A tale of two arboretums

A few weeks ago we headed down to the New Forest for a weekend away. The weather forecast was pretty grim but we were determined to get outside in the forest for at least part of our trip – and our hostess, Katharine, didn’t disappoint.  After a delicious lunch in The Spot in the Woods, we headed to the Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive and Deer Sanctuary.

The forest sheltered us from the worst of the cold and drizzle, so the children quickly set to work with as much tree climbing as they could manage.

They loved inspecting the intricate roots on fallen trees…

…but struggled a bit with how slippery the damp had made the trunks!

There was plenty of den building to be had…

…and some fairly unimpressive attempts at hide and seek!  Can you spot two cheeky girls hiding here?!

We were thrilled to spot some deer in the sanctuary – they were really well camouflaged so I’m sure there were many more watching us throughout our walk than we managed to spot!

We did manage to persuade the children to stop climbing for long enough to actually go on a forest walk with us – although they couldn’t be tempted to leave their big sticks behind!

It was so lovely to be out exploring the woods with our friends – here’s the gang (and their sticks!)

An absolute highlight of our trip was getting to meet some of the new forest ponies.  As we were walking through the forest, a couple of ponies came straight over to meet us which was quite a surprise!

They came right up to us and just bowed their heads waiting for a stroke – and the children very happily obliged!

And as we continued our walk, the ponies followed us along the path hopeful for more pats as we went along!

Back at Katharine’s house, we visited the local playground where we recreated a favourite photo from four years ago.  Look at these girls and how much they’ve grown!  Still firm friends 🙂

The next day dawned a little drier so we all headed to another beautiful part of the country – the Surrey Hills – to meet up with another family for lunch.  We met at the Jolly Farmer pub in Bramley as we’d heard good things about their Sunday carvery, and we weren’t disappointed.  The food and welcome was fantastic and we ate an excessive amount of food while catching up on each others’ news.

Needing to walk it off before the long drive home, we headed to the nearby Winkworth Arboretum.  With a fabulous adventure playground, the children were happy to while away an hour together.

Alex and Harry challenged each other to the obstacle course.

And spent ages seeing how long they could hang from the monkey bars.

It was an excellent playground – look at these happy faces!

We sadly didn’t have much time at the arboretum so only saw a small fraction of the park, but we loved the beautiful wood carvings we spotted.  Sophie and Emilia loved the owl babies they found!

It was a flying visit but we’ll definitely be back when the weather is a bit brighter and the trees are in bloom.

3 thoughts on “A tale of two arboretums

  1. What a lovely weekend you had. Looking at tree roots is always so interesting and the den building and tree climbing looks like it was a lot of fun. I love seeing ponies in the New Forest – not sure I’ve ever got close enough to pat one though. Winkworth Arboretum sounds like a great place to explore too and that adventure playground looks like a good one. Thanks for sharing with #CountryKids


  2. What a fabulous weekend of forest fun with friends, it’s great to catch up and I love your timeline photo recreation, a great record of everyone’s growth. There’s nothing like time in the woods and those ponies are such a treat, I love how they followed you. Thanks for sharing with us at#CountryKids and sorry for the late comment; house move chaos!


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