Ok, I admit it. I was a little odd as a child. Well, not odd, just a bit conservative and goody two shoes. Can you believe that as an under 7, I was quite happy having a few friends come with me for my birthday to kick around in leaves and go for a walk?
Yes, it happened. It certainly wouldn’t nowadays…or would be extremely rare.
We used to go to Virginia Water quite frequently as children when we lived in Windsor. Our mum used to take us, or our nan and her husband. So I have great memories (and a couple of photos of me with my nan, with me dressed in a really unfashionable 80s big fluffy white zip up jumper).
So I’ve always wanted to take N there in autumn so we could go and kick leaves.
I decided on the inset day that it would be a good time to go so we set off in the car. I’d not really twigged how far it was, and N was really wanting to get out and run about by the time we arrived. Actually, he was moaning as usual. Mainly because he could see other children had bikes, scooters and go karts, and he just had his feet.
The lake was looking beautiful, and there were lots of people walking and cycling round.
We got waylaid straight away under the numerous sweet chestnut trees. N wanted to fill his pockets and we enjoyed picking some to take home and roast (still to be done though!). There were plenty of other people doing the same around the lake – there were so many trees literally dropping the chestnuts around us.
We decided to walk round to the cascades because I thought N would like to watch them. There was plenty to see on the walk – other people, trees, tractors mowing the grass, and dogs in the water.
Dozily, I hadn’t twigged as a child that the cascades were man made. They were looking great in the autumn morning light, and N was entranced by them. He found a rock to sit on and watch for a while.
Then we had to walk to the top of them with N telling me we were walking up a mountain to see them.
After watching a silly small yappy dog leap in for a swim then struggle to get itself back up the bank again, N decided he didn’t want to see the ruins, so we headed back the other way again. I didn’t think he’d make it for a walk all the way round the lake, so we stopped fleetingly at the café for a drink and toilet stop before heading the other way round the lake towards the Totem Pole that I remembered from my childhood.
What’s great about Virginia Water is that the tree stumps and natural playground all seems to be quite close to the path. N never wants to explore further into places we visit, so he could still get to run wild without going too far from where he can see the path.
He had a great time riding a ‘train’, even once too other boys turned up interrupting his quiet play. It does make me sometimes wish that N would get chatty with other children when I hear them asking him his name. He’ll never reply. Maybe I should try telling them his name is something else and to see if that’ll prompt him to correct me.
The background of the yellows and oranges of the leaves was beautiful. Of course N refused to kick leaves for me, or throw them, so I have no pretty thrown leaves photos.
We continued our walk and found some felled trees ripe for playing. We had to play ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ along them to each other, and N made up various stories as he played and I snapped away.
We spotted squirrels and plenty of birds on our walk too. But N was most taken with spotting the ranger vehicles – pick-ups and a gator.
The totem pole was looking more newly painted than in my day, but still a bit scruffy up close. N was having fun running round it, while I was gawping at the beauty of the Canadian avenue of trees.
We retraced our steps back along the path to go and find somewhere for lunch in Egham. We were out for a few hours, and while you have to pay for parking, the costs aren’t too high for a day out in the open air.
Have you ever been to Virginia Water? Where’s your favourite place for an autumn walk?