NHM Readers Recommend: Local Country Parks

An NHM Reader recently asked: “Would anyone be able to recommend some local country parks? We like Wellington but it’s so expensive!” 

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Local Country Parks

Andrea said “All about a 30-50 min drive away. Dinton Pastures, Itchen Valley, Moors Valley, Royal Victoria, all free except for parking.

Clare saidAlice Holt has the gruffalo trail and in the summer  Moors Valley in the New Forest is great for a while day with only parking to pay”

Charlene saidAlice Holt, Virginia Waters

Dan saidFleet ponds is lovely to walk around.”

Sarah saidCalifornia country park just pay parking”

Jo R saidAlice Holt, Bracknell look out (cheaper later in day) outside free. California country park. Dinton Pastures. Frensham big and little ponds. Elizabeth Country Park. Sign up to National Trust for less than £10 a month then go as many times as you can!

Vicky saidSome great suggestions! We went to California country park for the first time in October and we’ll be going back in the summer to try out the paddling pool (think it’s a £2.50 charge for the pool).”

Tracy saidBeale Park season ticket is very very good value!”

Emma L said “Defo Alice Holt and there’s one in Reading Dinton I think”

Rebecca said I love California country park

Aimee saidDinton Pastures is awesome”

Jo W saidVirginia Waters is beautiful”

Alison saidThatcham discovery centre and Charlton lakes are great

Heather saidQueen Elizabeth Country Park in Petersfield. All free exc small parking fee and brilliant. Drive right to the top for excellent play areas and open spaces. And an obstacle course.”

Jenny saidAlice Holt and Dinton both fab – only pay for parking”

Rachel saidDinton Pastures is brill and free apart from parking. Also nature discovery in Newbury which you just have to pay parking for.”

Emma H saidMoors Valley, you just pay for parking. It’s ace!! There’s also one in eastleigh but I can’t remember the name”

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NHM Readers: Places in the area to see bluebells

In April 2018 I asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook “It’s “bluebell season” now and I’m putting together a post for places in the area to see bluebells. What are your recommendations? (You can find directions to Micheldever bluebell woods on NorthHantsMum).”

Thank you for your responses, which are listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend places in the area to see bluebells

Catherine said “Beech Village Bluebell Wood

Helen said “The woods next to The Vyne have lots of beautiful bluebells”

Claire said “The Vyne

Lisa said “Some out in Bulls Bushes, Oakley. Was there yesterday”

Emma said “The Bramley Frith is stunning.”

Sarah said “Bramley woods”

Stephanie said “Micheldever forest is stunning for them”

Lisa said “Michaeldever Woods”

Hayley said “Micheldever”

Alistair said “Micheldever Woods!!

Shirley said “Manydown woods

Liane said “Bowdown woods near Greenham Common is spectacular!”

Alison said “If you don’t mind going further afield then Cliveden (National Trust) has a bluebell trail. We went weekend before last.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Buggy Friendly Walks with a Tea/Coffee Shop at the End

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with the following question: “Do you know of any buggy friendly walks with tea/coffee shop at the end? Know of Eastrop, Beggarwood and War Memorial.”

Many thanks for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Buggy Friendly Walks with a Tea/Coffee Shop at the End

Rebecca said “There is one in Rooksdown on Thursday morning. We haven’t started to yet but have been talking of ending the walk at a local Costa or with a picnic.”

Mary said “Basingwoods is good for buggies. There is sometimes a cafe in the popley fields community centre but i can’t remember dates etc. Also from there you can walk up to st Gabriel’s which sometimes has a cafe. I think you need to check their websites for times.”

Emma said “Sherfield on London is nice! Take the little ones to see the ducks, play on the park, walk all around the big greens and across the streams and then there’s a lovely cafe on the corner with a post office in the back”

Wendy said “Greenham common are on the verge of opening their cafe in the old control tower. It will be staffed by volunteers so not open every day. Check their facebook page for details. https://www.facebook.com/GreenhamControlTower/

Lauren said “Beggarwood is ok and the community centre has a really nice cafe”

Karen M said “Kempshott/oakley multi user path and jolly ollie’s in oakley or kitty’s in kempshott”

Karen J said “Go on ready steady mum’s group”

Ruza said “Farnham great park, and the cafe is reality good.”

