Hidden Nature

Put on your wellies, grab your coat and step into the outdoors - our theme for 2020 is Hidden Nature. This year, we are turning our focus onto the natural world – and we’re asking you to join with us in celebrating our extraordinary natural heritage, from centuries-old trees to farmer’s fields steeped in history, from clifftop walks to urban oases and everything in between. Read on to find out more...

Why Hidden Nature?

Uncovering stories, sites, places and people that traditional history has overlooked or forgotten has always been at the very heart of Heritage Open Days. Our natural world, and the impact we have upon it, is as much a part of this as the rise of cities, famous battles and technological developments. In the face of climate change, modern development and other threats, now more than ever does nature need to be cherished and championed. That's why this year we want to encourage HODs organisers, volunteers and visitors to celebrate nature, in its myriad forms, as part of the wider HODs festival.

What is Hidden Nature?

We want Hidden Nature to encompass the broadest possible spectrum of events, opening up areas of the countryside that aren’t normally accessible to the public and revealing the hidden history of not just our natural landscapes, but also gardens, green spaces, urban parks, orchards, vineyards, farms and forests. Nature isn't just found in the great outdoors and our theme could also give you the opportunity to explore the Hidden Nature within our urban spaces and buildings - from the animals that live within our walls and under our feet to the origins of the timbers in our roofs, the possibilities to connect with our natural world are endless.


Spring is in the air and new sub-strands have blossomed around Hidden Nature. Although these additional are completely optional, we hope they will be useful if you are looking for further opportunities to engage with the theme. We’ll also be highlighting events from these strands in our Hidden Nature media campaign, so creating an event around these may mean more local/national press coverage. More information can be found in our Hidden Nature pack, available in the useful stuff section of the organiser area.

  • Rangers Reveal - an opportunity for those who work on, and in, our natural landscapes to share their knowledge of stories, wildlife and places that are not always accessible to the public, rarely visited or simply overlooked.
  • Twilight Tales – an event held at twilight, the hour when much of the natural world shifts from sleeping to waking, providing fascinating opportunities to discover rarely seen wildlife and experience familiar places in a different light.

Does my HODs event have to relate to Hidden Nature?

No - theming your event around ‘Hidden Nature is entirely optional. If you have other ideas, or the theme simply doesn’t appeal, that’s not a problem. As ever, we hope for the widest spread of events across the festival – some of which will be Hidden Nature themed, many of which won’t.