7 children, 1 dog and 2 Mums, a recipe for fun in the woods! We left the Dads working on the building site at Coombe Mill and set off for Cardinham Woods. Not a popular move at first with complaints of " but we have woods here Mum" but I had been given a discovery pass from the Forestry Commission and was keen to visit as my friend has guest posted about it before as one of their favourite family days out. Needless to say our children had a wonderful time creating plenty of adventures which were further embellished on their return.
The car parking is ample and cheap at £2 per vehicle (or free for 1 named vehicle with a discovery pass) and signage from the main roads made it very easy to find. Just off the car park are toilets, a gorgeous cottage tea room with delicious looking food and a roaring log fire. I was impressed right from the start.
Seven Go On An Adventure
We were sent information leaflets and bags with our pass to encourage the children to collect and identify the trees and foot prints along the walk.
Living on a 30 acre wooded farm I didn't think my children would be interested in doing this, but actually they loved hunting for the tree leaves and took it all very seriously, or perhaps that was just the excuse to abandon the Mums, and go "off piste" along the lesser know paths on their own adventure leaving Benji the dog unsure who to follow!
The trails are in fact all clearly marked up with distances and difficulty with the flatter ones being wheelchair and buggy friendly. Scenic picnic stops with bench tables are located along the way making it easy to stop and just take in the stunning scenery. The clearly marked paths did help our young explorers find their way back when their 'short cut' in search of the missing birch leaf and rabbit print had them quite lost! Then it wouldn't have been an adventure if they didn't lose us grownups!
By the time we all met up back at the car park the light was fading fast and we were pleased to see them all back safely. My friend and her daughter headed home; they had one filthy long haired quite exhausted dog to clean up, while mine headed over to play in the dark on the now deserted play area. All the equipment is wooden and tastefully carved into animals, another idea to add to my long list for Coombe Mill!
If you fancy checking out your nearest Forestry Commission woods, they have a handy app for i-phone or android free to download as well as the website. The woods are free for everyone (just car parking to pay without a pass) and make for a healthy fun day out for children from babies to teenagers.
Inspired to craft
Back at home the children emptied their haul of forest goodies on to the table and spent all evening creating from a leaf identification table to fir cone animals, leaf pictures and finally I made them up some flour and water dough to make modelling clay for 3D animals! I was thrilled with their interest and creativity and they were happy to create and rest their tired legs.
Joining In with Country Kids
How have you been enjoying the outdoors with the children this week? Please grab the badge and come and join me on the linky. From the garden to the park and beyond, rosy cheeks and a healthy glow is what Country Kids is all about. The Linky is open each week from Saturday to Thursday.
Whilst linking here you might also like to pop over this week to Thinly Spread where your Country Kids post will also make a great entry for Christine's Festive Friday Back to Basics Photo competition.