Ruchira said “Ready steady mums walk at Eastrop park on a Wednesday at 1”

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NHM Readers: Walking as a family, within 30 minutes drive of Basingstoke

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook: we do a lot of walking as a family but always seem to end up in the same places. Where would you recommend for walking as a family, within 30 minutes drive of Basingstoke?

Thank you for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend places to walk as a family, within 30 minutes drive of Basingstoke

Jason said “www.walkswithbuggies.com

Chloe said “All around Winchester is nice. I take my son round the cathedral and grounds.”

Amber said “Greenham Common is interesting, there’s cows and ponies to see year round, awesome blackberries in the autumn and the tracks are all weather. Can get a bit windswept but I like it!”

Emma said “Water Meadows in Winchester. Kids can paddle in the streams. Lots of places around Stockbridge.”
 
Sharon said “Micheldever woods, the gorgeous bluebells are still out if you are quick”

Cat said “White Hill Kingsclere, along the canal at Newbury, Bowdon Woods to the north of Greenham Common (great bluebell loop did this morning). All have bits which are off road buggy accessible tho easier without (bumpy). White Hill approx RG20 5PY. Bowdown RG19 8DB. Also the Chase in Woolton Hill, off road buggy friendly paths RG20 9TN”

Natasha said “Micheldever Woods was gorgeous today. The bluebells are still out too”

Becky said “This has been recommended to me, it’s on my list of places to go so can’t comment on suitability yet – http://www.hiwwt.org.uk/reserves/winnall-moors. Also along the river at Alresford and Fleet Pond.”

Marie said “We are National Trust members and use The Vyne in Basingstoke a lot. If you want to go further afield, there are plenty of places within an hour’s drive, all with good pushchair access, cafés and changing facilities”
 
Liane said “Look up Bowdown Woods at the back of Greenham Common. Stunningly beautiful ancient woodland surrounding a reclaimed munitions store that’s been totally swallowed up by the woods. The old tarmac path is still there making it excellent for buggies, scooters and bikes. You can then go off road on some of the most gorgeous walks we know of http://www.bbowt.org.uk/reserves/bowdown-woods

Hayley said “Watership Down! Went yesterday and it’s beautiful. Walk is 12.5 miles to the beacon but you can just pick how far to walk along it then walk back like we did. It’s a bridleway. (Also known as White Hill)”

Caroline said “Alice Holt”

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BASINGSTONES: Top Tips

The Basics

All you need to do is paint a stone and write “Basingstones” on it. Then hide it somewhere safe for someone to find and hopefully brighten their day!

If you find a Basingstone, please post a photo of it on our Facebook Group page so we can see how far it travels. Either keep it and replace, or just hide it again somewhere new.

 

The Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/basingstones/ The magic of Basingstones is what happens off social media ie the spending time together, being creative, getting outdoors, sharing and the small acts of kindness concept.

Our facebook page allows the wonderful Basingstones community to come together online to share photos and smiles but it shouldn’t be the focus.  That said, here are a few tips on using the facebook group page:

  • Pinned Post

Please make sure you have a read of the Pinned Post – lots of important information in there!

  • Searching

There is a SEARCH bar which allows you to search out key words in posts – very helpful for when you are looking for a particular post by an individual or regarding a certain topic. Just type the person’s name for example and hit SEARCH.

  • Reporting posts

Please help us to keep the page free of sales posts, unrelated page links and spam. If you see anything inappropriate or disrespectful, please press the three dots in the right hand corner of the post, then select the option to “Report post”

  • Sharing photos

Note that this group is public and can be seen and accessed by anyone, so please be mindful when sharing details and posting pics. Do NOT post photos of other people’s children.

Did you know…?

…there are often competition basingstones for you to keep a lookout for!
Try searching “competition” to see what you could win

…there is a Basingstones Admin photo album for Basingstones news
hit Albums and select Basingstones Admin

…there is a thread to track international Basingstones so that we can see them pop up all over the world! (This can be found in the Basingstones Admin album)

…Basingstones has been on the radio, in the newspaper and even nominated for a community project award!  Check out the Basingstones Admin Album for details

FAQs

Where can I get stones from?

