When we visited the Lake District during the Summer holidays we hoped that we would return this week whilst the children were on half term holidays from school. What we hadn’t realised at that time was that we would have a dog, Bram wasn’t on the cards at that point. Fast forward to October Half Term and we didn’t feel that taking him away on holiday was the best idea whilst he is still settling with us and likewise we didn’t want to leave him with a sitter so that we could go away. Instead we decided to have a ‘home’ week, getting on with jobs, chilling out and taking Bram on lovely long walks.
One of our favourite places to walk is Fineshade Wood between Stamford and Corby, last year they installed the Gruffalo Spotter trail which the children love as well as two great play areas, Top Lodge café and acres of Forest to explore on foot or bicycle.
When we left the house, the weather wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to do. The skies were grey, the air was cool and damp but we don’t let a little thing like the weather put us off exploring the great outdoors. We donned our super thick and fluffy Heat Holders socks inside our walking boots, popped on our microfleece tops and rainproof jackets. It was time to search for the Gruffalo . . .
It wasn’t very busy when we arrived at Fineshade, obviously the weather had put lots of people off – they obviously didn’t have the right gear. We set off on our walk and let Bram off the lead, if he could have whooped and whistled, I swear he would have done. He was so excited by all the new sights and smells, he would disappear off into the trees and undergrowth then pop his head up to make sure we were still with him.
Gruffalo Spotter Trail
As Bram set off of his own adventures, the Beans began to search for Gruffalo clues. If you haven’t tried it yet, the Gruffalo Spotter app is a free to download created by the Forestry Commission. As you walk around Forestry Commission sights you will encounter clues as to where to find your next target; The Fox, The Snake, The Owl, The Mouse and of course, The Gruffalo. When you point your phone at the circular patterned sign the app reads the code and an interactive scene grows on the screen right before your eyes. Once the scene has been created you can position your children around the characters and take photographs as a keepsake. We have done the Gruffalo Spotter walk at least 6 times this year already and still the children haven’t tired of it.
Albie is keen to remind us that he has “only got teeny tiny legs” so a full loop of Fineshade was not on the cards for us but we did manage about 2 miles and lots of playing in the Tree House play area. Whilst Lillie and Ollie practice their very best climbing and swinging, Albie and Daddy built a hedgehog shelter and I played ‘find the dog’.
Thankfully the weather stayed dry, though the sun forgot to shine. It didn’t matter a jot to us though, thanks to our Heat Holders our feet stayed toasty warm and comfortable which meant we could enjoy the outdoors for longer. Who wants to be stuck inside all winter? Not us!