A Weekend Escape to Nottinghamshire

As I've said, it's one of those places where you can do as much or as little as you want. There are fishing spots and golf courses nearby, as well as the stunning National Trust managed estate, Clumber Park just 15 min drive away. Clumber Park is home to the world's longest double avenue of lime trees, 20 miles of cycle paths and a peaceful serpentine lake. Plenty to keep the keen and the curious occupied across thousands of acres. Check the calendar because they also host a series of fabulous festivals and events throughout the year.
Clumber Park has a spa if all that hot-tub soaking makes your muscles sore. Discounts are available for treatments, also on bike hire, dining and more.
Keen walkers, outdoor enthusiasts, and families can set off to discover Robin Hood, explore Sherwood Forest with its famous Major Oak and see the newly renovated visitor's centre. Since the sixteenth century, this forest has been popular with nobility, now it's open for all, with paths running from the cabins into the thick trees, visitors can venture out for an all day hike if that's the desire.
If that's not enough to keep you entertained, there's Thoresby Hall, a stunning stately home, pony trekking and riding school, and a water sports centre for white water rafting, sailing, pond-skating and canoeing just 10 miles from Sherwood Hideaway.
Birds of Prey – Photography Workshop
A recent addition to the activity remit at Sherwood Hideaway is a bespoke Birds of Prey photography experience. Accompanied by a professional wildlife photographer, small groups are escorted into the forest with a falconry expert to learn about these majestic birds and how to capture images of them in a woodland setting.
I’m the first to admit I’m not a big lover of birds but as a keen photographer, I do like a good challenge. We were joined by the award winning photographer Heather Burns, who provided some very helpful coaching and real time advice on how to capture the birds in both mid-flight and static shots. I was a part of a small group of eight, which quickly became a walking masterclass on wildlife photography. I never realised how challenging it could be to capture a barn owl or hawk in flight.
The experience isn’t limited to professional photographers although there is plenty of opportunity to get ‘that’ shot. If anything, it’s aimed towards keen amateur photographers of all ages. Simon Stacey, the founder of Go Active, talks to his birds as if they’re his children, it’s wonderful to see.
The experience begins with a “hawk walk”. Accompanied by Heather, Simon, and his Harris Hawk named Annabelle. Annabelle flies free with ample opportunities to capture her flying from tree to the glove.
Over the five hours, Simon brings his birds one by one into the clearing. They’re well trained and (mostly) come on command unless they’re being a bit naughty! From perch to glove, the birds will swoop around the treetops, around the group or just over your head in my case before landing gracefully on Simon’s glove for their reward, food.
Ideally you want to pack your best (& empty) high-speed writing SD card for rapid transfer of shots, a quality lens up to 200mm is ideal and a LOT of patience.
Having Heather on hand was perfect. The birds are so quick I found myself getting frustrated. Was it my settings? Was it my equipment? No. It was none of that, it just takes a lot of practice and I need to learn that I won’t get an award winning photograph like this on the first try.
That being said, I’m very chuffed with some of the images I did get!