Lots of garden centres and large DIY stores sell big bags of stones/cobbles for about £5.  Locally, you can try The Range, Wickes, Conkers, Home Bargains, B&M, Bunnings and many more.

Taking rocks from beaches is discouraged and you could actually be fined.  Whilst taking the odd stone will do no damage, we don’t want to have a negative impact on the environment.

How should I decorate basingstones?

You can paint the stone however you wish, perhaps with a pretty pattern, a fun cartoon character, an inspirational quote or an artistic design.

Please avoid sticking things to the stones though which could potentially fall off and be harmful to wildlife. We want to be friendly towards our environment and our furry friends too.

What paint is best to use?

Sharpie pens, permanent markers, nail polish, acrylic paints and clear varnish or spray (to make it weather proof) all work really well.

Why haven’t I seen a photo of the basingstone I hid?

There are thousands of group members and hundreds of posts each day. You cannot keep track of them all.  Also, some people may choose not to share their photos or finds online.

Don’t worry that not all hidden basingstones get a finder post – each one makes someone smile and each one is special!

I hope this helps.

Have fun!

Rachel x
Basingstones Admin

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Pay Once, Visit all year Attractions (plus a couple of free ones)

Thank you very much to Wendy for putting this post together on wordpress!!!!

Pay Once, Visit all year Attractions (plus a couple of free ones )

Did you know that many attractions are pay once, visit all year? This means if you keep the entrance ticket it allows you to return to the attraction for free in the following 12 months (some have additional terms and conditions such as gift aid).

A recent post on “Buy and Sell Baby/Children’s Bits in Basingstoke” by Sarah-Louise asked group members to help create a list of all the attractions that offer this. We have taken a few of these, investigated the list and added too it.

Milestones – Basingstoke

Silk Mill – Whitchurch

Living Rain Forest – Newbury

Military Museum – Aldershot

F.A.S.T – Farnborough FREE ENTRY

Jane Austens house – Chawton

Winchester Cathedral – Winchester

River & Rowing Museum – Henley on Thames

Historic Dockyard – Portsmouth

Museum of Army Flying – Stockbridge. Annual pass given free if you gift aid.

Hollycombe Steam in the Country – Liphook

Blenheim Palace – Blenheim nr Oxford. Annual pass given free if you gift aid

Oxford Universities Museum – Oxford FREE ENTRY

Natural History – London FREE ENTRY

Transport Museum – Covent Garden

Tank Museum – Bovington

Royal Collection Trust – Various palaces and royal residences. Annual pass given free if you gift aid

Additional Tip – NATIONAL TRUST MEMBERSHIP – Buy through the Scottish national trust. It’s a lot cheaper and you can still go to all the English and Welsh places

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NHM Readers Favourite places to feed Ducks in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook for their suggestions on where are the best places to feed ducks in Basingstoke and North Hampshire. 

Thank you very much to everyone who responded! and thank you to Gemma for putting this post together! 

Here is also a link to show you what food we should and shouldn’t feed the ducks, thank you Liane for the information: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/keeping-our-ducks-healthy/six-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-feed-ducks

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Alresford Ducks!

NHM Readers Favourite places to feed ducks in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

Eastrop Park

Rachel said: Eastrop Park

Amy: There are ducks in Eastrop Park in town xx

Bartons Mill

Jade: Bartons Mill

Sherfield on Loddon

Saretta: Sherfield on Loddon has a lovely duck pond too 🙂

Abbie: There is a great duck pond in Sherfield-on-Loddon with loads of ducks and there is a nearby park, pub and cafe!

Basingstoke Canal

Karen: Basingstoke Canal near King John’s Castle in Odiham

Thatcham Discovery Centre

Kelly: Thatcham Discovery Centre

Amber:  Second the Thatcham Discovery Centre! Lovely walk around the lake and a good park too.

Jen: Definitely Thatcham. But get there first thing as we’ve been later in the day and the ducks weren’t hungry as so many people had fed them already!

Wendy: Thatcham sells you suitable food, tells you what the birds are called and has a brilliant playground too.

Fleet Pond

Kathryn: Fleet Pond

Winchester Silk Mill

Elaine: Whitchurch Silk Mill. We even sell duck and swan food to feed them properly!

