow, where our otter is located, you can see a restored ¼ mile stretch of the canal, which is a haven for many species of wildlife and flora, including kingfishers, reed warblers, herons, various butterflies, dragonflies and fish species, water voles, and even grass snakes, which love a swim on a warm day’!

‘We welcome new members and volunteers to join us; membership starts from just £4 per year - and our volunteers need no skills other than a desire to get involved, whether weekly or infrequently. We hold regular work parties at Bourton Meadow, Hyde Lane (2 miles from Buckingham) and Cosgrove, during the week and on weekends, or you can volunteer to help with admin, finance, marketing, grant applications - and much more. You can find out more at www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk

‘We would like to give a special thank you to our amazing Otter Artist, Zoe Day, who is from Buckingham who painted the wonderful Canalotto’.

Otter name: Lockii

Artist: Young people at My FutureSelf Matters

MyFutureSelf Matters with the support from local residents Charlotte and Justin who wanted to highlight the amazing work Carl was doing for local Buckingham School children: "We covered the otter in a key/padlock covering to highlight MyFutureSelf unlocking the potential of young people in the Buckingham area. We then got our young people to come up with words that related to their lives and that tied in with emotional well-being, these words were then coloured in by some of the young people completing our mentoring programme’. The young people chose the name Lockii because this is a reflection of the lock and key covering.is a mentoring service who support young people in Buckinghamshire with their mental health, lifestyle and wellbeing.

Carl is the founder and owner of MyFutureSelf Matters. It is a mentoring service that supports young people in Buckinghamshire with their mental health, lifestyle and wellbeing. They offer 1:1 support in person or online and work with children from 10 to 24 years old. MyFutureSelf Matters aim to equip young people with tools and strategies to increase their emotional health, resilience and improve their overall well-being.

Otter name: Prints of the Future

We wanted all Roundwood children to be part of painting our otter for the trail so we decided the best way to do that was by decorating our sculpture with fingerprints. We named our otter 'Prints of the Future' as one day, in the not-too-distant future, it will be the hands from these prints that serve our community. The children thoroughly enjoyed decorating with their fingerprints and watching as the number of prints grew with a visit to each year group. We have to say we really fell for our otter sculpture and were all sad when it had to be collected but we hope people will enjoy finding it as a part of the trail.

Gawcott Solar CIC is a not for profit enterprise which owns a community solar array at Gawcott Fields Farm between Gawcott and Buckingham. The 4.17 megawatt solar array is made up of over 16,000 solar panels and is expected to generate over 4 million kWh of renewable electricity each year. That’s equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of around 1,000 homes. Surplus income generated by the solar array (after operating and financing costs) is used so support community projects in the local area.

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Otter name: Lacey

The children were really excited to be part of the community otter project. The first thing we did was to decide if it was a boy or a girl. We put boy and girl written on two pieces of paper in a hat and one was pulled out. Girl was drawn, so we named her Lacey. The idea for the pattern was inspired by the history of the area around Lace Hill and Buckingham. Many of the street names have a lace or sewing source, Catchpin Street, Bobbins Way, Threads Lane and Linen Lane. I thought it would be relevant to our estate and the Buckingham area to try and reflect and depict the historical lace-making past. I thought decorating the otter with a lacey pattern would reflect this. The children painted the base colour of dark purple and cream for her tummy and then a ‘lacey’ pattern was stenciled on the top with a doily to break up the base colour. They worked in small groups throughout the week to stencil the patterns. The children then wanted to add some bright colours so they decided on yellows for the tummy and tail and pinks for the main body. The children were very proud of the finished result and were sad when Lacey left to get varnished.

Barratt David Wilson Homes is part of Barratt Developments plc - the country’s leading house-builder. Barratt is committed to building quality homes and this year received more NHBC Pride in the Job Quality awards than any other house-builder for the 16th year in a row and was awarded 5 stars by the HBF for customer satisfaction for the eleventh year in a row.

As a house-builder that is committed to supporting the communities in which it builds, Barratt David Wilson Homes, who are currently building at selection of 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes at its St Rumbold’s Fields development in Buckingham, is proud to sponsor the Buckingham Otter Trail this year. It’s a great opportunity for residents and visitors to get behind local businesses and engage with a fantastic community event, as well as adding some fun public art to the local area.

