Sometimes you go searching for something on your blog and you can’t find it wherever you search. The original of this post about our trip to Stanwick Lakes Country Park fits that mould. I wrote a great post a in the summer with lots of wonderful photos. And the post is no more. A total mystery, but I wanted to make sure I shared it again. Only minus all the chatty stuff of before (because I can’t remember everything that far back).
Stanwick Lakes Country Park was new to me, but only around a 45 minute drive. We decided to go on a really warm day – and luckily checking the website beforehand I noticed swimwear would be needed by N. We also took his bike because you can’t visit a country park without something to ride on.
Arriving about an hour after opening we timed it well. The car park was filling up well, and an hour later they were directing people into the overflow bit of grass parking. It’s a beautiful country park, based around quarry areas which had previous excavations of Neolithic and iron age round barrows found, along with skeletons. There’s plenty of information to tell you about that as you walk or cycle round the paths.
N decided he would cycle first, and we headed off in the direction he wanted. The cycle routes are well signposted, as well as the footpaths, and we didn’t need a map. We also explored a bit off road – there looked like some interesting woodland walks if you went that far.
There are plenty of lakes to watch birds from for those so inclined. I couldn’t get N to hang around for long. We only did the short trail – it was too hot to be doing more plus lunch was calling. But there was plenty to see whether it was flowers, or damsel flies.
We liked that the car park was close enough that we could return the bike to the car before getting some lunch in the café. Lunch was a little disappointing and bland. They serve hot and cold food, but my sandwich wasn’t that great and the choice was limited. Most people would probably bring a picnic, but around the adventure playground it was rammed and there what picnic tables there were were also crowded (or taken over by the overflow car park. The café does have great views over the lakes though, so it’s worth having at least a drink and sit down to relax there.
After lunch it was time for the adventure playground. It’s a huge area full of wooden equipment and structures and N was in his element. There are plenty of slides, climbing areas and swings, plus the highlight – water play. Being a hot day it was packed with children (and parents trying to keep an eye on their kids. Whole families and groups of friends were there, some children in swimwear, others in underwear, and some still in their clothes and coated in mud. N got changed into his swim shorts – he didn’t get particularly muddy or wet, but he’s not adventurous compared to some children.
It was great to see how the different children play, how some avoided getting involved where older children were spraying everyone with water, while others got stuck in with children they didn’t know. N started climbing up water pipes and troughs that if we were there alone I’d have told him to get off. The notices weren’t clear on which parts the children could or couldn’t climb on, so it was fair game for most kids. N loved it, quite happily following other children’s leads. All without me having to encourage him to try something new.
Ice creams were needed before heading off home – you could buy them in the café, or from the drinks kiosk next to the playground.
A quick change and dry/dust off before getting back in the car, and talking about the playground all the way home.
If you’re in the area and looking for somewhere outdoors to let the children run loose, then it’s worth checking out Stanwick Lakes. You can hire bikes if you don’t have them and the trails are nice and flat for family cycling. Just make sure you take swimwear or a change of clothes for the adventure playground!
Have you discovered any good country parks near you?
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