Posts filed under ‘National Trust days out’

the best part of education

“Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs,
mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb.
Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets;
and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of
the best part of education.”

– Luther Burbank

Crickley Hill_E on top of a fallen tree wearing DUNS willow top

I’m not sure I’d recognise a wood chuck if I saw one and I certainly wouldn’t willingly expose my children to snakes in the wild or hornets but using the outdoors as a classroom is certainly something we embrace.  We are lucky to have some fabulous areas of outstanding natural beauty in Gloucestershire and one of our favourites, Crickley Hill, is just 15 minutes away by car.

Crickley Hill - E butterfly trail wearing DUNS willow top
Whenever I take the boys up Crickley Hill I know it’s for my benefit as much as theirs to amble about the escarpment and meander through the woods.  The National Trust manage the site and last year joined forces with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to encourage more wildlife onto Crickley Hill.  All through the summer there were different nature trails on offer for young explorers and E enjoyed learning about different butterfly species as he raced around the escarpment.

Crickley Hill - the best part of education_family bimble

I spent a lot of time at Crickley Hill as a child so for someone who’s a bit inept when it comes to map reading it’s nice not having to give any mental energy to staying on the right track.  My internal sat nav at Crickley at least is finely tuned and I always know instinctively how to get back to the car park.  It’s lovely to think that this will become a special place for E and L not only for the family time we spend here but the adventures we have with friends exploring dens and climbing on fallen trees.

Crickley Hill_E and Fin copy 4B

I have a picture of 2 year old E emerging from a  den in the woods at Crickley on the picture shelf in his room.  It’s a only a simple A4 landscape size but I love it because it serves as a reminder to keep things simple when it comes to spending quality time with children.  They don’t need lots of input when taken to places that fire their imagination, just warm, attentive interaction.  The next time we visited Crickley Hill after taking this photo I felt sad to see this den had been dismantled where some other explorers had used the branches to fashion their own den elsewhere.  So this snapshot of E’s childhood adventures also serves to remind me that the joy is in the journey not the destination and the memories live on long after the creation has fallen apart.

10-4-14 - Crickley Hill_E outside den 4B

In case you’re wondering about baby L, he had a lovely time too.  I only carried him for the last 20 minutes of a 3 hour bimble when he ran out of steam.  He was a back-of-the-head blurr in the photos I snapped on my phone so here’s one of him receiving the best part of education from one of our cats.  Billy has been teaching him that gentle downward strokes on the head are rewarded with purrs and hammer-like bops with scratches!
IMG_20170911_222412

September 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm 1 comment

Me and Mine project [June 2017]

The Isle of Wight holds such a special place in my heart.  Not least because we get to stay with dear friends in Ryde but because visiting tickles all sorts of nostalgic memories of childhood holidays by the sea in Weymouth. Our June trip to Ryde was our third with Euan and our first with Luca and I loved overwriting memories of previous trips with one boy with two boy versions. This beachside picnic at Bembridge was a lunchtime stop off after visiting the National Trust windmill nearby. The tide was out and Euan and I took a walk together to explore the tide pools while Luca pored over pebbles and shells with George.

When I took this photo of the boys popping seaweed together I was gathering ideas for a picture I’d commissioned my friend Lucy to make.  She uses applique fabrics to recreate landscape pictures and is particularly talented at incorporating monuments or buildings.  I’d sent Lucy some pictures of Appley Tower and described the sketch forming in my head of the boys playing on the sand in the foreground. As it was we decided to forego the complication of stitching little boy silhouettes in to the picture! Instead I have this beautiful picture from Lucy to hang alongside a print of my seaweed searchers.

After visiting Bembridge Windmill we sat in the field alongside it soaking up the gentle hum of insects in the grass as clouds rolled by in the blue sky and Euan asked wonderfully curious ”Why do …?” questions.



I’m already looking forward to next year when we’ll return to this beautiful island. And I’m glad that taking part in the Me and Mine project again coincided with our trip so that I’m not absent from our family snapshots!

What family time memories did you make this month?
Perhaps you’ll come and share yours on the Me and Mine project wall here?

