Hi! I’m Jade and I have an eight-year-old daughter, Bean (her nickname since the womb).
We recently moved back to Colchester after many years abroad and we’re enjoying exploring all that the town has to offer. However, as a single mum (who doesn’t drive!) it can be difficult to come up with ways of keeping Bean entertained that don’t cost the earth - luckily Colchester keeps coming up trumps with fun activities to while away the weekends. This week we got down and dirty in the great outdoors!
Bean and I caught the bus up to Highwoods Country Park armed with a bug hunting kit (tweezers, magnifying glass, little plastic box with airholes) and Bean’s nature journal that she received when she joined the RSPB, to log tree and bird species. During a quick stop at the café to grab a couple of bottles of water we had a chat with the friendly lady behind the counter and she suggested we take the red route – the park’s medium length trail. It’s supposed to take about 1.5 hours to walk and “may be muddy in places” according to the leaflets on offer.
Well, muddy it certainly was, but a really enjoyable afternoon it also proved to be. The red trail runs in a big loop from the car park, out towards Brinkley Grove, and back through meadow and woodland. It’s well signposted all the way and Bean enjoyed spotting the little red arrows and leading the way. We even managed to take a little detour off the trail to take in the views across the lake. (Did you know you can fish there? Bean and I plan to investigate this further in the spring).
Along the way we stopped off at some of the many benches to record the tree species we’d seen and for Bean to draw some of the leaves, catkins and seeds she had found.
We kicked over a fair few logs but didn’t find anything much more interesting than worms on this occasion! We did, however, see lots of squirrels, and a beautiful jay.
After an energetic couple of hours we wound our way back to the visitors’ centre, where we grabbed a cut-price flapjack and a cup of tea before heading home. Highwoods Country Park really is a little oasis in the centre of town – perfect for dog walkers, families with children and serious walkers alike. If you’ve never been it really is worth a visit, whatever the season. They have plenty of activities (some free, some attract a small fee), which you can get information on here, but even if there is nothing organised, with a little imagination you can find plenty here to keep the kids happy.
We love it and will definitely be back when the spring is finally upon us to see how the park changes in the warmer weather.
In the meantime Bean and I will keep you updated on our activities regularly, keeping an eye on all that’s important to families in Colchester, and hopefully give you some ideas
on how you can keep the kids busy and entertained on a budget.
Until next time!
Jade and Bean xxx