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Monday, 7 April 2014

Walking with kids - Moors Valley Country Park, Ringwood, Dorset

Moors Valley Country Park, Ringwood is a short drive from the New Forest and well worth the journey from Hampshire into Dorset if you have children.

Although there are walks available through the forest (20 miles of way marked trails apparently), if you are accompanied by children that really isn't an option as the woodland play trail is a must!  Technically you wouldn't call this a walk as an adult you will spend time strolling / stopping as you progress around the forest.  Children, however, will not stop moving!

This really is absolutely fantastic!!  As you progress through the forest you happen on different wooden activity spaces hidden among the trees, each based on a different theme.  So for example, there is a nests area with large wooden nests joined together with wooden walkways, a spider area with rope and wooden webs, a wild west space with huge wooden teepees, a termite zone and a huge hollow wooden snake to name a few.

I can't do this justice with words so hope the photos help illustrate what is on offer.  (Click on the photos to open a larger photo gallery).




Teepees and Tunnels

Access to the forest is free but you do pay for parking.  But with a day rate of around £8.50 this is a full day out guaranteed to bring a smile to your children's faces without breaking the bank.  Public transport is also an option.  There are toilets at the entrance and a shop with the usual tourist info leaflets and toys as well as a couple of refreshment outlets. (Take a picnic to keep it economical).  Two more traditional (but well thought out) play areas are at the entrance geared towards different age groups.

My youngest was 4 when we went here and was able to participate with help, but children 5 years + should be able to use this independently.

There is also a high ropes facility at the entrance which was very busy, cycle hire and a small steam train all charged at an additional  fee.  To be honest the forest activity trail is so good that there really is no need to spend extra.

Click here for the link to the Forestry Commission website for more information.

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