“Let’s go for a lovely walk!” – this phrase can sometimes be met with a less-than-enthusiastic response from younger members of the family, especially in the latter half of the year when the dreary weather makes snuggling on the sofa look more inviting than ever. There are fewer lovelier things in life, however, than going for a tramp in the woods and so here are 5 small walks which I promise will appeal to small children, not just because you are walking through the woods but because of the little surprises hidden within…
Sandals and Netherlands Woods
- The one with the tippy-toes log (45min – 1hr)
Who can resist a nice big log to play on? You will find one at the end of this walk! Enter the woods from the Sandalswood End cut through. At the end of the cut-through, immediately take the right-hand fork and follow until this path veers off slightly to the right – you will see a fence on the right-hand side now and if you follow this you will eventually come out onto Ledborough Lane. Instead keep going straight ahead into the little clearing ahead of you. There on the left, a little way in is the tippy-toes log. Retrace your steps back to Sandalswood End.
- The one with the den (30-45min)
Fancy a bit of den-building? There are little half-built dens scattered all around these woods but here is our favourite! Again, enter the woods via Sandalswood End and after the cut-through go straight ahead and then take the 2nd fork to the right. The 1st fork to the right just takes you onto the path to the tippy-toes log (see above). Keep following the fork and after a short while et voila – a little den! Go ahead and give it a redesign! Retrace your steps back to Sandalswood End)
- The one with the great big muddy puddle! (1hr+)
Make sure you’ve got your wellies and scruffy clothes on for this walk! If you love jumping in muddy puddles, Peppa Pig style, then again enter the woods via the Sandalswood End cut-through but this time follow the path straight on. Eventually you will be rewarded with a great big muddy puddle (from September onwards!), which even boasts its own little bridge of sticks! Hours of muddy fun to be had here. You can retrace your steps back to Sandalswood End or if you negotiate the puddle you can continue straight on until you reach a lovely big field. Turn left here and walk along the edge and you will see a cut through which will lead you either back into the woods (turning left) or eventually onto Mynchen Close if you turn right.
Walks 1,2 & 3 can be combined into an epic adventure if you have older children and want to make a morning of it, or used as standalone outings with small children.
- The one with the crater (30-45min)
Enter Hogback Wood via the gate from Woodside Rd. Go straight ahead for 5-10min and keep an eye out on the right-hand side for a good-sized depression in the ground – fondly named “the crater” by my children! It’s a perfect natural playground as the sides are fairly steep in parts, shallow in others plus there are all sorts of little mounds and logs for those “King of the Castle” moments. After a bit of energetic chasing and sliding you can either retrace your steps back to Woodside Rd or head off to walk no.5.
- The one with the interesting dead log (45min – 1hr+)
Enter Hogback Wood via the gate from Woodside Rd and go straight ahead, passing the crater on your right. Keep going down the hill until you can’t go any further without heading down the steps and out onto Holtspur Top Lane. Look down and to your left and you will see and interesting dead log – why is it so interesting? Well so much new life can be found growing on its surface – fungi, mosses, not to mention all sorts of beetles and different woodland inhabitants. Spend a while poking around it to see what you can find. From here you can either retrace your steps back up the hill or follow the path along the route of Holtspur Top Lane (but stay in the woods!) – this is a lovely walk through the woods which, if you keep going straight ahead, will take you through a nice field, back into the woods again and eventually out onto Forty Green Road, opposite Brindle Lane.
Again, walks 4&5 can be combined into a great outing, especially for older children.
These are my local walks – if you have some woods near you then do a little bit of exploring to see if you can find some interesting natural play things to entice everyone out! Then head home for that snuggle on the sofa…
Thanks to Susan Jarman from Blossoming Cooks for sharing her favourite walks. To find out more about what Blossoming Cooks has to offer please visit their website http://blossomingcooks.co.uk
Blossoming Cooks: Enjoy Cooking, Explore Nature