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Where? You may ask. Where indeed…
Dear mummy, we visited The Moors Valley Country Park in Dorset over the weekend to join other little children on the Forestry Commission’s Gruffalo trail and we were a bit disappointed.
Luckily for us the company of NCT friends and families made it worthwhile for us and a very enjoyable jaunt into the woods.
We love the Gruffalo books and it’s always my first go-to book at bedtime so it’s nice to get the opportunity to met up with the Gruffalo in person.
It’s a cold cloudy January day and Moors Valley is very muddy. We’ve donned our wet weather gear and wellies. We’re all excited to see the Gruffalo and all the other characters out of the book. The Forestry Commission are hosting Gruffalo trails up and down the county at selected woods to celebrate 15 years of the Gruffalo books.
The Gruffalo Book is written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, that tells the story of a mouse, taking a walk in the woods and coming across creatures that want to eat him, he dodges their advances and evades capture by coming up with a make-believe monster (the Gruffalo ) that he is meeting for tea. After gloating to himself that there is no such thing as a Gruffalo he stumbles on one! Eek! Incase you haven’t read the book we won’t ruin it for you 😉 but is worth a read and based on a Chinese Folk tail of a fox that borrows the terror of a tiger.
The Gruffalo trail is only on until February 2015 so we decided to go have a look, shunning our nearest venue Alice Holt Forest to go further afield with friends. Unfortunately it wasn’t up to much, only one large carved Gruffalo greets us at the entrance to the trail. He’s seen better days! His paint is faded and there is a pool of mud at his feet which is treacherous for puddle jumping kids.
We spend the next hour walking around paths following way-finding signage which leads to…..nothing. No more giant creatures or climbing logs..just mud and more mud. Not much fun for a toddler. Luckily for me I had friends to play with.
Another thing which put a dampener on the day was the extortionate car parking rates and the cost of food in the cafe. We brought some of our own food and sat and had a picnic but remember to bring bags as there are no bins around. We’re going to head to Alice Holt next month to see if it’s any better. I’d love to see more characters from the book.
Love Bella x
Polesden Lacey National Trust
Friday 18, July 2014
Dear mummy, our travels took us somewhere new last weekend. As we were driving back from London and the traffic was bad on the M25 we decided to take a quick detour via Leatherhead towards a little village called Bookham, in between Dorking and Guildford.
We had been told that Polesden Lacey, a National Trust Estate, was just round the corner. As we are members of the National Trust, it was a good opportunity to stop in and visit.
It’s another fine day and the skies are blue. We drive up the long road through an impressive gate and up to the estate. The car park is a stones throw from the entrance to Polesden Lacey and it’s not too busy today.
We arrive at 2ish and grab our picnic blanket and get the sun cream out of the car, a quick nappy change in the toilets, which are cool and clean and I feel refreshed after my long car journey. A quick runaround is just what I need to stretch my little legs!
This place is beautiful! And is surrounded by rolling hills and stunning scenery. People are sat in deck chairs soaking up the sunshine.
Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian House and estate and is located on the North Downs. It is owned and run by the National Trust and is very popular. The house originally was owned by Margaret Greville, a well-know Edwardian hostess. Who entertained royalty and the privileged. She was a close friend to Queen Mary and bequeathed all her jewels to Elizabeth the Queen Mother, including a diamond necklace belonging to Marie Antoinette!
She was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1922 and her estate was bequeathed to the National Trust.
The grounds of the estate are extensive and we head off to see the house and take in the views. It is spectacular and you can see why King George VI and Queen Elizabeth spent part of their honeymoon here! Mrs Greville’s collection of fine paintings and porcelain is displayed for visitors to see in the house. My mummy ducks in and has a quick look while daddy and I play on the lawn. The estate has a regal feel about it and we imagine young royals playing on the lawn as children.
We explore the walled garden next, as it’s July the roses are still in bloom and they looked fabulous. Lavender lines the paved paths around the gardens and you could hear busy bees flying from one flower to another.
It was so peaceful here and we had the whole place to ourselves. Our favourite blooms were the snow white ‘Iceberg’ roses and the beautiful dip dyed yellow and pink ‘You’re Beautiful’ blooms. Both looked stunning against the deep blue sky.
Stone sculptures littered the formal gardens, some scary and some angelic. I was memorised by daddy blowing bubbles and followed them around the gardens chasing them with my hands. It was lovely to spend quality time with my daddy and we both lay down on the picnic blanket and stared at the sky. I nestled my head under his arm and we both chilled out.
But not for long! Mummy had brought my ball with her and we played piggy in the middle, while I chased it on the grass in my bare feet. I loved the feeling of grass in-between my toes. Daddy carried me through the trees and I giggled in delight as we ducked and dived through the leaves as they brushed across my body.
On the way back we walked through the pleasure grounds and watched staff set up for a wedding, a lovely spot for one. It’s still very warm, so before we head back to the car we stop by the cafe opposition reception and have an ice cream.
My mummy goes to get my National Trust passport stamped (a collection of little stamps we’ve been acquiring on our trips around the National Trust estates) and we sit and enjoy the world go by.
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