OVER 15 local families slept under the stars in the grounds of historic local National Trust property The Vyne recently as part of the Big Camping Weekend.

The sold-out event opened up the Tudor mansion's walled kitchen garden for the evening to visitors of all ages, supplying them with a BBQ evening meal and breakfast the next morning.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The camping weekend marked the official summer 2014 local launch of the National Trust's popular 50 Things to Do Before You're 11 ¾ national campaign, which aims to get you and your family out and about exploring what the outdoors has to offer.

The charity hopes to get 200,000 kids playing outside this summer as part of its commitment to connect the 'cotton wool generation' with nature.

The Vyne's camping co-ordinator Amy Dobson commented: “We were really excited about hosting our first Big Camping Weekend, and thankfully the predicted storms didn't appear, so the children and their parents were able to enjoy the balmy weather and sit around the campfire late into the evening.

“We also played some games in the orchard, with kids and adults competing in relay and wheelbarrow races.

“It was brilliant fun, and we can't wait to do it again next year!”

Basingstoke Gazette:

The Vyne, at Sherborne St John, offers 32 of the campaign's 50 listed activities, which include playing Pooh Sticks, damming a stream and making a home for a wild animal.

It has a den building area in its woodlands where children can build their own den or play in dens built by previous visitors. The property runs regular den building activity sessions during school holidays.

In addition, The Great Big Tree Climbing Company run climbing sessions with ropes and karabiners allowing children to access the higher branches of a tree's canopy safely.

The Vyne also has a spacious bird hide equipped with binoculars, and a new downloadable nature discovery trail and tree trail.

Find out more online at nationaltrust.org.uk/vyne or 50things.org.uk.