If you go down to the woods today... you're sure of an action-packed day of outdoor fun.
Last week we visited our local Forestry Commission woodland, Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire. A beautiful ancient woodland, this was originally a medieval royal hunting forest, but today can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Of course, you should never start an expedition on an empty stomach, so we popped in to the cafe first to fortify ourselves.
The food was delicious, and there was a wide selection of hearty, homemade treats on offer. I found the prices to be reasonable - we ordered a jacket potato with beans and an apple juice for Ruby, and myself and the Old Man each had a homemade soup and a sandwich with hot chocolate. Costing less than £20 I thought this was good value - the food quality was very good.
We bought some slices of cake to pop in our pockets - for emergencies - and off we went to explore.
There is a large playground area right by the car park/cafe but unfortunately Ruby struggled with it. It's very high and quite adventurous so I think maybe one for older kids.
No matter, who needs play bark and climbing frames when you can play in the forest.
Ruby had a wonderful time searching for leaves and learnt all about the different shapes and characteristics, as well as learning about deciduous and evergreen trees.
There are lots of free activity sheets available which help you get the most out of your visit. We searched for different colours, and whilst we fully expected to find oranges; yellows and browns, there were some more unusual colours to be spotted too.
We had fun learning how to measure a tree (check out Science Sparks for a full explanation on this), and knowing that one of my paces equals about a metre, we decided this tree must be a whopping 25 metres tall.
We counted rings on felled trees to work out how old they might have been.
Straying from the beaten track, there was a magical world of mushrooms and fairy rings to be found nestled in the soft, spongy pine needle covered ground.
But by far our favourite part of Salcey is the tree top walk. An softly sloping elevated walkway which winds up 15 metres high in the treetops. From here you can come face-to-face with squirrels harvesting for winter, and see the tree canopy from above.
With amazing views over the countryside it's well worth doing. Apart from the final viewing platform at the very top which is accessible by stairs, the walk way is pushchair and wheelchair friendly.
We had a wonderful, magical day. Why not pull on your wellies, wrap up warm and explore the colours of autumn before they fade for another year.
Entry to Salcey Forest is free and car parking is £2.
Disclosure: We were sent a Discovery pass and pack as part of our role as Forestry Commission Review Bloggers.
Linking up with other outdoor fun at Country Kids.