Playing on the wild side

running in meadow Glastonbury TorI can’t help thinking that children are most happy playing with homemade toys and natural play areas. They do love other toys, but there is a different level of fun. This week, I offered to take Middle One to the village play park as we waited for her brother’s coach.

“No, thanks. It’s too young.”

OK.

swinging from the tree

This is the same girl that played happily for an hour on trees and swings hung from branches that they happened upon at the weekend.

missed the red arrows

We went to a meadow, near Glastonbury Tor, with the intention of taking a walk and spotting some nature. Maybe some dragonflies, we thought. The wonderful part of a nature walk is that you never know what you’re going to spot. If anything. After a quick look at the bordering river, the children headed across the meadow and away to an interesting group of trees. Turns out someone had set up swings from the branches.

This left us adults to walk around the meadow. We did spot dragonflies and fascinating spiders. Plus the Red Arrows flew over the Tor and let out a quick burst of coloured smoke. Can you tell who stood and watched, and then thought about the camera in her hand afterwards?

swings in tree Glastonbury

All the time, the children played in the fabulous old trees. Climbing and swinging. We could hear them laughing and singing. They could see us a long way off, over the field. It’s nice to reach the stage, where we can leave them to play. The time of hovering over them seems a dim and distant memory now. They have the skills and knowledge of how to play in a wild area.

natural play swingsEven my husband had a go on the swings.

playing pooh sticks at Fenny castle

The next day, was an early start for the Summer Solstice. We went up the Tor for the sunrise, or the pinkish glow of the start of the day. Later, after a rest at home, it was time to head for Fenny Castle for a Father’s Day cream team and a kingfisher walk. This is one of our favourite places to go. They do scrummy food, bike hire and tennis court hire too. We sat in the beautiful garden, eating our scones.

playing pooh sticks at Fenny castle start

Then a walk down the lane to spot kingfishers. There were holes in the bank in the usual area, so we knew there was a good chance of seeing one. A little further on is a bridge. Perfect for Pooh sticks. Time to stop and play again.

Fenny Caste Flow station

They love to see the little weir at the Flow Station. There were a few fish to spot as well. Also a couple of Great Cranes flapping their enormous wings in a field over from where we were walking.

kingfisher walk at Fenny Castle

Did we see kingfishers? The whole point of the walk. Yes, we did! I took the wrong camera lens, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it. There was one kingfisher, sitting on a branch, overhanging the river. Watching for fish. We saw the blue of its back first and then it hopped round to check us out, revealing its orange chest. We must have been about 4 metres away, before it remembered a previous appointment and left. A blue flash down the river. Perfect.sisters swinging on the tree at GlastonburyPutting aside that I need to plan ahead better with my photographs, (it’s OK, I’m over it), this weekend was a wonderful reminder that children love playing in natural settings. Put a gaggle of children in a meadow, among trees, or along a river side –  allow them to learn how to play safely – and they will have so much fun.

Joining in with Fiona’s as-ever inspiring #CountryKids linky. Big wave to anyone who’s popped over from there. *wave*

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


(NB. My children are 8, 10 and 12. They’ve grown up in the country and are good at assessing risk for themselves. They are also very good at dobbing each other in, if they break a rule. The age and ability that you allow your child to play like this is a judgement call.)

22 thoughts on “Playing on the wild side

  • Friday 26 June, 2015 at 5:06 pm
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    I think you’re so right. My kids have plenty of toys and fun with one another, but I’d say they’re happiest when out and about on adventures like this one. Glad they all had a good time.

    • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 7:53 am
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      It is wonderful to see how they play in these areas. The laughter is so freely given. 🙂

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 1:00 am
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    Well you know I’m going to agree with you! I have spent the last 12 months adding more and more to my wild adventures section at Coombe Mill. Seeing children play in nature with something as simple as a rope swing and imagination is wonderful. It made me laugh how one minute things are to young and the next they are playing happily, it is just the same with my own children now, I guess it is all part of growing up, but I’m reluctant to see their playful side go and if nature helps them hang onto it a little longer I’m delighted! Thank you for sharing on country Kids.

    • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 7:56 am
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      Wild adventure has less obvious limits. No age restriction signs. I agree. I don’t see why their playful time has to disappear. Seems like secondary school is a bit of a trigger. I’m glad my Eldest still plays. 🙂

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 6:03 am
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    I totally agree with you. My son and his friends are happiest running wild outside and making up their own games.

    • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 7:57 am
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      Absolutely. It is limitless. 🙂 Long may it last.

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 6:10 am
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    I totally agree, that is the best playground a child could have. My children would rather climb a tree than go to the park too. Looks like you all had wonderful day in beautiful surroundings

    • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 7:59 am
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      I like parks too, but going out and finding natural environments to play in, wins everytime. Tree climbing is unbeatable.

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 7:47 am
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    My eldest had grown out of the local playground too (even though it has a teen section). However she’ll happily play on a rope swing or mess about on trees for hours and has never mentioned anything about being too old for these. #countrykids

    • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 8:06 am
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      Rope swings and trees are great open-ended play areas. I’m sure seeing age restrictions subconsciously promotes the idea that they are growing out of the whole area. Works well for the younger one, but it might give a subtle different message to the older ones. Probably not helped for tweens who find a teen area slightly intimidating.

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 9:04 am
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    Lovely photos and what a fun couple of days out and about. I used to love swings like this when I was a child and your children look like they are having a wonderful time 🙂

    • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 10:53 am
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      They certainly did. A lovely unexpected find. Naturally they are looking forward to going back again. Maybe a picnic next time.

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 10:14 am
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    Now that looks like my kind of playground-I love it down there, such a beautiful part of the world. Love your photo’s and I too would probably have missed the red arrows flying over as well 🙂

    • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 10:53 am
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      Glad I am not alone! 🙂 Do feel blessed to have such a wonderful place to explore.

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 2:46 pm
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    This is just the sort of adventure that my children love, it’s wonderful to see them make a playground out of what they find. I’m looking forward to when they are all that bit older and can be hovered over a little less… Although the older two are already pretty sensible 🙂

    • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 3:08 pm
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      It’s amazing how soon it happens and creeps up on you. One moment you are there ready to catch them. The next they off and away, and really don’t need your help (or interference!)

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 4:46 pm
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    You’re absolutely right, I think. My daughter is not quite three so she’s a bit more limited yet but even finding sticks, collecting stones and looking in rock pools (if we happen to be near them) entertains her for ages. #countrykids

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 7:03 pm
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    Looks so lovely in there! I always want to visit the Tor but its a bit of a drive from us. And yes adults cant resist swings too. My husband always use those and oh okay me as well =P #countrykids

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 8:42 pm
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    Wow to seeing a kingfisher – a bird I’ve always wanted to spot. You are right, Monkey is never happier than when he’s in the great outdoors.

  • Saturday 27 June, 2015 at 10:03 pm
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    This just looks lovely… Nothing beats a walk in the country, nothing at all.

  • Sunday 28 June, 2015 at 9:48 pm
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    Looks like you had a great time. My kids love being in nature, though they don’t realise it until we are actually there.

    • Thursday 2 July, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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      I have to drag my lot out of the door sometimes. When we get there, it’s as if it was their idea all along.

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