There’s nothing Monkey loves more than jumping around in muddy puddles, running through the trees and just being outdoor. We love going on nature hunts and will walk for miles when we go off on an adventure. With the autumn leaves looking at their most majestic at the moment we decided it was high time for some Forestry Commission fun at Westonbirt Arboretum.
Westonbirt is our National Arboretum, run by the Forestry Commission, and is located close to Tetbury in Gloucestershire. It is home to around 15,000 trees, and we decided it was perfect timing for a visit whilst Daddy P took some time off for his birthday. It’s somewhere we’ve had on our ‘to do’ list forever, and on a lovely sunny Sunday morning, we picked up Monkey’s Auntie and Uncle and headed across country.
I have to say that I think half of Southern England had the same idea, the queues to get in were quite amazing. But it also made me smile to know that we weren’t alone in our love of trees, forest and nature. Daddy P’s sister and husband have been to the arboretum a number of times over the years and had never seen it so busy.
But actually, once we’d gone through the ticket stalls (parking is free, but there is an entrance fee) the crowds soon dispersed.
It was only a matter of moments until Monkey had found a stick to accompany us on our walk!
There are 17 miles of walk to keep you occupied with Westonbirt as well as guided walks and self led trails. I left others in charge of the map and just decided to enjoy the surrounding, the magical colours and just have fun with Monkey. Being a slight control freak, not being in charge of the route took a little getting used to, and did mean I had no idea that there was a Gruffalo’s Child sculpture to be found until we got back to the car. Never mind, always like to have a reason to return somewhere!
There’s a cafe area with toilets fairly close to the entrance, so once we’d fuelled up for our adventure, we headed off along one of the many trails within the Old Arboretum before spending the afternoon in Silk Wood. Monkey and I decided it was perfect conditions for a leaf hunt, so he was challenged to collect as many interesting leaves as he could find, so we could make a collage when we got home. We found another stick to home his collection and he was off.
Monkey loved collecting his leaves, talking about the colours, working out which tree they’d fallen from, and finding out their names. It was a great activity and we saw lots of other children doing something similar.
No photographs will do the autumnal colours at Westonbirt Arboretum justice. I rarely ever edit photos other than to resize and crop, and I’m not about to start with this selection, this is just as I snapped them. Nature in all it’s glory.
When he wasn’t busy collecting leaves and admiring the trees with the rest of us Monkey was off jumping in muddy puddles and climbing trees (oh yes, Monkey was climbing!, it’s all change here since September I can tell you).
We had so much Forestry Commission fun at Westonbirt Arboretum, walking, talking and bumping into new friends too.
We’d had a lovely time exploring Westonbirt, I think we only really touched the tip of the iceberg, but still had a full day out, exploring, and having fun. If we lived closer I’m sure we’d be there all the time, but even with the distance, we will certainly be back.
We are lucky to have Wendover Woods much closer to us and we’re long overdue for a visit there, so I’m sure we’ll be going on another Superworm trail there soon, and maybe we’ll find the Gruffalo again too.
When we got home we pressed our leaves and then made a few collages
Which other Forestry Commission sites would you recommend?
disclaimer: we were given a goody bag and 2 free Forestry Commission parking passes (one gave me free access to the Arboretum) in exchange for an honest review.