Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Perfect Woodland Walk, accessible for all.

Norfolk not only boasts beautiful coastal scenes but has some fantastic countryside more inland too.  Today was Mothering Sunday so we took our 2 kids and dog for an amazing walk and wanted to share it with you.

On the outskirts of the picturesque market town of Holt (I will cover Holt in a future post),  less than 30 minutes from our holiday cottages is a fabulous park called 'Holt Country Park'.

There is something for everyone here, there are a series of signposted trails through the beautiful woods ranging from 1/3 mile right through to an 18 miler for the more active among us!

We arrived and parked up.  The car park was level and had several disabled parking bays next to the Visitor's Centre.

We were greeted by a friendly fellow in a pop up coffee shop who served delicious coffee!

We had a wander round to get our bearings and soon stumbled across a huge viewing tower where you could look out over the beautiful parkland, where wild ponies roam free.

You can access this parkland through a kissing gate and can explore freely but this would be for the more able bodied of us as the terrain is quite uneven and hilly (yes, Norfolk does really have some hills!! ;) )

Our tummies soon reminded us that is was in fact lunch time so we winded our way back to the picnic area which had both open air & under cover picnic tables including some marvellous wheelchair friendly tables.

We settled down to a veritable feast prepared by my lovely husband and even made friends with the BFG!

There were good toilet facilities there, including disabled toilet which were clean and tidy.

We grabbed one of the maps from the Visitor's Centre (closed as it was Sunday) and headed off in search of the play area which was nestled in among the trees.  The children had a ball running around, playing on the swings & slides and were loath to be pulled away from their new buddies they had made!

We decided to check out the Green Trail which is an 'Easy Access half-mile trail' and were very impressed. The tracks were level and well kept and the scenery was beautiful.

Every now and then hidden gems were found in the form of various sculptures & an archway.

There were regular benches dotted about if you were to need a breather or indeed just to sit and take in the views.

We came across a super 'Nature Area' which had some lovely raised beds, which looked like they were in the process of being filled.  There was a smashing bug hotel which the kids loved getting up close to! There were a couple of benches where you could sit and watch the world go by, it was a remarkably peaceful place and I would have loved to have hung around if it hadn't been for the 4 year old & 6 year old tugging on my hand! Next time.....

The place was very dog friendly with regular dog waste bins along the trails and a fab watering hole for them.

The various other trails we could have taken include a cycle route which is 1 1/3 miles of traffic free cycling - perfect for the children to find their cycling confidence.

The park is very well managed, there was a board of upcoming events for the Easter Holidays to keep the children entertained & active. They cater for organised groups on request.

Their newsletter, available from the Visitor's Centre tells of wildlife you can keep an eye out for on your adventures.  A flock of 12 Parrot Crossbills arrived in the woods this autumn and are still about, they are apparently very rare and many bird watchers have flocked ('scuse the pun! ;) ) to the Park to see them. Other wildlife we were advised to keep a look out for were Red Kite & Bank Voles as well as a variety of flora & fauna.

A brilliant day - I would highly recommend a visit.

Why not discover more of Norfolk’s beauty with a break in a family & pet friendly accessible cottage? See for further details :)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was mine & the hubby's 7th Wedding Anniversary. As the weather was fabulous, unlike the big day itself, we decided to head to the coast for the day.

We dropped the ratbags at school and headed to Thornham to the wonderful deli there.

We had a leisurely breakfast (almost unheard of with a 4 & 6 year old!) in the conservatory which is a fantastic sun trap!  The food was delicious! Scrambled egg & bacon on toast for me & a dirty big fry up for the husband!

The food at the Deli is fantastic, there is everything from tea and scrumptious cakes to hearty main dishes. The atmosphere is homely and relaxing, I can not recommend it enough.

Thornham Deli has level access throughout for wheelchair users and a good sized disabled toilet.

We then pootled along the coast road taking in all our surroundings until we got to Holkham.....WOW, I love that place! We parked up and headed along the boardwalk towards the beach.

This boardwalk is wheelchair accessible and leads to a beautiful lookout where you could happily wile away an hour or so looking out to this:

We carried on though and had a lovely brisk walk out to the sea.  This is North Norfolk Skies at their best - the sky went on and on forever!  Holkham beach played a huge part in my decision to move home to Norfolk post university, it has a huge pull on you! :)

We then headed back through the woods, looking back through the dunes to this:

Coming out the other side of the woods we stumbled across these beautiful marshes, which is known to be teaming with birdlife.

There is a fabulous hide here with wonderful disabled access, as the picture below demonstates.

The hide can be accessed from the main parking area by this level track, so is easily accessible for all.

Following on from this amazing walk we headed back to The Rose Cafe at Holkham where you can get a decent sarnie or bowl of soup or alternatively if you want something more substantial, The Victoria, Holkham is just next door.

We finished our day, having collected the kids from school, stopping at The Hoste Arms for a posh cream tea.  It's been a while since I have been to The Hoste, having frequented it in my youth and it has changed beyond all recognition and is a luxurious Spa Hotel now.