“The big park, the big park!!!”
For the next few posts I’d like to take you on a little journey of some of my favourite places and show some of my photographs I have of these places.
This post is a park which my eldest refers to as the big park due to it being the largest we tend to visit . I’ve been there many times before as an adult and as a child.
My first memory of “the big park” was when I was aged 3 or 4 sitting in the shade under one of the many trees on a bright sunny day surrounded by freshly cut grass. I was on a playschool trip out and we were having a teddy bears picnic. I don’t remember much of what I ate the memory I have is of holding a sandwich in one hand watching my friends eating and talking and in my other hand held tightly was my bear. It was not a typical bear and I do wonder whether I was encouraged to take a toy that if I lost it wouldn’t matter as much especially since I don’t remember it ever having an actual name (as a parent I have suggested to my own children in similar situations to not take their favourite toy to avoid being upset if lost). The bear I had with me was a panda, it had the usual markings of a panda it even had a little stumpy tail but the main thing I remember was that its eyes were brown with black pupils and they were quite large compared to its small head. Around its eyes there was a different texture black felt which was firm to touch compared to the rest of the soft panda.
A memory yes, but it is very clear. Perhaps because it involved most of my senses.
The park has been transformed in recent years using a National Lottery grant, when Monkey was a baby they updated the paths, added better lights, benches and installed a lovely large selection of play equipment at the bottom end of the park which both children have used (although part of it has been updated again recently). It has 4 baby swings, a slide with a climbing frame (it did have a small bridge which was fun). There’s a selection of balance beams and a mini roundabout. This is in the young children section with a fence around to keep dogs out. Next to this section is an area for older children including large climbing frame with ropes to balance on and a slide. There’s a zip wire, a tyre swing and another large wooden climbing area shaped as a boat which is quite high and surrounded by trees making it a good hiding place or somewhere to watch the world go by.
Further into the park there’s a large flat area which is marked out as a football pitch. At weekend’s the park is also used by running groups.Weddings also take place here and other special events such as craft shows and small music events.
Overlooking the park is an old manor house, the park was its owners garden at one point and amongst the many trees planted many years ago there are flower-beds which were given a new lease of life with the money granted to the park a team of gardeners ensure the park is kept lovely for all to visit.
The trees are always filled with many birds who regularly nest there, there are bat boxes, bird boxes and areas which have been kept as natural nature areas filled with many insects and last Autumn I discovered a red toadstool which I have never seen before. In these natural areas there’s some wooden sculptures which unless you wander into these areas you wouldn’t know they were there as they are camouflaged against the trees and tall grasses. There are little wooden seats carved to look like toadstools and benches made with large logs. There’s also a nature trail and the instructions are at one of the 5 entrances to the park.
It truly is a lovely place to be.
When I was in the very early stages of being pregnant with Boo (I was convinced I was pregnant days before I took the test) I went to the park on my own one early morning after going to the shops whilst Monkey and my husband were at home, it just felt like a place I needed to go and be alone with my thoughts.
I have been at the park in various weather’s be it rain, fog, sunshine even snow! It still brings joy to both my children and myself to visit. I have chased butterflies, caught falling leaves, found acorns and identified leaves from the many different trees.
Even driving past it on my way to work last week in the fog I wanted to park the car and walk through the park in the deep fog.
It seems its not just one of my favourite places to go. When Monkey finished his last day at infant school last summer I went to collect him and asked him what he wanted to do as a treat for finishing early from school (they had let them go an hour an a half earlier than usual and so we had a while before we had to collect Boo from nursery). I thought he would say he wanted to go see animals and have cake at a garden centre instead he chose to go to the big park and we played with a football together, kicking it around and then went in search of butterflies. It was the perfect start to the long summer holidays.
I’d love to hear from you, do you or your family have a favourite park you like to visit?