June 30, 2017 at 9:16 pm 1 comment

picture perfect (at Hanbury Hall NT)

Anyone with kids will know that asking someone to ”just take a quick picture of us” is rarely as simple as it sounds.  Sometimes the outtakes are exactly what sum up the hilarity of expecting kids to ‘smile‘ because we request it rather than because it captures their natural delight in something. E is largely a willing participant in front of the camera and loves nothing better than pulling silly faces.  On this occasion L was not so willing and just desperate to escape (that photo where it looks like I’m about to drop him… rest assured I didn’t!).  For me at least, the snaps G took on our lovely family day out at Hanbury Hall are picture perfect and sparkle with love and silliness which is how we roll.

We renewed our National Trust Membership at Hanbury Hall and are looking forward to exploring some local favourites as a family of 4 like Newark Park and Westbury Court Gardens as well as exploring a bit further a field (we’re feeling emboldened about travelling with a baby after the success of our epic Scotland trip at Easter!).

May 2, 2017 at 8:35 pm Leave a comment

making the most of our National Trust membership

We became National Trust members for the first time last year and renewed our membership this year by default when I didn’t notice the annual subscription was taken 3 weeks before it expired.  I’m too used to doing things at the eleventh hour it seems.  Don’t get me wrong, membership is well worth the cost, I waivered only because of the timing of the payment and probably would have let it lapse for a few months before rejoining presuming April showers might prevent us from getting out and about.  As it happens we’ve used our membership 5 times* already so I’m glad of the National Trusts’ presumptuous efficiency with membership renewals.
image
The first of this year’s visits was to Westbury Court Garden, the only restored Dutch style water garden in the country and the nearest NT property to home.  I’ve driven past it hundreds of times over the years yet only been there once, a decade or more ago, with my Mum and Nan.  I recall my lovely, straight talking Nan being somewhat underwhelmed by the experience –  a reflection of her simple view on life [‘It’s just a garden‘] rather than a lack of appreciation for the hard work by staff and volunteers that goes into maintaining this beautiful, historic site.  E on the other hand was very effusive [”I love it here’‘] and especially liked feeding the fish in the canals, watching the water fountain and pointing to the plants growing in the 17th Century vegetable beds and asking what they were called.
image
The array of tulips reminded me of my allotment neighbours Pat and Robin who always have smatterings of tulip flair dotted among their edible plants. I felt a little wistful for my lost allotment love and found myself thinking of my Nan momentarily. Just as quickly I was pulled back into the present by E calling ”Mum, come and find me, I’m going to hide in that little house’‘. Life moves on but a little bit of time stands still in beautiful tranquil places like Westbury Court Garden.  Hooray for The National Trust and the wonderful work they do to look after the sites we’ve grown to love visiting.  Places like these that offer grown ups an opportunity for quiet reflection while the kids run off to explore.
Mosaic _ NT visits April 2015
* return visits made to Woodchester Park, Croome Park, Newark Park and Woodchester Park and a first time visit to Snowshill Manor for the Easter Egg hunt.

June 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm 3 comments

ambling about May Hill

9-6-13 - May Hill_6b trees and E on bike 4BWith Christmas just around the corner it’s nice to be reminded of balmy summer days spent outside this year.  Hard to believe it’s already 6 months ago that we spent a lovely Sunday afternoon ambling about May Hill after reading that the iconic trees there were all under threat of being cut down due to disease.Collage May Hill 4B
The Corsican pine trees atop May Hill were planted in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.  Further Scots pine trees were added in 1977 to mark Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee. Pine trees, an unusual site in such a landscape, are said to have been planted to mark a overnight grazing ground and one of the charms of a visit to May Hill is the sight of cows snoozing and wild ponies grazing in the shade of the trees without a care in the world.Collage May Hill animals 4B
May Hill has everything you could want from a family walk.
Trees, animals, wide open space and fabulous views.9-6-13 - May Hill_12 G and E9-6-13 - May Hill_17 E lying on G 4B
It’s a bit of a gradual climb with a bike and a toddler but nothing snacks can’t forgive. The walk-run-tumble back down is rather fun too – thirsty work though!9-6-13 - May Hill_8 thirsty E 4B
Thankfully the disease effecting the trees, Red Needle Band blight, is containable so only 30 trees already killed by the disease need to be removed.
See the National Trust website here for walks/maps on May Hill if interested in visiting

December 8, 2013 at 5:11 am 1 comment


About Nip it in the bud


Welcome to my once-about-gardening-and-cooking blog that is now mostly about our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

If you like what you found why not subscribe to email updates

Follow Nip it in the bud on WordPress.com

Blog Stats

  • 439,912 hits

Archives

A Gardeners Voice Featured Blog!
TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs