I think we’ve pretty much exhausted the parks nearby and I like to get out and about to do something a bit more special at weekends rather than just going to the same places. Maybe parks can be our Friday afternoon treats, with going further afield at weekends? So I’ve started making a list of places I want to take N to over the Spring and Summer to make the most of whatever good weather we have.
First on our list was Batsford Arboretum. My brother had taken my mum there in the Autumn as she loved kicking leaves and it was one thing she wanted to do before she went in the hospice, but we’d never been. We went for opening time and was a good job as the overflow car park was having to be used by the time we were heading home.
The weather was absolutely perfect. I did make the mistake of taking coats with us which was totally unnecessary, as it was really warm, and with walking we didn’t need them.
The daffodils were out which N loved telling me about
The blossoms were looking beautiful – Batsford have lots of japanese trees, and they were looking beautiful at this time of year. The magnolias were stunning (it reminded me of our old house in Windsor when I was a child, where there was magnolia in the front garden)
We followed half the trail round as I wasn’t sure how far N would walk. I didn’t want to get stuck halfway round with him wanting to be carried back to the car. He’s way too heavy for that now, plus it would have been too hot and sweaty to do it. The simple map was really good as it had the features marked on and was easy enough to follow the main driveways and the paths. We could see everything we wanted without going on the grass, although it was in fact dry enough not to need wellies thanks to the good weather we’ve been having.
We’ve not really been ticking off our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ National Trust activities, but we can now tick off a few for N, including walking behind a waterfall (well, under/through it in this case). N wasn’t keen on walking past it at first, but after a while he wanted to touch it. Luckily he didn’t get too wet.
We also did a bit of tree hugging – not that there’s much chance of joining hands round a Californian Redwood.
N was really pleased to find his very own ‘Stick Man’ at the start of our walk, so that was walked round, helped him try and dig a tunnel, and then clip clopped over the bridges. It’s even made its way home with us.
We were also lucky enough to spot some frogs in a pond, so we watched those for a while as well as discovering pine cones.
We ended up with a spot of lunch. The café/restaurant has an outdoor terrace which looked lovely, but there was no shade so we opted to stay inside for our food. There wasn’t a massive amount of choice, although there were sandwiches, salads, soups and other hot food. We were eating in the evening so just wanted sandwiches – fine for me, but there were no cold children’s options, just hot. Most places do the usual ‘pack a box’ pick and mix style kids option, but I had to ask for a sandwich without mustard, pickle or horseradish as all the options out had extras that weren’t that child friendly.
We did get a choice of sandwich made up for us without a worry from the staff though, so that was good. It was a doorstep sandwich, and massive. Even N who is a real piggy, didn’t each more than half (and all the ham), so I think they could do with a half size option. £16+ for 2 soft drinks, 2 sandwiches, a slice of cake and a packet of crisps was a tad on the steep side! I didn’t see any picnic tables where you could be encouraged to take your own food, so maybe that’s why there were fewer families than I would have thought.
They do provide activity sheets for children as we saw one family filling theirs in as they walked round, and there’s a falconry centre next door, so I’d have thought they could have made more of it for children. It’s nice to go somewhere I don’t have to pay for N’s entry, as it’s one place that is free for under fives, rather than under threes.
So, all in all a lovely day out, lots to look at and a lovely walk for Spring. I shall be doing a separate post for my lovely floral and landscape photos I took. There’s just too many photos for one post!
Have you visited any arboretums near you?