Family days out: Fermyn Woods

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If you go down to the woods today…

Well, you’ll be sure to get a good surprise if you take a visit to Fermyn Woods Country Park in Brigstock.

We went along to see what fun was in store – and there’s more on offer than just a picnic in the woods!

Situated in the heart of the Rockingham Forest, Fermyn Woods allows you to really explore nature with access to fantastic woodlands, meadows, thickets, marshes and ponds.

It was an unusually glorious sunny February day when I ventured to the park with my one-year old daughter Ruby.

Although I have been here before, albeit more than two years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much was on offer for families to enjoy.

We arrived nice and early and found the perfect place to park (which, by the way, is closer to the café, the better! This is worth bearing in mind, especially if you are carrying little ones around, as the pay and display machine to pay for parking is outside the café).

Parking is a very reasonable £2.50 which covers you all day (be sure to have the correct change though, as no change is given).

First up we headed to the main play area which has a sandpit with slide and climbing frame; two toddler swings; zip wire and two large climbing frames – which are perfect for older children.

As Ruby is only 17 months old, she had fun on the swings and giggled as she slid down the mini-slide.

She didn’t fancy touching the sand today but if your kids love the sand, it’s worth bringing your own bucket and spade to make the most of it.

There is plenty of wildlife around if you keep a look out for it – we even spotted a red kite, which really caught Ruby’s attention.

And I spotted something that got my attention too! Just behind the main play area was a wooden castle structure with two built-in slides that looked just perfect to entertain my two eldest children – so I made a mental note to ensure I bring them here during the next school holidays.

Adjacent to the Skylark Café is another adventure land, especially for toddlers which includes more sand, wooden toadstools and tables plus little wooden hide-away huts.

If, however, you’d prefer to get walking, then there are several signposted walks that you can take around the park.

And once you’ve worked up an appetite make sure you head to the Skylark Café which serves a range of freshly prepared baguettes, rolls and paninis, as well as jacket potatoes and children’s meals.

Cream teas and home-made cakes and bakes are also on offer to tempt the taste buds!

Inside the café, there is a small play/seating area just for children – perfect for entertaining the little ‘uns while you enjoy a cuppa.

When the weather is a lot warmer and you fancy dining al fresco, there are plenty of picnic tables and seating dotted around the park.

Plus, if you love the idea of having your own barbecue, there are the amenities here to do that too.

Wildlife

Although winter hasn’t quite finished yet, the birds are getting very active and tuneful. Look out for finches, kites pairing up, sparrow hawk, buzzard and woodpeckers in the wood.

Where to find them

Open all day, every day, admission is free although there is a parking charge of £2.50 (pay and display).

The onsite Skylark Café and shop is open daily from 10am-4.45pm.

You can find the park in Lyveden Road, Brigstock, Kettering NN14 3HS.

For more information call 01536 373625 or email fermyn@northamptonshire.gov.uk

Special events

Nature Tots, a parents and tots group, will take place on Thursday, March 14, from 10am to 11.30am for an Easter Special.

It’s a chance to go on a nature walk and get creative and costs £3 per toddler, which includes refreshments.

Booking is essential so call 07703 160878 for more information, or visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/parks.

Discover the benefits of regular walking while exploring Fermyn Woods with their ranger and trained walk leaders.

Walks start at 2pm, taking up to an hour to complete (at a gentle pace) and start/finish at the Skylark Café.

The next walk takes place on Thursday, March 21, and all are welcome.