Just Hannah Jane

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This weekend we enjoyed another Woodland Adventure this time exploring Haldon Forest in Exeter. The last time I visited here was quite a few years ago when I attempted ‘Go Ape’ which is a Tree Top Adventure course, now, why I attempted this I have no idea, within two minutes I got told off for swearing and only just made it through the first set of obstacles without having a full blow meltdown. To say I was scared poopless would be an understatement, needless to say I didn’t finish the course, instead I spent a few hours wandering the forest on my own whilst the rest of my family fearlessly hung themselves from trees.

This weeks plan was a much less adrenaline fuelled adventure, instead just a nice chilled exploration with the whole family. We first went for brunch at Route 5 where I stuffed myself silly with pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns and most importantly maple syrup. If you’re ever in the South West, specifically Devon or Cornwall I would highly recommend popping into one of the Route Restaurants for a bite to eat. I was so excited about my food that I completely forgot to take a photo but I can assure you there was a LOT of food. I must add this was an early Birthday day out for me so eating lots of naughty foods was totally allowed.

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Of course the first thing Willow did was to locate a stick for both herself and her Grandma, they can’t manage a woodland adventure without a walking stick.

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There are a lot of different trails to take at Haldon Forest for all different abilities, they also have bike trails with bike hire on site and segway trail tours- which I think is a must for a future day out. What we hadn’t realised before we set off is that they are currently hosting a ‘Stick Man’ Activity Trail and you can collect an activity pack from the Rangers Office. Luckily there are signs along the trail so if you did want to follow along you still could without the activity pack. We decided to follow this trail at first and came across some pretty wonderful shelters that have been left by previous explorers.

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I think I have the best Mum ever, look how happy she is in her little wooden den!

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Collecting sticks as a souvenir, unfortunately she then realised her outfit didn’t have any pockets (rookie mum mistake) but luckily Grandma saved the day and offered to keep the items safely in her pockets.

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After completing the Stick Man Activity Trail (it was pretty short) we had a quick ganders at the amazing wood carved Gruffalo before heading off on some random unmarked trails that took us beneath the ‘Go Ape’ course.

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Didn’t I say I have the best Mum, don’t they just look like the best of friends.

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Tot slept for the majority of the walk- I must add it was so lovely to spend the day in a T-Shirt!! I’d started to forget what fresh air felt like on my arms.

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We decided to join one of the marked trails, having now looked online we actually took one of the ‘moderate’ trails, specifically the Raptor Trail, so I now feel even more chuffed with Willow for making it the whole way round with only a few minutes of being carried (I do think the lolly she got at the Restaurant did help a little though). When we first arrived the car park was full so I was pleasantly surprised when we rarely came across anybody on our wander.

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Playing ‘Peek-A-Boo’ with Grandad.

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There is also a little Cafe on site so we were able to indulge in a mandatory and much needed ice cream at the end of our adventure, they also had a selection of food and drinks on offer but we were all still pretty full from brunch.

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Although I carried Allana, most of the trails probably would have been suitable for a pushchair, especially if you chose to stick to the ‘easy’ trails. There are of course harder trails for those that fancy a bit of a challenge and want to head deeper into the forest too. You do have to pay for parking but after seeing how beautifully well the forest is kept by the Forestry Commission I was actually quite happy to have parted with some money.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it a million more times but for me there is nothing more magical than exploring a Forest or Woodland. I always imagine there to be Fairies and Pixies living and hiding amongst the trees and greenery, I will never tire of the stunning way the woodland is lit up by the sunshine but equally as beautiful and eery on a cloudy wet day.

Where is your favourite place to explore?

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Hannah Jane

68 Comments

  1. Reply

    Lauren (The Helpful Hiker)

    12th May 2016

    What a great day out, I do love a woodland wander! I also love Willow’s t-shirt (might be a bit jealous!). I love the woods around here, such magical places-fab for fuelling imaginations! #whatevertheweather

    • Reply

      Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

      12th May 2016

      Thank you lovely, I’m a bit in love with Willow top too (they’ve just started doing them in adult sizes so I may or may not have ordered one for myself ) I couldn’t agree more about the woods, definitely one of my top fav places to explore x

  2. Reply

    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    12th May 2016

    This looks lovely! We did a Stick Man trail a few months back but it wasn’t quite as lovely weather as this (it was actually freezing and very muddy!!). Your description of your Go Ape experience made me smile – I know I’d be exactly the same! #WhatevertheWeather

    • Reply

      Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

      12th May 2016

      Oh you should go again now we’re setting some brighter and warmer weather, we had a wonderful time. I don’t know what part of me thought I should even attempt Go Ape Thank you for your lovely comment x

  3. Reply

    Helena

    12th May 2016

    What a lovely day out. Did you read the Gruffalo and Stick Man when you got back?#whatevertheweather

    • Reply

      Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

      12th May 2016

      We didn’t actually but that would’ve been a brilliant idea! We did read ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ though x

  4. Reply

    Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope)

    12th May 2016

    It is our dream to do a Gruffalo trail and Stickman too but the trails are too far from us! This trip looks like fun! And what an apt shirt too! #whatevertheweather #pointshoot

    • Reply

      Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

      12th May 2016

      Oh I really hope you get to visit one in the future, they really are a lot of fun for everyone Thank you for reading x

  5. Reply

    Su {Ethan & Evelyn}

    14th May 2016

    Aww… what a lovely walk. I love your forest photos and the peeka-boo with grandpa – that’s so precious. Looks like you had a great day out. x #PointShoot

    • Reply

      Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

      14th May 2016

      It really is a lovely place for a family wander and Willow was super happy cos the Grandparents were there too Thanks for the lovely comment x

  6. Reply

    You Baby Me Mummy

    16th May 2016

    Ah that looks like lots of fun, I love her little tee! Thanks for linking up to #PointShoot x

    • Reply

      Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

      16th May 2016

      Thank you lovely, I’m a bit in love with her tee too x

  7. Reply

    Chloe

    16th May 2016

    Breakfast sounds so delicious!!!!! I really want to go on a stick man trail, ours is a good hour and a half drive away though, but we’re going to mission it one sunny day soon. This looks like such a wonderful woodland adventure. Thank you so much for sharing with #whatevertheweather x

    • Reply

      Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

      16th May 2016

      Brekkie was amazing, you should definitely pop into one of the Route Restaurants when you get a chance 🙂 Evie would love the stick man trail, I hope you do get to one soon, just don’t forget to pick up the activity book (like us!) I think it would make the adventure even more exciting and interesting, thanks for hosting lovely 🙂 x

  8. Reply

    Jenny Eaves

    17th May 2016

    Lovely photos! The stick man trail looks fantastic! Definitely well worth going and your mum really does seem fantastic! Great that you could have a family day out together. Happy birthday too btw, the food sounds fantastic! Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

    • Reply

      Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

      17th May 2016

      Thank you lovely, the stick man trail was really good- I think we’ll do it again. My Mum will love that you said that, will definitely be passing that on! And thanks for the birthday wishes. Thank you for hosting lovely x

  9. Reply

    From Day Dot

    19th September 2016

    This looks brilliant and you’re right, there’s nothing more magical than woodlands!! We have Delamere Forest not far away in Cheshire (also has a Gruffalo) and I love going walking around there, even as a 30 year old I find forests exciting! I love your little one’s t-shirt too, so cute! #bigpinklink xx

  10. Reply

    Hattie

    19th September 2016

    We LOVE it at Haldon! Such a lovely place to have a woodland stroll. I’ve not been for a couple of months now but might have to squeeze in a quick trip before the weather gets ghastly! Looks like you had lots of fun. #bigpinklink

  11. Reply

    Emily

    19th September 2016

    I love a good woodland adventure. Looks like you all fun. Nice to get outdoors with kids rather stay in. #bigpinklink

  12. Reply

    Fi - Beauty Baby and Me

    19th September 2016

    What a lovely little adventure. Getting fresh air is so good for the soul! Glad you enjoyed it – you’ve made me decide to take Josh for a walk this afternoon! xx #bigpinklink

  13. Reply

    Mess and Merlot

    19th September 2016

    Aww Allana is a wee cutie! Perfect time of year for woodland walks with little ones. 🙂 #bigpinklink

  14. Reply

    Nige

    19th September 2016

    What a fab day out and those photos are adorable great post thanks for hosting #bigpinklink

  15. Reply

    Emma

    19th September 2016

    Oh I am so jealous of that amazing wood you have near you! Looks fab, and sounds like a brilliant day out #bigpinklink

  16. Reply

    Louise

    19th September 2016

    Looks like a lovely place for a walk, it’s so much easier to carry babies on woodland walks as well! #bigpinklink

  17. Reply

    Debbie

    19th September 2016

    Hi Hannah, I totally agree with you. And one of the main reasons I’ll never get fed up of walking and exploring is the chance of meeting woodland folk too! I must say Haldon has changed since I was last there (many moons ago). I was born and bred in Exeter so we did do the Haldon walks, which back then were just trails.

