I have recently been given the opportunity to work with The Forestry Commission. I am really excited about this as I love the outdoors and the forest is Purpledad’s favourite place to be. The purple family were invited to visit Westonbirt Arboretum for the day, and what a day we had.
On arrival we were met by Katrina who works at Westonbirt and was able to fill me in on a little bit of history. Westonbirt Arboretum was created by eccentric landowner Robert Stayner Holford in the 1850’s. He created it for pleasure but also as a testament to his wealth and taste. Robert Holford financed plant collecting expeditions around the world in order to create a magnificent arboretum. Some of the original plants from those expeditions can still be seen at Westonbirt today.
Westonbirt is divided into two areas, ‘silk wood’ the natural woodland which existed before the arboretum and the ‘old arboretum’ which was created by Robert Holford. It has 16000 trees and 17 miles of buggy friendly paths.
The children were eager to get stuck into an adventure so, armed with a play trail map, we headed off to find the natural play trail. First we found a brilliant area where the children could build a den using wooden bricks which slot onto the frameworks provided.
We had many adventures on the play trail, and indeed just exploring the arboretum. The boys loved finding caves made by large shrubs, and picking up autumnal treasures from the woodland floor. They all got to practise their balancing skills;
After all that fun we were ravenous so we went to the Westonbirt restaurant for lunch (there is also a cafe where you can get smaller snacks, drinks and ice-creams as well as a picnic area). The restaurant has a wide selection from sandwiches to hot meals and some very tempting cakes. The children got meal boxes with sandwiches, crisps etc and Purpledad and I went for a cheese and onion tart with roasted vegetables, yum.
Replenished by lunch we payed a visit to the Exploratree play area, designed especially for the under fives. This play area is made of wood and is forest themed, with a giant trunk tunnel, leafy hammock and a willow den containing a wooden butterfly. The children really enjoyed exploring it.
After a wonderful day we all headed home. By the time we got home all three children were fast asleep in the car, thoroughly exhausted by all the walking, climbing, running and exploring. I would recommend Westonbirt or any of the forestry commissions woods for a brilliant family day out, find your local woodland here. I will leave you with my favourite picture from the day;