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Holidays National trust Nature

A National Trust Double Down

Sadly, this is nothing to do with KFC, though I can confirm the double down is superb!


The last time we took Munchkin on a long journey (3 hours) was to see some family in Eastbourne in 2019. It was hell, with tears for the whole journey. With that in mind, we planned to break our journey down to Surrey into a few stops, putting our National Trust membership to good use.

Dunstable Downs

I think Natalie could have killed me when we stepped out the car into the fierce freezing winds of Dunstable downs, the highest spot in Bedfordshire, just off the M1, north of Luton. But the view was amazing with a sky that didn’t seem to end in any direction.

We had a short walk (there are several routes from 2 to over 6 miles) but as Munchkin wants to walk whenever he can, we only managed a short stroll down the hill and back.

On the amble, Munchkin pointed out all the people flying kits, with yells of ‘kite, kite, KITE!’. So we popped up to the cafe for some warmth, a coffee and a snack, and bought a kite.

We popped outside and got the kite into the air. We thought the amazement would reach sky heights however….there were some wooden posts nearby and well, Munchkin was more interested in them. Oh well, at least we have the kite for future fun.

Slide left to see our lovely kite, right to see what Munchkin was interested in

Dunstable downs NT is free for everyone to explore, however there is a charge for parking, but it is free with membership.

Cliveden

We popped back in the car for a short 50 minute journey to Cliveden, the main event for day one of our trip. This National Trust had a bookable slot system, with half an hour arrival times. Luckily due to Daddy’s impeccable planning (hehe), we arrived just 1 minute into our slot.

Cliveden is a huge estate, with a storybook play park, a woodland play trail, all set in beautiful woodland, high above a route along the Thames. We loved the park, pointing out all the storybook additions, as well as the wooden tractor and train (‘choo choo!).

There’s several routes along the woodland above the Thames. We took one of these then a slope down to the river. It is such a beautiful place for a woodland walk.

However when we got the few miles back down the Thames, we found the only was back up to the top, was many steep steps. To top that, Munchkin was asleep in the pushchair. It added a tough exercise to our otherwise relaxing day.

This has now probably topped our previous favourite National Trust property which was Belton House (Grantham).

Cliveden is £10 for adults and £5 for Children and free for NT members.

Thanks for reading,

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Munchkin’s world of Nature

We discovered Munchkin’s love of nature young on a trip to a Natural Trust garden when he was just months old. His faced glowed as he admired the trees towering above him, the plants floating on the lake, the birds flying above and the beauty of the flowerbeds. Now at 17 months, on stormy days he crawls to the window of his playroom, stands, and tries to reach the handle to get outside.

Our first National Trust visit.

Writing this in lockdown, the situation has been slightly different with being limited to our garden and the local area. At home, we make sure we get into the garden whenever we can. We take some toys, but he soon gets distracted by the bugs that crawl across his mat. He has learnt how while he can stoke a cat, he shouldn’t stoke a delicate bug, and this makes for a proud Daddy. We planted some sunflower seeds and so are watching them grow day by day and learning what they need to grow. We will soon see them flowering too which is very exciting.

Planting his first seed was a messy affair

We are mid – garden development currently (although we may be mid-development for a while). Lucky for Munchkin, the future plans now include a mud kitchen, bug hotel and bird feeding station 😊.  We have chillies and tomatoes growing this year but will set up a planter so he can grow and learn about all different kinds of vegetables this time next year.

It’s fascinating to let Munchkin roam free in the garden, see where he goes and what interests him. If its not a bit of mud to squelch, he always admiring a new plant, or weed intruder on our new grass. He also often can just sit there and watch the birds overhead, pointing them out to us or having little conversations with them.

When we walk, which we do daily, we often try to escape the paths and roads and find ourselves powering down farm tracks or into fields. We admire the trees and we ‘talk’ about the farm fields and the crops, the wind turbines providing natural energy and the beauty of natural spots away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

A walk into the fields rocking the lockdown hairstyle

We recently found a huge field, just a short walk away which is the perfect spot for spontaneous picnics to explore the outdoors during lockdown. Its also been a perfect spot to count and wave at the numerous dogs, and more recently we also met a lovely little man of a similar age.

We recently took Munchkin back to the original National trust property which fuelled his love of the outdoors. We had opportunity to spot a rabbit and a frog, admired the plants and trees and enjoyed the fresh air.

When we are outdoors I’m always explaining what we can see, whether that be the plants and animals, or how wind turbines utilise natural energy. While we have these conversations with him, I know he’d rather hear about ‘Incy wincy spider’ or the ‘Five Little Ducks’, however I feel by talking to him about everything, including the natural world so young, he will learn to fully appreciate it.

Thanks for reading,