Just 30 minutes from Chislehurst is….Scadbury Park…
Sunday saw March begin and the sun come out. With the weather as good as it was, we decided to go for a relaxing family walk in our local nature reserve, Scadbury. Forgive me if you already know it and love it but it feels right that we should give it its due credit as a nearby destination for families, dog walkers and countryside lovers. Okay, this attraction is just 10 minutes walk from the main High St so well within the 30 minute rule! And it’s free!!!
We park near the Old Perry Street entrance and embark on the Acorn Nature Trail. With four year old Ted on foot and one year old Henry asleep in the pushchair we are unsure if the trail will be entirely buggy friendly but we brave it! We have been before but never done the whole trail as the children were a bit young. The trail is 2.5 miles long and Ted starts moaning about the walk almost from the offset. But my husband quickly ignores the moans and starts with tales of Dragons and Bears that lie deep in the woods that he must be on the look out for. Our brave soldier storms ahead saying he will protect us from any such treachery. From that moment on, the moaning stops and he is on his own little adventure out in the woods.
There is so much to keep the little ones occupied as the trail is beautifully balanced to keep the kids interested. We immediately delve into a woodland path that reaches a short boardwalk that is easy to navigate with the pushchair. Ted is in hot pursuit of the next trail number, eager to reach there before his parents. Every time we see a bench, Ted declares that Mummy may need a rest (he knows me too well). I duly oblige and enjoy the sunshine for a moment but before long we’re off again.
Now the big muddy puddles begin. In fact, it’s a series of very muddy puddles. Peppa Pig would love this place. Ted is in his element. He’s in full walking regalia – everything from the all in one rainproof suit, wellies and hat. Nothing is holding him back from these babies. Mummy and Ted both have our wellies and enjoy every minute. Dad is less impressed in his trainers and pushing the buggy. But we get through it and pass the pond on our left where the Dragons clearly drink their water. Upwards we go and the moaning has long gone.
Before long we are at the peak of the trail in open farmland and beautiful meadows where the horses graze. In certain directions, it suddenly feels like we could be anywhere. I hail from Dorset and it doesnt feel dissimilar.
Although we had passed dog walkers and other families, there are lots of people who have all gathered at this point. Other families are better prepared with bags of carrots to feed the horses. Ted looks on enviously and another local family passes us a carrot. Phew – lucky escape from a tiny tantrum.
And now its downhill back into the woods and we stop at the map to check how far we have come. Ted kindly points out where we are and we are off again on the final leg of the trail. Just at this point Ted begins to get tired. Henry obliges by waking up and is desparate to get out of the pushchair. Ted falls thankfully into the pushchair and before we know it we are in the picnic area at the end of the trail.
The picnic area is like a natural play park with old trunks and fallen trees that are the perfect end to a great afternoon out. We totally lose track of time but think we must have been out for about 90 minutes all in, not bad with a four year old in tow.
To finish the afternoon, we decide to go for a drink in the Sydney Arms. Despite having lived here for almost two years, we have never been to this pub as its a little too far to walk from us. We are able to sit in the beer garden which has an old tree trunk to play on and a boules court at the end of the garden. The boys are nicely occupied whilst we enjoy our drink. In fact, Ted is having such a good time that he declares to Mummy and Daddy, “I love pubs”. You have to love 4 year olds! We then return to the car; safe in the knowledge that we can justify the Roast Dinner ahead of us.
Scadbury is a great park and family afternoon out. Its the perfect leisurely walk for all the family and on the whole was mostly buggy friendly. We did have to pick up the buggy over the muddy puddles but if you have someone to help, it is totally do-able. Just make sure you go the right way round the trail (anti-clockwise) or else you will have to carry your buggy up the steps. We found it is pretty easy to bounce the buggy down the stairs.
My husband always says that Chislehurst is the best of both worlds. London on our doorstep and the countryside in our backyard. Scadbury is great to have on the edge of Chislehurst. We really are very lucky.
Written by Tamsyn Clark
Photographs by Mark Grover