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Otter name: Patchy

Our Year 2 class chose an Elmer inspired patchwork design for our otter. The whole class took part, with each child designing and painting a section. The children wanted to make his fur appear realistic so opted for tones of brown. They thoroughly enjoyed the design process and were very proud of their finished product.

Howes the Florist has been on Nelson Street in Buckingham for over 70 years, offering flowers for all of life's big occasions and here to celebrate the small joys too. Our hand delivery floral gifts are created by our wonderful team and available 6 days a week, delivered locally.

The otter trail is a wonderful idea and having grown up in this beautiful market town we wanted to be part of raising the profile of our amazing local community. We are fortunate to be among the families benefitting for YC2 (Young Careers Buckingham), Our three children have attended village schools, as have my parents, Grandparents, Aunts and siblings. The pandemic has shown what an amazing community spirit we have in Buckingham and we are so proud to be part of this wonderful town.

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Otter name: Olive Otterson

Olive Otterson was decorated by the Students' Union.

The University is delighted to participate in the Otter Trail initiative. Positive relationships with our local community are really important to the university and we love seeing residents enjoying our campus facilities. The University has educated thousands of students from all over the word for almost fifty years and we employ many of our staff from within the community. We hope the Otter Trail and our University Otter will encourage families to make use of the University Bookshop and (if Covid guidelines allow) that you make a visit to the Vinson Building and experience the University Café. We very much look forward to welcoming you.

The University of Buckingham Bookshop owner Alison Cameron: “We are the only independent bookshop in Buckingham and you can find us in the Vinson Building on Hunter Street. We stock all sorts of beautiful books and our in-store selection of children’s books are always half price! We can get most books the next day and there is a lovely local customer discount. We recommend based on our customer reviews and also work with local schools making sure the best books are available to all ages of children. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or email book.shop@buckingham.ac.uk or call on 01280 820365. We are passionate about promoting a love of reading whether you’re 1 or 101!"

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Otter name: Monty

There was much excitement when we received our otter and decisions turned to how it should be decorated. Many suggestions were submitted but we decided to settle on a doodle design in the style of Mr Doodle. We felt this would allow the children maximum range of creativity whilst have a theme running throughout all the designs. We liked the idea of lots of individual ideas being knitted together through the use of simple black lines.
The children were introduced to the work of Mr Doodle and asked to design their own doodle idea to be included on the otter. We wanted the children to be able to express their own creativity so left the theme quite open. Initially, we had ideas come in that were quite animal based and you’ll see some designs around Disney too.

Bucks Radio is the new sound of Buckinghamshire, aiming to bring local radio back to the county. We've been overwhelmed by the support we've received so far, and are looking forward to becoming a part of Bucks life. Between them, our team have been working, and broadcasting, in the area for over 40 years, so we understand what matters to you. Right now we're broadcasting online, via smart speakers and app, meaning you can take us with you wherever you go. We have the latest news, weather and travel, and loads of community information, including our free What's On Guide and features like Charity Friday.

We're supporting local business, and have a variety of advertising and sponsorship packages available, and are happy to talk about bespoke competitions and partnerships. We are looking forward to the relaxation of current restrictions so that we can get out and about in the local community again.

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Otter name: Jimmy Fisher

Artist: YC2/ Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers and designer Kate Lowe

Sponsor: Buckingham Town Council

We were invited to take part in the Buckingham Town Council’s project intended to encourage families to come back into the town centre after the restrictions of the last 18 months.

Week one was when the team were introduced to the metre-high, life-sized Otter who quickly was named ‘Jimmy Fisher’. The team walked around him, studied him and took part in a 10 question UK Otter Quiz which helped them make their designs really personal to our own otter population. Each of the team produced separate designs - it became clear that our Jimmy Fisher would reflect the local countryside - meadows of waving grass and reeds, wildflowers including dandelions, daisies and thistles. Insects vital to a healthy ecosystem were included-bright yellow and black bees, blue/white/lemon butterflies and a glowing sun and rainbow to signify the elements needed for a healthy countryside.

