Oo oo oo – this was my kind of day! Out in the fresh air, warm but with a lovely breeze, surrounded by nature and with my two best girls, I have to be a very blessed Granny.
Of all the days out we’ve had this summer, I think I enjoyed this one the most. Hicks Lodge in the National Forest was new to me but I would definitely visit again. My Dad – Littlebit’s Great-Grandpa – studied Botany at University and instilled a love of the natural world in me which I will be happy to pass on. It was great to be able to ask Sallie the ranger the names of plants and insects and to introduce them to the pre-schoolers on our amble round the lake with our collecting bags. I was impressed by the number of different butterflies, caterpillars and dragonflies we saw and grateful for Jacqui, the other ranger’s, identification of them.
The mini-beast hunt was a highlight of the walk and I was proud to collect a centipede and green shield stamp – sorry, beetle – in my specimen pot. Littlebit was more keen just to grub along in the dirt and decaying tree trunk but hey! It’s a start!
The café deserves a visit in its own right. I enjoyed a well-presented goat’s cheese and roasted veg panini for lunch and later had trouble choosing between the splendid array of home-made cakes. The cream scones looked like a meal in themselves. The prices were very reasonable too and the coffee excellent.
As I hadn’t ridden a bike for at least 20 years and am well out of condition, I was scared stiff when I first climbed into the saddle… However, with some adjustments, a trial run on grass and a bit of encouragement, I steamed away. I was amazed when we discovered that – due to feeble map reading – we’d covered 4 miles instead of the intended beginner’s route! I can’t wait to have another go at off-road biking and my doctor was delighted the next day as he said it would have brought my blood pressure down!!
As most of the site is fairly flat, this is a good place for all the family as the less able can take a stroll round the lakes or the woods without too much effort. It is probably quite wheelchair friendly too and the toilet facilities are good. There are plenty of picnic benches around the site and also some seats on the woodland trail. The children’s play area is fine but could probably do with some further development for the younger ones.
All in all, this was a great fun and educational day out and I’m looking forward to a return visit including another cycle ride to get me in shape. Then I’ll be able to enjoy a large wedge of date and walnut tart… or a Mars Bar krispie… or maybe even one of those gigantic cream scones…
This is a review post. We were supplied with free parking, drinks, lunch and bike hire and our very own ranger for the morning for the purpose of this review. All opinions are Grannypinkwellies own.