The Vyne

Juanita: The Vyne 🙂

Dannii: The ducks are always hungry there too.

Winchester Leisure Centre

Donna:  I would also recommend Winchester Leisure Centre – we always pop down there for duck feeding and the park is perfect for toddlers.

Sherborne St John

Edie: There’s a lovely duck pond by the church in Sherborne St John with very tame (and fat!) ducks.

Ruza: Sherborne st john

Alresford

Fiona: The stream in Alresford is beautiful for a little walk and you have the High Street bakery for a treat and a large play park too.

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Review 2016: Beggarwood

I’ve been driving past Beggarwood for years and meaning to look in and see what is on offer.

Sue and I went (we met through the “NHM shift parents” group) with our two little ones  in November last year and we had a fab time!

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Review 2016: Beggarwood

About

I remember when Beggarwood was waste land. It’s not actually that long ago that the area became a housing estate, maybe 10 years ago?

The park itself is HUGE! There’s an awful lot there to see and do, a lot more than I had realised.

It would be a great place to have a picnic in the summer and take a cricket or rounders set to play with the children.

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There is a bike and scooter area with ramps to ride on.

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The play park is really big and has lots of different equipment which is suitable for children of all ages. 344

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We walked down to the bottom of the park and the children spent AGES in the maze (below).

Sue and I had a lovely chat whilst sat on the bench watching them.

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There are also a couple of areas with fitness equipment in, but I forgot to take pictures of those!

Tips

Park in the Co-op car park. We couldn’t work out if there was anywhere else to park!

Also, there is supposed to be an ampitheatre, but we couldn’t find it! lol.

The paths are suitable for bikes and scooters, but be warned that there are some big hills.

Food

We nipped to the Co-op to buy some snacks whilst we were there.

Baby Facilities

The majority of paths are suitable for pushchairs.

Parking

We parked in the free car park for the Co-op and the nursery.

However, if you know of somewhere better to park, please let me know!

Prices

FREE!

Rating out of 5

We had a lovely couple of hours exploring Beggarwood.

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New: The Discovery Ticket

Becci asked me to let you know about the new Discovery Ticket:

The Discovery Ticket

A new way to explore the South East, the Discovery ticket, officially launches in the South Downs area today, giving families the freedom and flexibility to hop on and off all buses in the National Park throughout the day, making travel in the South Downs easier than ever before.

Launching in advance of the summer holidays, the Discovery ticket allows unlimited, one-day travel across the region for £12.50 for a family and the ticket is timely as new local research shows that whilst many Hampshire residents are keen to travel by bus – 60% think it’s difficult to visit favourite places and 37% worry about the cost of getting there.

However, the research showed that top days out for Hampshire residents include Arundel Castle, Petworth House and Park and Queen Elizabeth Country Park, all of which are accessible via the new Discovery bus ticket. 

Nick Stewart, Campaigns & Identity Project Manager, South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) says “We hope the Discovery ticket will make our popular attractions and beauty spots easier to visit and better value for money by bus, giving visitors even more of a reason to leave the car at home and explore the South Downs with the kids this summer.” 

To make it even easier for families to Discover the South Downs National Park on a budget the SDNPA is working with the most popular attractions in the area to offer 2-4-1 entry to reward those who leave the car at home and arrive by bus [full list below].

Hampshire residents can share their South Downs experiences on social media with #DiscoveryTicket. For further information visit The Discovery Ticket or follow @sdnpa on Twitter for updates.

2 for 1 offers

NB: Valid on £12.50 family tickets only until 31st August 2014, for full terms and conditions, please contact the venues.

Other discounts

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Poll: Free Activities over the summer holidays

I recently put out a plea on NorthHants Mum on Facebook and Karen had this great suggestion.

[polldaddy poll=8160849]

Please feel free to add other suggestions, via comments, into the poll.

I’m also putting together a number of comprehensive posts for the summer holidays which I’m hoping to start publishing next week, so look out for these!

Related Posts

Review: Micheldever Wood

Review: Basing Wood

Review: Basing Lime Pits

Review: California Country Park, Finchampstead

Review: Farleigh Mount