Side Street Style: Pond Dipping & Apple Picking at Forest Farm Nature Reserve

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


Pond Dipping & Apple Picking at Forest Farm Nature Reserve

apple harvest

I love the sweetness of simplicity that seems to roll in as the seasons change from Summer to Autumn and the fruit trees ripen and Harvest time is at hand. Last year we visited Forest Farm Nature Reserve open day which is lead by the rangers of this wild green space which attracts an array of wildlife and birds. We had such a fun time last year squeezing apple juice from a variety of different apples found in the wild orchard as well as worm charming and we even spotted a Kingfisher around one of the bird hides that we made this years open day a firm date in our diary.

little farmer

The rangers hall is not very big and I don't think that many people know about it, which in a way is better as it's not over run by crowds in anyway. This year among being able to walk freely among the apple orchard with it's long overgrown grass and filling our basket with a real variety of different types of apples we also got to try our hand at willow weaving and a spot of pond dipping. Luckily the RSPB were on hand to explain all the little beasties my eldest caught (and of course put back) from the pond including boatmen and Damsel fly nymphs which we both found very interesting. Also put my eldest Muddy Puddles jacket to the test, it's served us really well this past year and you really can't beat a yellow rain jacket can you!

Yellow raincoat

natural childhood

The rangers had also found some shedded grass snake skin around the pond earlier that day which was very exciting as my eldest loves reptiles and snakes. Unfortunately my youngest was a little under the weather but even so enjoyed all the activities with his favourite being able to eat apples straight off the tree as well as see all the Chaffinches Blue Tits fly back and forth to the bird feeders.

forest farm

Days like this pretty much sum up Autumn perfection and we spent a good few hours here enjoying some very simple but wonderful family time as well as some natural learning about the world around us. Now I just can't wait to make some apple cake and crumble with our little fruit harvest. 

Country Kids


  1. Such fun! We went pond dipping a couple of years ago on holiday and Frog loved it. I think we'll have to go again soon!

  2. What a gorgeous autumnal family activity! Looks like you had a fab time x

  3. oh this looks like such a great day!

  4. Oh gorgeous Laura - that little hat! xx

  5. We have apple day at our teeny tiny London city farm but your day out looks amazing!

  6. What a lovely family outing, I really want to do things like this with Elsie one day and how lovely to go home and make something from the apples you picked! x

  7. Gorgeous photos. Looks like a fun day out. #countrykids

  8. What gorgeous pictures! I really love the colours on these pictures, very autumnal. And being able to chat with the rangers sounds great - kids get to learn interesting things from them :) #countrykids

  9. Cool, what fun! Your boys are adorable, love the muddy puddles yellow jacket too! So pleased I found you through #countrykids x

  10. You can't beat eating an apple straight from the tree. I love that there were other activities such as willow weaving, as well as apple pressing. What a lovely day. #CountryKids

  11. I remember you visiting here last year. It looks like a real hidden gem and all the better for not being too crowded. I do love the idea of the apple pressing and willow weaving. You've reminded me I need to make some Christmas stars from our hazel twigs which weave much the same as willow. Looking at your photos I am noticing just how much your boys are growing up, where does that time go?

    Thank you for joining me for #CountryKids.

  12. This really does look like a lovely place. I discovered apple picking this year and it really was good fun. The pond dipping is an added bonus and I bet they are looking great at this time of year (we tried in the summer but the swamps/ponds were quite dry)! Your photos are so gorgeous they really do sum up autumn perfection! #CountryKids

  13. Awww that really does sound like the perfect autumn day, I really do love this time of year #CountryKids

  14. What a fabulous day. Those apples look very yummy - can't beat eating apples that have been picked from the tree. The pond dipping sounds like fun too and how fascinating to find a shed skin from a grass snake. #countrykids


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