Thursday, 18 August 2011

If you go down to the woods today ...

Nestled deep in woodland a few miles outside Norwich is a strangely magical place. Leave your car behind in the carpark and enter the domain of the Boggles and Twiggles, and you'd better leave any grown up sense of decorum in the car too if you're going to get the most out of this giant adventure playground. It's like Willy Wonka has been let loose in a forest with building materials and a team of carpenters.

It's called Bewilderwood and is a place my children BEG to be taken to. We've just returned from two weeks in Devon (of which more another day) and Mr DC wanted a special last day before being chained back in his office so on Sunday we piled in the car and made our second visit of the year . Last time was early in the season and the place was rather more heavily populated this time - but still not anything like the crazy busy atmosphere of the large fun park made from bricks than they usually clamour to visit.

There are brightly coloured elfish houses hidden in the trees, birds and butterflies, and everywhere the sound of people being very silly indeed. You do have to put up with a slightly daft story that links the different areas together and is clearly set up to sell books, but once you get past that you can go on aerial walkways, giant climbing frames, terrifyingly steep slides and zipwires - all sized so that the grown ups can join in with the children. Even I, the least athletic human in the world, joined in and had a blast.

My very favourite part is straight out of the Famous Five - a section of woodland amply stocked with long branches and bracken and designated the "den building area". We spent hours here. Hours. There were some astonishingly complex shelters being built, lots of collapses and no grumpy voices at all, which at the end of a very upsetting week for pretty much everyone living in this country came as an enormous relief. OK, so ours ended up looking like the House at Pooh Corner but we did sit inside it to drink tea and eat ice cream. Not sure I'd sleep in it though.

But this has to be my abiding memory of the day.

I have no idea where she gets it from.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Bewilderwood, though my children have said over and over that they want to work there when they grow up. I think they assume the staff get to play once the visitors have gone home ...