YC2’s logo is a big red balloon with ‘YC2’ written on it, it is on the young carer and volunteer hoodies and tee shirts, so balloons floating in the blue sky was an essential addition to Jimmy’s main body with fluffy white clouds scudding across. His head was brown and he had bright blue eyes. Small woodland and waterside animals also were drawn as of course otters share their habitat with lots of other wild creatures.

Week 2: the start, it was a bit daunting as at that stage he seemed VERY WHITE and VERY LARGE, but the team quickly started on the main areas of his body.

Week 3-7: Local artist Kate Lowe and owner of bagsymefirst.com came on board to help advise the children on the overall concept so that all of their ideas could be incorporated. As the weeks went on Jimmy became very important to us all, he represented the freedom that many young carers do not always have, and he was seen as strong and living as part of the natural world we all know is so important. She took Jimmy home each Friday night after the latest painting had been done, to sketch on more of the children’s designs ready for the following week.

Jimmy certainly reflects the individual approach of the Team, the girls love a ‘bit of bling’ so the clouds and balloons, even the edges of the reeds and grasses had little spots of glitter applied. One of the first designs showed thistledown floating in the sky, so artist Kate took all 65 sets of initials of our current register and painted them on in the tiniest lettering ever seen. Jimmy Fisher will always have a record of each young carer who is a member of YC2 in 2020/21. Further inspiration came and Jimmy has a pretty daisy chain necklace and is holding a large fish that he has just caught and is about to enjoy!

Otter name: Flo

Artist: Derryn Snowdon and staff at Buckingham Community Hospital

Sponsor: Buckingham Town Council

Derryn Snowdon, Inspired Marbling: "I began water marbling in Istanbul. We call it 'ebru' in Turkish and it is an ancient art of creating patterns on a watery base and then transferring them to paper (usually). Marbling an otter was an adventure for me as an amateur water marbling artist. The size and shape of the statue was a challenge and I needed all my creative powers to find ways to get more of Flo marbled.

Possibility, challenge, adventure: "I took the otter to Buckingham Hospital staff, who named her, whilst taking turns to try their hand at water marbling for the very first time. I taught them some of the practices and terms in traditional Turkish marbling and they took to it like …well like an otter to water! Flo was named after Florence Nightingale, and echo's the flow in water marbling design and the water where otters live. Flo represents a journey of exploration for us all. The non-marbled parts provide a neutral background to display the marbled parts. The smudges and incomplete patterns draw you in to complete the pattern in your mind. I hope as you enjoy exploring Flo and our marbling art you will wonder what marbling pattern would you have liked to add to Flo?"

Wellbeing Wednesday: Buxplore Green Route Activities

Outlined below are lots of fun and exciting activities that the whole family can enjoy together both outdoors and indoors from Leaf Art and Willow Crown making to Pooh Sticks and Shadow Tag gaming! You can do these activities in various places around Buckingham like Pooh Sticks from one of the Bourton Park bridges, Building a Den along Railway Walk or maybe even a Twig Maze in Chandos Park; lovely memories can be created anywhere. What will be your favourite activity?

Places to try these activities are highlighted on the Buxplore Green Trail!

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

Leaf art can be a fun and easy craft for all children to enjoy outdoors and indoors! The simplest version of leaf art is by using leaves to create wonderful and imaginative pictures whereas, more advanced leaf art requires you to take leaves home and then press and paint them to create cool and colourful pieces of artwork.

What will you need for simple Leaf?

  • Lots of Leaves all different shapes, sizes and colours
  • You can also include stones, sticks or nuts – Forage away!

How to make simple Leaf Art?

  • Collect lots of leaves and stones, sticks or nuts of your choice and place them on the ground
  • With your materials, start positioning them to create a picture
  • Once your picture is complete, take a photo to remember what you made

What you will need for advanced Leaf Art?

  • Leaves
  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Plate or Palette
  • Small Paint Roller
  • Newspaper or Paper Towels

How to make advanced Leaf Art?

