Woodland discovery area – #CountryKids

Following on from my post last week about the woodland art activity that we did after one of our many trips to our local National Trust property, Anglesey Abbey, I thouht I’d write a bit more about the woodland discovery area there, because recently Andrew has got very into exploring it.

The property has extensive grounds that range from formal gardens to informal fields to wild woodland. Once you enter the grounds, there are signs that point the way to the woodland, which is at the far end of the grounds relative to the entrance. The signs are made from natural materials, such as cared wood and painted rocks and stones. Andrew particularly likes the rocks painted as ladybirds that signal one of the entrances to the area.

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Once inside, there are many activities to keep an active, or even less active, toddler amused for quite a while. Near the entrance, we enjoy the stepping stones, and the branches that hang from a rope that you can ‘chime’ with another branch like a xylophone and play a ‘tune’. Then as we venture further in, never taking quite the same path, we come across the tree house and the pirate ship, both built up around trees using wood, and which are perfect for a toddler who likes to climb up steps (with help of course).

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One of our recent trips was at the time of a scarecrow competition – local schools had made and displayed scarecrows in various categories like ‘the best dressed’ and ‘the scariest’ scarecrow. So that was fun to see their creations as we wandered through the woods.

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We also like the places that you can sit and have a rest (well I do, Andrew sits for about 10 seconds before turning the benches into climbing frames!) There are a few circles with benches made out of logs, one has a ‘tent’ made out of willow branches over the top, and one has a story telling cupboard inside – it’s actually a hollowed out tree stump with a hinged door fitted into the bark, and inside there are various costumes and props that you can use for telling stories. Andrew chose to be Little Red Riding Hood on one of our visits.

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Of course I can’t forget the hut where we saw the picture frames that inspired us to make our own. Inside there are lots of crayons, paper and other craft materials that you can use to be creative in this middle of the woods location. Not that Andrew is too interested on one activity for more than a few minutes, but I think this is a lovely idea for slightly older children who like to stop running around for more than 5 minutes!

Even though we’ve been to the woodland discovery area several times, both before and since children, I still don’t think we’ve discovered every single part of what’s on offer there. It is extensive and has so much to offer for all ages from baby to grandparent (though I don’t think we’ve been to that bit with the boys’ grandparents – we must do that!) I’d definitely recommend it for a day out.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



Woodland art – #CountryKids

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A couple of weeks ago on a trip to our local National Trust property, Anglesey Abbey, we ventured all the way into the woodland discovery area at the far end of the extensive gardens. When I go on my own with the boys we don’t always make it that far by the time Andrew has ridden his bike through the ‘number garden’ and across the fields. But this time he chose to head through the woods on his bike and follow the signs to the discovery area. He particularly liked the big rocks that had been painted as lady birds signalling the entrance to the area.

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There are lots of activities to do in this fabulous area for children, including a tree house, a pirate ship climbing frame, stepping stones, a willow ‘tent’ to sit in, a story telling circle with benches and a tree ‘cupboard’ with masks and costumes in to help tell stories. There is also a hut that has lots of paper, crayons and other art materials for kids to have a go at colouring and being creative.

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It was in this hut that we saw some picture frames on the walls. These weren’t ordinary picture frames, but were made out of natural materials found in the wood, sticks and twigs, tied together with string and wool and hung on the wall. So we decided to pick up some of our own bits and bobs from the woodland floor and take them home to make our very own frame on the balcony later that day. Andrew was excited, and chose some sticks when I explained what we would do with them later.

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After his afternoon nap, we set to and made our frame. We tied four thick, straight sticks together in a rectangle using string and some of my embroidery yarn. Then we decorated it with some thinner more interestingly shaped twigs and some pieces of wool that we’d found in the wood as part of the activities that are suggested at the entrance. When we’d finished, we hung it up on the balcony frame using some ribbon and cord that we found in my craft box. Andrew was very impressed, and often still mentions our ‘picture’ when he looks out of the balcony door. Our balcony has transparent panels so when you look through it at his height, it frames the grass and plants behind it.

This was a fantastic way to keep Andrew’s attention for a crafty project, just the right length of time, and we get to see the result every day on our now ‘arty’ balcony 😉


Linking up with the fabulous Country Kids linky, if a little late this week (it’s been a very busy weekend!)
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall