We spend a lot of time exploring National Trust properties and our membership really is something we all get a lot out of. We had more adventures at Stowe last week and I’m forever grateful that we have such a wonderful place relatively close to home. I’m fairly sure we visit at least once a month, more in the school holidays, and no matter how many times we go, we never, ever get bored of the place and everything it has to offer.
My son’s first-ever proper outing was to Stowe on Boxing Day in 2009, he was two weeks old, it had been snowing and we went for a walk with all my OH’s family.
Little did I know then, that Stowe would become like a second home to us. If we need to just get out of the house for an hour or two, we head to Stowe, it’s often my son’s choice of a place to go, and he is always in charge of deciding on the route we’d take.
It was about eighteen months ago that we explored the wider parkland for the first time, rather than the gardens themselves, and on Christmas Eve 2018 we made our way to the Bourbon Tower for the first time too. We’ve walked the parkland a number of times since then, and the tower is a favourite spot and a great place to walk to when the gardens are really popular. We can have the whole area to ourselves and it really does feel as if we are the only ones there.
On this particular day, we didn’t arrive until after lunch, most unusual for us, the car park was rammed and it looked as if everyone had had the same idea as us to have more adventures at Stowe. So what shall we do I asked my son, we’ll walk through the parkland Mummy, and visit our tower, came the reply. So off we set, and as everyone headed through the Bell Gate, we veered off to the right and headed into the parkland.
Thankfully we were suitable dressed as it was very squelchy underfoot and we laughed on a few occasions as we tried to navigate our way through the least deep muddy areas.
It was all good fun and made me realise just how much of an outdoor boy my son is. No moaning, just laughing.
Then his real adventures began, stick in hand, he was a WWI officer leading his troops (me) into battle, moving through no man’s land to retake each field with the Bourbon Tower being the ultimate prize.
His imagination never ceases to delight me. He may not put his ideas down on paper, but there are so many of them going around in his head. I hope that that imagination never diminishes.
I can remember a time when my son really struggled with crossing stiles, but those days are long gone and he’s more than happy to take the lead these days.
He’s got a much better sense of direction than I have and has grown up knowing to respect the countryside and stick to footpaths along the way, and not disturb any animals we come across. As much as he’d love to practice being a shepherd from time to time.
He’d very much like to climb up Lord Cobham’s Pillar one day, and I should imagine the views would be amazing. Sadly I’ve never known that to be an option.
As regular readers will know, my son’s motto in life is why have one stick in hand when you can have two! His love of sticks shows no sign of diminishing.
We spent a lovely afternoon having more adventures at Stowe, and our first of 2020. The views never disappoint, and this particular one is probably my favourite view at any time of year.
Although capturing the Gothic Temple in the late afternoon sun gets pretty close.
My son ended our latest adventure, as he started, at full pelt, this time with the knowledge that a hot chocolate and shortbread biscuit would be waiting for him at the cafe!
It’s so wonderful to have such a special place close at hand, to have created so many memories over the last ten years and to see how much my son loves every adventure we have there. I don’t take these trips for granted. I know that as the teenage years hurtle ever closer, my son will almost certainly want to spend less time with me and with his sticks. So, for now, I’ll continue to soak up every memory we make together in our special place knowing it won’t be long before we’ll be back again.
Do you have somewhere special that you keep revisiting with your children? I think I might need to put together a collage of the last ten years at some point this year.