  • Choose leaves that are still fresh and pliable. Leaves that are dried will not work, as they usually snap and crumble when pressed or worked on.
  • Lay newspapers down to protect your work surface.
  • Select a piece of paper for your leaf print and then squeeze a little paint onto a small plate or palette.
  • Paint the surface of the leaf with paint. This is best done by placing the leaf on kitchen paper towel and painting over using a small paint roller suitable for craft projects and make sure the entire leaf is covered.
  • Gently flip the leaf paint side down onto the paper and then carefully but firmly press on the leaf to ensure that the leaf touches the paper.
  • Peel the leaf from the paper and then you should have a printed mirror image of your leaf.
  • Repeat the previous steps again with the same leaf and or different leaves. The same leaf can be used up to six times before it ceases to leave an acceptable imprint. And by adding different sorts of leaves, you can build a pretty pattern or design for gift paper, cards, a painting, or any other paper craft project.
  • Let the paintwork dry and then frame your masterpiece!

Dens make perfect bird watching hides, as well as shelters and basecamps for woodland walks. Building a den is also great fun for the whole family and a wonderful way to spend time together, so head outdoors and try building your dream den!

Den making materials:

  • Long, straight branches and sticks
  • Lots of thin, bendy sticks
  • Dried leaves, twigs and grass

Make sure to not break off living branches from trees or bushes to ensure you don’t damage them. If you use any unnatural materials such as string or rope, remember to take them home at the end of the day.

How to build your den?

Coming up with your own den design is part of the fun, but here are a couple of simple ideas to get you started.

Tepee-style den

  • Find a tree with a fork in the branches that's quite low down.
  • Make a frame by propping some long, straight sticks in the fork and fanning them out. Also make sure that any branches are really secure – you don't want them slipping.
  • Weave bendy sticks in and out of the upright sticks to make the walls. Leave a gap at head height for a window.
  • Cover your den with natural materials so it's camouflaged and weatherproof.
  • Then scatter a carpet of dried leaves on the floor to make your den extra cosy.

Tent-shaped den

  • Find two forked trees that are close together and place a long stick between them.
  • Prop a row of sticks against it on each side so you end up with a tent shape.
  • Weave your bendy sticks in and out of the upright and add your plant materials to furnish.

Make a mini den

This activity is a lovely way for very small children to have a go at den building.

  • Simply collect a handful of small sticks and prop them up against a tree trunk
  • Then make the inside of the den nice and cosy with some fallen leaves and then it’s ready for their favourite teddies or dolls to play in.

Don't forget to dismantle your den!

Before you head home, please remember to take your den down. Don’t worry though, on your next visit you can have fun building it all over again, or you can experiment with a different design altogether.

Too wet and cold to go to the woods? Never mind – you can practice your skills by building an indoor hideout instead.

You will need:

  • Four sturdy dining chairs
  • A large sheet and some blankets
  • Cushions, pillows and maybe a duvet
  • Some heavy books
  • Fairy Lights and a few clothes pegs (optional)

How to build it:

  • Start by finding the best place to build your den. This could be against a wall or the back of the sofa.
  • Then place two chairs on each side with the backs facing inwards to form the walls and continue to hang blankets over the chair backs.
  • Drape a sheet over the top to make the roof and put some books on the chair seats to hold it in place.
  • To finish, put a blanket or duvet on the floor and arrange some cushions or pillows around the sides. For some extra optional magic, decorate with fairy lights, using the pegs to attach them to the sheets.

Your indoor den can be the perfect place to read stories together, come up with new games or to have an impromptu sleepover!

Nature crowns are magical things. Weaving branches, flowers, leaves and little bits of nature into a crown, gives children a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and engage in imaginative outdoor play.Chandos Park River and Willow Tree

What you will need:

  • A few willow tree branches
  • Other bits of nature like flowers, leaves, berries or feathers
  • Scissors

How to Make a Willow Nature Crown?

  • Gather willow tree branches and other bits of nature from the ground and then take one long willow branch and wrap it around your child’s head to measure how big the crown should be.
  • Weave a circle out of the willow branch.
  • Then start to weave or wrap the willow branch around the circle to make a willow crown.
  • Start adding in your flowers, leaves, berries or feathers for decoration by tucking the stems into the willow crown. If you have any stems or bits poking out, use scissors to cut them off.
  • It’s then time to wear your beautiful crown and see what adventures await you!

