We love nothing more than big family days out exploring new places, however these often come with a hefty price tag! During the week when it’s just me and the little one at home I like to get him out and about as much as possible – mainly for my own sanity as cabin fever can set in after only a few hours of play in the house and he is a real lover of the outdoors (something I have had to learn to embrace as a result).
Being in Cumbria we are blessed to have a vast range of outdoor spaces mere minutes from our front door and whilst the weather sometimes has other ideas it rarely stops us from utilising it!
I found myself having such a day recently where I soon realised we HAD to get out for some fresh air or I may have been bald by the end of the afternoon! I decided we should try somewhere we hadn’t been before. I have heard people mention Kingmoor Nature Reserve many times in the past, but only ever had a vague idea of where it was, so despite being a drizzly day we donned our coats, stuck the wellies in the car and headed out. I put on my ‘trusty’ Sat Nav and off we went! Literally minutes from the house it decided it wanted me to pull into what looked like someone’s drive and I thought it was up to its old tricks once again and sending me to random places – oh the stories I could tell! I was however shocked to see it opened out onto a small free car park for the Nature Reserve – probably only big enough for 15-20 cars depending on how sensibly people park! Having lived in Carlisle for 13 years I can’t comprehend that I been past it on at least a weekly basis without knowing it was there!
The woods themselves are fairly small and are actually the remains of a much larger woodland and once inside Leo was excited to discover that the route has numbered signposts and set out at a trot to find number 2!
Along the way we collected leaves, spotted mushrooms, listened for birds, spotted squirrels, squelched mud and stomped over bridges plus found a few surprises along the way. The route has posts numbered 1-7 and is a circular route which we completed twice – it’s a fairly short walk but ideal for kids and having looked online when we returned home two laps is a mile in total- perfect for little legs. There are no gates or steps, but there are a few small wooden walkways and bridges which we enjoyed stomping over pretending to be giants “Fi fi fo fum”- in drier months it would be suitable for pushchairs but was definitely a bit too squelchy when we went!
Autumn is a fantastic time of year for walks in the woods as there is so much to see, spot and discuss and for Leo it is his idea of a perfect afternoon, wellies on and getting down and dirty with nature! It just goes to show that whilst ‘big’ days out to attraction’s are amazing and fun that something as simple as a walk can be just as engaging, costs nothing and allows for some good quality family time.
FUN HOUSE RATING:9/10 Fantastic FREE activity to fill an afternoon!
Kingmoor Nature Reserve, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 9QJ