Camping in the Forest

Camping Fun in The New Forest…

A fortnight ago after work on Friday, we packed the tent up into the car and drove straight out from London to the New Forest. It was the end of a very busy week and I must admit that there were a few of us who, initially would’ve preferred to have curled up in front of the sofa. However, just over a 2-hour drive and as we released four fraught children from the car, the weight of a busy weekend in the city lifted and they were free!

Even the oldest and most resistant to leaving his creature comforts (iPod and Laptop) behind immediately looked more relaxed once outdoors. Taking responsibility for a fellow blogger and camper’s dog and lots of younger children whilst we unpacked. He made me very proud; in fact, all the children were a joy to watch as they explored the surrounds. I didn’t once need to intervene or referee an argument they all seemed blissfully happy with parental supervision at a comfortable distance.

 

Tree climbing in the forest

Camping in the Forest had invited us to their Holmsey Campsite in the New Forest to discover our inner child having conducted a study which found we are all happiest at the age of 8.  They found, 35% of parents given a choice would return to Year 3 where they remember their happiest times spent enjoying simple pleasures like riding their bike and climbing trees. Observing my children I would agree that year 3, aged 8 is in the middle of those perfect childhood years from ages 4-12 where you’re old enough to explore and young enough to be silly.

I think parenting is a golden opportunity to re-live your childhood, you just need to find the time and space to relax and enjoy it. Once the tent was up and gear unpacked with limited connection of smart devices (even though there’s free WIFI on site) a beautiful summer weekend of camping offered the perfect opportunity for this.

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On Saturday we were all treated to a meeting with Chris Packham, a perfect ambassador and someone who immediately takes me back to my younger days. We were real animal lovers and absolutely fascinated by the unpredictable nature of a young Chris Packham and the animal guests of The Really Wild Show.

Meeting Chris Packham

Chris said: “Aged 8, I was massively into looking for newts, frogs, toads and tadpoles and also mad about drawing their life cycles and maps of where they lived.”

Sounds familiar and meeting him with the children you’d wonder if he’s changed much as he led them on an exploration for beetles and other predator bugs. His passion for the natural world is inspirational and his encyclopaedic knowledge fascinating. I will forever be quite honoured to have met him and am delighted my children got the opportunity to meet such a fantastic role model.

Park Rangers

 

Exploring with Chris as Junior Park Rangers for the day the children learned about the unique environment of the New Forest, the commoners who own the live stock that graze there and the wildlife that join them.

They discovered spores of fungi, mole hills, butterflies, bees, beetles and to a great mix of horror and fascination of all – a giant wood wasp! They made fairy homes with twigs, crowns from fern and flowers and of course climbed trees. They climbed lots of trees, in fact, Cian aged 7 and so not far from his happiest year wished he could’ve slept in the trees and cried at the idea of having to leave.

Forest Rangers

Who wouldn’t be disappointed to go home after evenings spent looking at this…

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Camping in the Forest have 16 camping and caravan sites set among the woodlands of the Forestry Commission. The sites are located in the New Forest, Forest of Dean, Wiltshire, Wales and Scotland. They are made to be as environmentally friendly as possible, fitting into their surroundings and offering unrivalled direct access to the forest with a focus on no boundaries so you can set off to explore in any direction.

We can’t wait to visit to explore again soon and are very grateful to Camping in the Forest for inviting us for this unforgettable experience.

For more information and to book visit, www.campingintheforest.co.uk follow the action on Twitter @Camping_CITF, Instagram @campingintheforest and by liking Camping in the Forest on Facebook.