Fun Fact:

A weeping willow is a deciduous tree that is commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere (North America, Europe and parts of Asia). The tree likes to grow near fresh water lakes and ponds and has long thin branches with light green leaves that can grow all the way to the ground. The branches are perfect for weaving into nature crowns because they are long and flexible.

You may think building a maze out of twigs is hard but after you accomplish it, you will feel so happy with your creation. It’s also a definite game to help you become less bored!

Materials for the stick maze:

  • Paper and pen for the maze planning
  • Lots of long sticks and branches

How to build a stick maze?

  • Draw a Maze design - basic is better.
  • Collect a heap of sticks and branches from outside.
  • Then nominate a leader to help direct where to put the sticks and materials following the design of your map.
  • If you make the outside of the square too small and then have to change the plan, its fine. Builders have to change their plans all the time too!
  • Once it’s complete, enjoy running through the stick maze together.

More fun? Blindfold yourself and ask your children to navigate you through the maze with their voices. You’re not allowed to touch a stick!

Pooh sticks are a simple but thrilling sport, first invented by the famous bear of the same name in the stories, Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne.

What you will need:

  • Two or more players
  • A stick of your choosing
  • A bridge over moving water.

How it works:

  • Stand on a bridge over moving water.
  • Make sure you check which way the water is flowing so that you can throw your sticks in on the right side to ensure that they get carried underneath the bridge with the current.
  • On the count of three everyone must throw their pooh stick into the water below.
  • The stick that floats underneath the bridge fastest wins.

Top secret tip:

Try to choose a place on the bridge above the fastest flowing water. This way you’ll have an advantage over the other players.

This bird feeder is really simple to make, which means they’re a quick and fun project to do with children of all ages. They can be customised in any way you like with string or pretty ribbons, or try using other shapes, like stars or triangles. The birds will love them all!

To make bird seed pizzas, you will need:

  • Lard
  • Mixed bird seed
  • Baking tray or Plate
  • Spoon
  • Round cookie cutter (other shapes are optional)
  • Ribbon

How to make this bird feeder?

  • Gently melt 100g of lard in a saucepan. Add 250g of bird seed, ensuring all the seeds are coated in the fat.
  • Place the cookie cutter on a tray or plate, fill it with the seed mixture and press down with the back of a spoon to ensure its tightly packed.
  • Use a skewer to make a hole through the pizza and then put in the fridge to set overnight.
  • When its set, ease the solid mixture out of the cutter, thread with ribbon and then hang in a tall tree.
  • Once you’ve shaped your feeders make sure you leave them to dry thoroughly to avoid them cracking and crumbling when you try to hang them up.

Top Tip:

Pick a tree near to your window so that you can see your bird visitors up close when they visit.

Shadow Tag is a great, free activity to get children off their screens and moving whilst at home. Shadow tag is similar to other games of tag, like freeze tag, and Marco Polo but with one big difference. Instead of touching other players to tag them, the goal of the person who is ‘It’ is to tag the other players’ shadows, rather than touch them.

What you will need:

  • A bright light for indoor play or a bright, sunny day for outdoor play

How to play shadow tag?

  • Choose a player to take the first chance at being “It”.
  • The player who is ‘It’ chases the other players, trying to step on their shadow.
  • If a player has their shadow stepped on, they are now ‘It’.
  • Repeat the above steps until you want to finish playing.

Shadow Tag for younger children:

Toddlers and pre-schoolers can be fascinated by shadows, but they usually can’t keep up with the pace of the game. So, instead of running, why not have all the players pretend to be slow-moving objects like snails or sloths?

Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet

Heading outdoors for some fresh air?

To help brighten up your daily bit of exercise and to recognise Children’s Mental Health Week this year, which runs from February 1st to February 7th, Buckingham Town Council has put together a Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet for young children. Download and print the spotter sheet and see if you can spot some or all of these seasonal nature signs on your walk today. Please take part responsibly and follow government guidelines on social distancing. For more fun, we've added some extra activity sheets to be completed at home.Winter Spotter Sheet

Getting outdoors has taken on added importance in recent weeks and most people would agree that a walk in the fresh air is a sure way of clearing the head. The weather may be rubbish but encouraging our children to get back to basics and have fun playing outdoors can make a huge difference to their overall mental health and wellbeing. Even in winter, nature is still alive and there are lots of green spaces to see and explore within our lovely town. The spotter sheet can easily be completed around Bourton Park and Chandos Park and we hope it will make your daily walk even more enjoyable.