    I must ask my sister if they’ve done the Go Apr course, as it could be a great birthday present for me to get her children!

    #BigPinkLink

  18. Reply

    MotherofTeenagers

    19th September 2016

    You can’t beat an autumnal walk can you? We are heading down to Exeter in a few weeks to check out the university for my eldest, so may make a weekend of it and do the walk and my husband would definitely like the restaurant recommendation too! #bigpinklink

  19. Reply

    Mackenzie Glanville

    19th September 2016

    looks so peaceful and pretty #bigpinklink

  20. Reply

    OddHogg

    19th September 2016

    We love woodland walks. But I definitely agree that you can’t do it without a stick 😉 #bigpinklink

  21. Reply

    Louise Pink Pear Bear

    19th September 2016

    This looks fabulous! I love how involved your mum gets. The stick man trails are really good, we get all sorts of different Julia Donaldson based ones around the Forest of Dean. You are looking amazing here, so slim! Thanks for being a fantabulous co-host! #bigpinklink

  22. Reply

    Tammymum

    19th September 2016

    Looks like a great day out with the fam I am so jealous of that breakfast sounds absolutely heavenly! Xx #bigpinklink

  23. Reply

    The Tale of Mummyhood

    19th September 2016

    Sounds like a really great day out, I love the ‘Wild Child’ t-shirt!

    #bigpinklink

  24. Reply

    the frenchie mummy

    19th September 2016

    What a lovely day out! And your little girl looks so cute in her outfit! #bigpinklink

  25. Reply

    Jess Patterson

    19th September 2016

    Looks like a lovely place X

  26. Reply

    Baby Anon

    19th September 2016

    This looks fab – so nice to get out in the fresh air. Love the den too. And I don’t get the Go Ape thing either! #bigpinklink

  27. Reply

    Squirmy Popple

    19th September 2016

    It looks like a lovely day out! I’m hoping to take some woodland walks once the leaves turn – forests are so stunning this time of year. #bigpinklink

  28. Reply

    Alison (MadHouseMum)

    19th September 2016

    The walk looks gorgeous, but the breakfast tops everything! You’ll HAVE to go back to get a photo for us 🙂 Alison x #bigpinklink

  29. Reply

    Cheryl @ Tea or Wine

    19th September 2016

    This looks great and I agree with you that walking through woodland or forests do feel magical! We did a similar Stickman trail recently in Essex that was brilliant. You’ve got some lovely photos here, glad you had a great day out! #BigPinkLink x

  30. Reply

    Kirsty - Winnettes

    19th September 2016

    We have one of these gruff ol walks near us. My girls love it and often ask to go. Not be honest I’m a pretty big fan too!
    #BigPinkLink

  31. Reply

    Michelle

    19th September 2016

    That looks like a great place to take the kids and I love that shirt. Wild Child. Very cool! Thanks so much for hosting #bigpinklink

  32. Reply

    justsayingmum

    19th September 2016

    What a wonderful photo diary?! Really beautiful. I’m impressed you even ever tried Go Ape – I would never have thought I could be so brave! #BigPinkLink

  33. Reply

    jeremy@thirstydaddy

    19th September 2016

    We love to talk walks in the woods and create our own adventures. Nothing better. Great pics! #bigpinklink

  34. Reply

    Cathryn - Little Paper Swans

    19th September 2016

    This looks like an amazing day out. The breakfast you had sounds incredible. I could so eat it right now!

    #bigpinklink

  35. Reply

    Emma Jones

    19th September 2016

    We have somewhere very similar salcey forest. Love a woodland walk although hate the parking charges #bigpinklink

  36. Reply

    five little doves

    19th September 2016

    Oh wow what beautiful photos, and what a gorgeous place to walk! We love walking in the woods, as long as my kids have a big stick they’re happy! #bigpinklink

  37. Reply

    Tracey Abrahams

    19th September 2016

    I totally get your aversion to Go Ape. we have one in our Forest of Dean and there is no way in hell I am ever getting my butt up there. I have actually listed this as a very good reason never to lose weight. #Bigpinklink

  38. Reply

    Oana - Blondie Mommy

    19th September 2016

    Seems like she’s having a great time. Great photos. We’ve also been in the woodlands last weekend :)#bigpinklink

  39. Reply

    Coombe Mill

    20th September 2016

    Hard to beat a good woodland walk and the stick man trail on the forestry commission sites gives it an extra sense of fun for little ones. Looks like you choose a lovely day to visit. #bigpinklink

  40. Reply

    Emma me and b make tea

    20th September 2016

    what a fab day out 🙂 I love getting out for a walk in the fresh air. my boy often collects sticks as we go around too 🙂 #bigpinklink

  41. Reply

    kristin mccarthy

    20th September 2016

    Such great pics. Mine never look like this- my pictures mostly include the twins running in opposite directions and eating sticks and leaves.

