This time last week . . . BeWILDerwood!

This time last week, our holiday was coming to an end, but the saying goes, “Save the best til last”, and that is exactly what we did. Daddy had come to join us on our adventure, the sun wasn’t shining but we weren’t going to let that spoil our spirits. We headed in the direction of BeWILDerwood in Hoveton and followed the brown tourist signs until we pulled into a huge car park and found our spot. BeWILDerwood is based on the magical children’s books written by local author and creator of BeWILDerwood, Tom Blofeld.

We followed the paths and found ourselves at the Grubbles Greeting Gate, where we received a very warm and friendly greeting from Martyn, who recommended that we jump straight onto a BeWILDerboat at BeWILDerboat Junction and head down to the Scary Lake. He also warned that we should look out for Mildred the Crocklebog as she had been eating a few too many sprouts just recently, so she may be a little on the smelly side! We said that we wouldn’t be able to as we had Beanie Boy in a pushchair, but he said this wouldn’t be a problem, and it wasn’t. The driver of the boat was very helpful in lifting the pushchair into the boat and off again at the other end. Once everyone was comfortably seated and our boat set sail, the driver told us a story – but you’ll have to go to BeWILDerwood yourself to hear it!!!

Upon stepping off the boat, we were greeted with this sign to help us on our journey – I love it! Just one look at this sign, and I knew it was going to be a fun adventure . . .

We decided to go ‘that way’ and found ourselves at the Wobbly Wires, which to boring humans translates into zip wires! Big ones and little ones! I would have put money on the fact that Little Bean wouldn’t even entertain the idea of a wobbly wire as she isn’t exactly adventurous when it comes to physical activities. Still, no, she just had to prove me wrong and was excitedly lifted into the special kiddy seat by Daddy. After the first whizz down the wire, she was hooked, and we were there pushing her one way, then the other, for about 20 minutes!! She even had a race with Daddy, who just HAD to have a go on the big wobbly wire. Yeah ok, so did Mummy!! Well it says on the map “Parents are encouraged to play alongside their children, which makes for a fabulous and brilliantly exciting time for the whole family” so what’s a Mummy to do?

Once we managed to prise Little Bean from her Wobbly Wire we decided to explore a bit further into BeWILDwood until we found ourselves at The Broken Bridge and before I could even utter the word ‘Twiggle’ Daddy had whisked Little Bean up a wooden staircase for some treetop fun. Meanwhile Beanie Boy slept soundly in his pushchair and Mum and I took a rest on one of the cool shaped benches to be found around the forest.

Next, it was down to Toddlewood Valley, which is a play area aimed at the smaller visitors to the Adventure Park, though Mummies, Daddies and Grandparents could still join in the fun. After lots of toddling fun with Daddy, Little Bean took Nanna for an adventure over at Tricky Tunnels. Little Bean had lots of fun playing here until the aroma of food drifted across from the Cosy Cabin, and dinnertime called for our attention. There was a good range of freshly made sandwiches, fruit, snacks, ice-creams and beverages available at reasonable prices, so we sat and enjoyed some lunch before continuing on our WILD journey.

Situated right next to the Cosy Cabin, Little Bean spotted a Face Painting station and looked on in envy as boys and girls appeared with Crocklebogs, Bats, Flowers and Stars all over their faces. We paid a very reasonable £3.50 for Little Bean to transform into a very pretty Twiggle Fairy – some of the proceeds of which are donated to a charity for autistic children.

After lunch and Facepainting, it was time to head over for a bit of Story Telling with Bernie. This wasn’t just your standard type of storytelling, where the narrator sits in a big chair while the children sit at their feet with their ears perked up. No, this was Story Telling BeWILDerwood style! Bernie began by asking if there were any brave children in the audience who wanted to help tell the story, and of course, an array of hands shot into the air. Even Little Bean put her hand up. Bernie chose her first character ‘Swampy’ and the story began. From the first words, Bernie had everyone’s attention, and the magic began. As the story unfolded and more characters were needed, Bernie chose more children from the audience to play their respective parts. Little Bean was never actually selected to play a part but this didn’t deter her one bit, she just got up and joined in of her own accord. I thought perhaps Bernie would ask her to sit down but she encouraged her to play along with the others. If you thought that the story telling would only draw in the children, you’d be wrong – EVERYONE got stuck in and was mesmerised, it totally added to the magic of the forest and the children’s imagination of the Twiggles and Boggles who live in the forest.

When story-telling was over we visited BeWILDerville where Daddy and Little Bean disappeared into the trees once more to explore. The forest is just so magical for the children with all the houses on stilts and rope bridges, they can really let their imagination run wild.

Walking a little further, we discovered the Mudlde Maze. Mum, Little Bean and I headed in from ground level (you can ‘cheat’ by going in over the stairs and working out the path from above), and I have to say either it was quite difficult, or we were having a bit of a dim day because it took us ages to find our way to the middle but we certainly had fun doing it.

The next area we came across was called Slippery Slope, and it is definitely for ‘thrill seekers, ’ so Little Bean was not interested. There are two very large slides, one wide enough for three people to slide together, and the other is a steep, fast slide. I could see that Hubby was itching to have a go on this slide, but he said that he couldn’t go on it because it was ‘for kids’, so I suggested that he ‘do it for Curly’ as Curly couldn’t be on holiday with us. Again, he said that he couldn’t, though you could he really wanted to so then Little Bean said “you need to do it for Bro Daddy” and quick as a flash he was half way up the steps before we could say Boggle!

Following the success of the Story Telling, we decided to head on over to the Big Hat, where Little Bean joined in with Bernie and the other children for a spot of Twizzle Twirling (I think that is what it was called? I have slept a few times since last week!). Bernie has such a great way with the children, and I was reliably informed by Martyn that she is one of a team of Twiggles who entertain the children. The BeWILDerwood Team also go out ‘on the road’ and attend local Festivals and Events for more information you can look on the BeWILDerwood website.

The final part of our adventure was at Toddlewood on the Hill, another area for the little adventurers where Little Bean had a blast. We also found a gate which lead down a woodland path to Leaflette’s Lawn.

As you can see, I could go on and on about how good BeWILDerwood is for ages (oops, I already have!), but we really did have a great day. One of the really nice things about BeWILDerwood is how magical the Twiggle Team make it feel from start to finish; as we walked back to the car park through the Grubbles Greeting Gate (at the very end of the day), Martyn was still there to say a fond farewell and present each of us with these badges . . .

It was clear to see that everyone loves their job and wants to make your visit special. We were all children at one point and we need to remember how special experiences felt at that age, that’s what the Twiggle Team are doing.

We are already planning our next visit to BeWILDerwood, it will be worth the travel because Curly really needs to go as we just know he will love it as much as us! But if you want to see a little of the magic it created I’m going to let Little Bean tell you herself (just remember she is only 3!).

DISCLAIMER: For the purpose of this review we were granted free admission to BeWILDerwood. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own and may not be copied without my express permission.

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