For more information about Buckingham walks and maps, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham. If you cannot get out and about due to self-isolating, you should check out the Buckingham Community Heritage app Buxplore. Remote access has currently been enabled so you can choose your route and take a visual tour around the streets and parks of Buckingham, completing activities, questions, and mysteries from home.

We would love to see some photos of you out and about completing the Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet! Please send your photos to us via private message on Facebook, or tag us on your post using #WinterWellness #SpotterSheet @BuckinghamTC and don't forget to tell us what you thought to be entered into a prize draw to win a reusable water bottle. We will do our best to share as many of your photos as possible. Happy hunting!

 

Buxplore: Buckingham heritage walks and audio tours by app!

Looking for things to do in Buckingham?

Need a reason to try Buxplore? Wild or stately, industrial and rural – Buckingham is an ancient town with many secrets hidden behind timber and brick walls. Buxplore was built to help residents and visitors discover more about Buckingham.

Not one of the hundreds of people have tried Buxplore since it launched three weeks ago? Here are six reasons to give it a go!

1. Free Buckingham kids activities

We know it’s been a long time since March and families are looking for new ideas for things to do in Buckingham. Buxplore is fun and interactive, the perfect way to be active and sneak in a homeschooling history lesson. Heritage for Kids is a fantastic trail to get the whole family hooked. Starting at the Chantry Chapel, explore the oldest parts of Buckingham – find, touch and imagine icons from Buckingham’s thousand year history.

This short route passes by Chandos Park – the perfect place to stop for a picnic.

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

two children touching the ammonite on Bristle Hill

2. Guided audio tours of Buckingham

With clear maps flagging locations to explore and audio options, these routes are really easy to follow with all the benefits of an audio tour without a clunky device to carry around. Simply use your mobile phone to access the app (don’t forget to turn on your mobile data and location tracking) then head out to the first stop on your chosen route.

3. Learn and explore Buckingham’s wild spaces from Bourton Park to Buckingham Canal

Connect with nature and learn more about Buckingham parks and the river Great Ouse. This explorer route is designed to be explored a little at a time, the perfect way to find some of the hidden green spaces you might not know about. Most of this trail is well away from roads with child friendly activities to try at every stop!

For photography fans this route offers fantastic opportunities to take photographs of wildlife including kestrels, wild flowers and the most beautiful parts of the River Great Ouse.

4. There’s been a murder! Can you solve the puzzles and find the culprit?

Tried all the online escape rooms? Buckingham murder mystery trail is a totally free interactive detective mystery. Start on Moreton Road at the Old Police Station and meet Sergeant William Jeeves! Solve puzzles to unlock new locations and discover clues as you take a tour around the murkier side of Buckingham history.

Don’t worry – hints are available if you get stuck and there are plenty of places to stop for fantastic food on the way around! Not in Buckingham? Turn on virtual mode to take part wherever you are.

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

Old Police Station Buxplore

5. Discover Buckingham Walks from the railway to Stowe House and Gardens from a different point of view

With six different trail themes getting stuck into Buckingham history is as simple as choosing your route. Interested in Stowe? View Stowe House and Gardens from the parkland trail, taking in temples and the House from a different angle and discover more about how Stowe and Buckingham are linked while taking in glorious view over the town.

What about the industrial revolution? There’s a trail for that too!

6. Did we mention it’s free?

Thanks to a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund Buxplore is completely free to use and will remain live for the next five years, with new routes add as often as we can. If you have ideas for new routes, let us know!

National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo

How to download the app and start using Buxplore

You can now download the app using the Google Play Store!

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

For Apple users, please see our FAQ which has a step by step guide to downloading Buxplore from Buxplore.web.app

Once the app is loaded, simply pick a route and visit the first location to get started!

More questions or need information about compatibility? Visit out Buxplore FAQ