Did you know, that we have our own equivalent to Alice Holt Forest in Basingstoke? Basing Wood, or Carpenters Down as I’ve always known it, is a fantastic huge expanse of woodland, with trails, picnic benches, a Woodland Trail, a nature play ground and the chance to spot a Deer. It’s completely free, you don’t even need to pay parking.
I’ve been walking in Basing Wood for more than 30 years. Eek!! I remember when it used to have the National Trust sign at the entrance. I realised yesterday, when we were walking through the forest, that I remember when certain bits of the forest were originally planted with sapplings. Those trees are fully flourished now, and you can’t tell that they are less than 30 years old. Gosh, that makes me sounds ancient! lol.
We were there on Sunday and we had most of the forest to ourselves. In fact, we didn’t see a soul for over an hour, as we went deeper into the forest. It’s a great place for getting away from it all, for getting some fresh air, rain or shine, and for exhausting your children so they sleep well ;-).
If you would prefer that someone showed you the trails within the Forest, Emma at BuggyFit does a class on Monday’s and Friday’s in the Wood.
This is the address to find Basing Wood: Popley Fields Community Centre/Carpenters Down Basingstoke RG24 9AE
There is a “natural” play park at the top of the hill (no idea what the official term of it is). You can see from the photo’s below that its great for Toddlers. The few times we have been in the forest recently, we have had it to ourselves (although, I may regret this post soon! lol). They have swings, tunnels, tree stumps, stone blocks and all sorts of other things that you can swing, clamber, climb, run through, jump over, etc. etc. We always spend at least 30 minutes here, just running around the park.
I absolutely love the woodland trail, which is just a short walk away from the play park. The wooden animals are brilliant and my Little One loves crawling over them, stroking them, and trying to feed them stones! lol. When I’ve been on my own with my Little One, we have walked up to the end of the woodland trail, as I can’t push the pushchair up the hill because of the remnants of my SPD. She can manage to walk to the end of the Woodland trail and back, at 2 years, 3 months old. (This may help, if you are wondering if you can take your little one without a pushchair).
We also walked through the outdoor Parkour site (as it’s called on Google Maps) and this was great to explore. It’s good for older children, as they can swing on the pipes that are attached to the roof. This is half way up the hill, on the way in, and is a large wooden structure with extra “bits” to it.
The forest is a great place for a picnic. There are picnic benches in the play park at the top of the hill and the odd bench dotted through the forest. However, if you take a picnic blanket with you, you don’t need to worry about where you sit. ;-). There is also a really large grassy area next to the forest, but a lot of dog walkers use this area, so beware of where you are sitting.
One of the great things that I love about this forest, is that you can nearly always spot a deer if you are quiet and standing in the right place. We saw one with my little one a few weeks ago and she was mesmerised. We couldn’t have been more than 25 meters away from it.
Not available. But as it’s outside, it doesn’t matter where you change your little one, as there’s generally no one in view!
Not available. So maybe not as good as Alice Holt for this reason.
Most of the paths are suitable for pushchairs, but you do need to go up one big hill. So if you have SPD…be careful! However, you could walk around the grassy field next to the forest if the hills look like being too much of an issue. Or, you can dodge the hills by accessing the forest from Chineham Business Park.
is Free!!! There are about 40 parking spaces too, so you should always be able to find a space.
Rating 4.9 out of 5
Basing Wood/Carpenters Down, like Finkley Down Farm, has a special place in my heart because I’ve been going there so long. I took 0.1 off the rating because sometimes there is a lot of litter because local youths use the forest in the late evenings/night times and leave their rubbish.