When I told my kids we were going on a day trip to Blackwood Forest, Ezra’s first response was ‘Hooray, we can play hide and seek’.
The thought of my city urchins getting lost amidst tall trees and thickets sent me into restraining mode: ‘No sweetie, they’ve got structured activities planned, no wandering off!’
Little did I know that mere hours later I would be happily letting them munch on tree leaves, handle rabbit poo and play with fire!
Forest Holidays invited us on a blogger day out to their brand new luxury wood cabins site in Blackwood Forest, Hampshire.
It was just an hour by train from Waterloo to Micheldever, where we were picked up by a shuttle bus (free service for guests) that drove us to the main retreat.
Surrounded by hundreds of tall birch trees on either side, I could almost feel my lungs expanding with each breath.
Through the trees we caught our first sight of the lodgings — sleek, contemporary wood cabins, nicely spaced apart.
After a brief welcome from the Forest Holidays team, we went to take a closer look.
Forest Holidays specialises in upscale yet eco-friendly accommodations aimed at couples, families and groups seeking an escape from the wear and tear of modern life. They have several popular sites around the UK including Deer Park and Sherwood Forest.
The Silver Birch cabin we inspected slept 6 people including master bedroom and ensuite bathroom plus fully fitted kitchen. There’s adjustable underfloor heating in all the cabins, wi-fi on request (although you might prefer going unplugged for your stay), patio seating and even a hot tub area outside!
My favourite features are the floor length windows that let in so much light and allow you to gaze out into the forest from the living room.
It wasn’t long before I was fantasising about being here on a solo writing retreat, stepping out with my morning cuppa or relaxing in the hot tub before bed time. You can even book a house call from a personal chef or a massage therapist to ease you into a state of utter bliss…
FOREST RANGER EXPERIENCES
After our cabin tour, we had a Forest Ranger lead us into the forest — just one of many family-friendly activities on offer. ‘What does a Forest Ranger look like,’ Jed had asked earlier, ‘does he look like a Power Ranger?”
But after an afternoon with him, the boys thought he was a total ninja. The theme of our mini forest escapade was ‘basic survival skills’ and the Forest Ranger had a brilliant way of interacting with the kids. He asked them questions, told them funny anecdotes and really made them feel like they were on a learning adventure.
We discovered what we could and couldn’t eat in the forest. Tip: birch tree leaves are edible and quite zesty in flavour — even my friend Mirka’s baby of All Baby Advice blog couldn’t get enough of them.
We trailed mini-beasts and slow worms and before we left, the kids got to build their own den.
Most exciting of all, the Forest Ranger taught us how to (safely) make our own fires using the driest sticks, leaves, flint and cotton wool. Everybody had a turn, even little Jed.
The joy on the boys’ faces as they made fire happen all by themselves encapsulates just how happy we all were that day.
A wonderful experience. Thanks to Forest Holidays for hosting us!
Visit Forest Holidays online for booking details and special offers.
NB: Forest Holidays invited us on a free day out and reimbursed our travel costs. I was not paid to write this post.
Top 2 photos and bottom photo credits: Gracie May Photography. All other photos by yours truly.