Is there really a better time to get outdoors than Autumn? One cannot help but be drawn to all the beautiful colours that comes with the Harvest season and such simple pleasures can be found around each corner from colourful crunchy leaves to stomp through or being a child for a moment and joining in with jumping in puddles or standing among tall pines and oaks trying to catch falling leaves. I have not always coped that well with the weather in Wales, not after having spent 19yrs in South Africa and a naturally warm climate with long hot summers and short and mild winters but as the years go by one after another I have really come to love my mothers birthplace, especially being a naturally outdoor person South Wales and all it's green mountains, forests, manor houses and country parks have become somewhat of a playground for not for my kids but also for me.
We got up to a fair few adventures during half term despite some of us not being at full steam due to all the viruses and what not about at this time of the year, although I have to say fresh air does wonders for your immune system and spirits when your not feeling your best. I thought I would share two of the little excursions we had this past week. One was to Dyffryn House a National Trust property in the Vale of Glamorgan which was celebrating Wellie Week for the whole of half term. We love this place as despite being there many times we are still discovering new little nooks and crannies we have yet to explore across the 55 acres the manor house stands in including formal and informal gardens with an array of beautiful flowers, forest, ponds, kitchen garden, glasshouse and the resident pigs of course.
We also love exploring the forests and nature walks around Forest Fawr near Castle Coch. There is a sculpture trail but we often opt for one of the more adventurous routes and there are some really interesting remains from the coal industry such as the Blue Pool mine and Three Bear mine, we also did a little day camp in the summer which you can read about Here. There is also loads of opportunities to build dens, make wild art, spot mushrooms and pick wild garlic in these woods. We also love stopping in at The Forest Cafe which is located on the edge of the forest and offers up some delicious soups which is perfect after a few hours in the forest on an autumn day. They also had some pumpkin carving this week and as it's quiet a location it didn't seem rushed or manic like other places. My eldest also took his Ukulele with him and we had a few impromptu songs to sing along too during our walk which really was lovely.
Over time personally I have become more and more fascinated with wild flowers, trees and mushrooms and I am slowly trying to learn more and more about them as is my eldest, so we are documenting our findings through photographs and going home and trying to learn more about what we saw. We have always regarded our time outdoors not only beneficial for our own personal wellbeing but also a fantastic chance to learn about nature and life cycles together as a family.
What is really exciting at the moment is how with each adventure we have my youngest is walking further and further and almost keeping up with his older brother meaning the need for my sling is less and this is certainly helping the bond grow between the two of them as my eldest shows him how to open conkers and how not to touch mushrooms or plants such as foxgloves as well as guide him along the trails under the watchful eyes of us of course. It's really wonderful to watch.
We aim to spend at least an hour outdoors each day come rain or shine and here are a few little snaps from the past fortnight adventures that I shared above as part of #ShareYourOutdoors with Port Lympne Reserve and The Apsinall Foundation a world renowned animal conversation charity which has asked bloggers to share what the outdoors means to them with a chance of winning a wonderful break away in a Shepherds Hut at Pinewood. The competition closes really soon, 31st Oct and I nominate Claire from The Evans-Crittens blog to join in.