    #bigpinklink

  42. Reply

    Kat

    20th September 2016

    We do love a woodland walk. And I wish girls clothes came with more pockets! The stick man trail sounds good and we like activity packs and trails too! #bigpinklink

  43. Reply

    Andrea @ Topsy Turvy Tribe

    20th September 2016

    I’ve been to the Go Ape there and absolutely loved it! The forest trail looks fabulous, my eldest loves the Stick Man! #BigPinkLink

  44. Reply

    Katherine Betts

    20th September 2016

    I love a woodland walk too, and so does the dog. Unfortunately no one else in our family does; plus we live in the desert so it really doesn’t happen very often. Cute photos though, your daughter is adorable!

  45. Reply

    Nursery Whines

    20th September 2016

    My grandfather took me on a lot of woodland walks as a child. (Including an amazing one I think has closed down called Puzzle Wood in the Forest of Dean). This looks like such a great family outing and it’s great all they have done to encourage children to feel engaged with nature. #bigpinklink

  46. Reply

    One Messy Mama

    20th September 2016

    Looks heavenly, its so good to get out in the open and enjoy nature!#bigpinklink

  47. Reply

    Karen | TwoTinyHands

    20th September 2016

    Totally agree woodland walks are the best. That gruffalo sculpture is amazing!! #bigpinklink

  48. Reply

    ohmummymia

    20th September 2016

    looks so nice I bet you had a good time:)
    #bigpinklink

  49. Reply

    Ordinary Hopes

    20th September 2016

    I love the Gruffalo photos! #bigpinklink

  50. Reply

    wendy

    21st September 2016

    We did a stick man trail at the beginning of the year, it was so fun! I love that your little one has to get a stick when you go on walks, my boy is exactly the same. This looks like a lovely family day out, glad you had fun 🙂 xx #bigpinklink

  51. Reply

    An imperfect mum (Catie)

    21st September 2016

    I totally agree that exploring a forest is magical. We love a forest walk! Beautiful photos. I’d love to do the stick man/Gruffalo trail may have to find one when we are back in the UK in October. I don’t think Holland has them! #bigpinklink

  52. Reply

    Emma (Upside Mum)

    21st September 2016

    Looks like you had a great day. So much to see and do. Love the sound of the stick man trail too! #bigpinklink

  53. Reply

    Someone's Mum (Danielle)

    22nd September 2016

    Some of our favourite places to explore are woods too. It look like such a great place to get out to – and you got some beautiful pictures. Love her T-shirt! #bigpinklink

  54. Reply

    Crummy Mummy

    22nd September 2016

    This looks idyllic! We have the South Downs on our doorstep which are great for exploring #bigpinklink

  55. Reply

    Mummy Rules

    22nd September 2016

    I love Haldon Forest, now we have moved a bit further away from Dartmoor it is my alternative go-to. I love your photos Hannah and Willow is such a cutie! Give me a shout if you ever fancy meeting up there it’s a good location between where we live! #bigpinklink

  56. Reply

    Mudpie Fridays

    23rd September 2016

    I do like the forestry commission sites, we visit Alice Holt when we can. We also did the stickman trail and really enjoyed it. I do think you are the best mummy in the world for the den!! Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink xx

  57. Reply

    Lisa Pomerantz

    24th September 2016

    What a fun day out and about. We are so fortunate because we have a park with miles and miles of trails just near us. We get out and go for andventures all the time. The girls just love it, and so does the puppy! All of happy at once, and it’s free? Go figure. Lucky! Thanks for sharing this #bigpinklink

  58. Reply

    Tracey Bowden

    25th September 2016

    I’ve never been here but it looks beautiful. We’re not ones for going exploring in the woods, bit boring we are, but this does look beautiful and I’ve heard the trails are great fun #bigpinklink

  59. Reply

    Silly Mummy

    25th September 2016

    Sounds like fun! My girls would love the Gruffalo! (I don’t think I would like Go Ape either!) #bigpinklink

  60. Reply

    Susie - This Is Me Now

    25th September 2016

    Wow lovely photos! I love a forestry commission forest too! Just got back from the New Forest and I also thought how magical it was. We have Thetford Forest near us and want to go back soon as I think there is a Gruffalo trail now.
    #bigpinklink

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