Day Out – Colby Woodland Garden

This week we decided that despite the wet weather we would head out for the day.  I decided I would like to go somewhere were the boys would not be constantly asking for nick knacks and sweets.  We often visit National Trust properties but I liked the idea of exploring a property we had not visited yet.  While looking on the National Trusts website I came across Colby Woodland Gardens, it looked gorgeous and was about an hour away from us in Pembrokeshire.  
So armed with wellies, scooters, raincoats and Granny! we set off for Colby Woodland Gardens.  After just under an hour we turned off the main road and started looking for the National Trust signs to the property.  After five minutes we spotted a sign and turned down a narrow lane which we followed for about half a mile into a valley and the car park. The rain  had eased off when we pulled into the car park so decided to put coats under the pushchair, the boys decided not to put their wellies on but at least they had sensible footwear on.  Which is something that couldn’t be said for Granny!  Granny in her wisdom and knowing we were visiting a woodland garden came in sandals!  
I had printed off a voucher from the National Trusts website for free entry for two children during August with a paying adult.  As Rowan is only 2 years old he had free entry and Granny is a National Trust member so also had free entry, which meant I only had to pay the entry fee for myself.  So the entry cost a grand total of £4.60, not bad when there were five of us.  We were given a map of the property and pointed in the direction of the toilets, cafe and activities that were available for the children if they wanted to participate.  We were also told there was a basket of ball, bats and Frisbee’s that could be borrowed to play with in the meadow.
After a quick stop in the toilets, we popped in to see what the children’s activities were.  Crafts and a guided tour around the meadow with a botanist.  The next walk wasn’ t for another hour and the boys were keen to go exploring so we decided to explore the meadow and the grounds on our own.  
The boys weren’t at all bothered by the ground being a bit damp and excitedly rushed on in front of us on their scooters.  We turned of the path and into a lovely meadow which had a stream running through it.  There were paths cut through the meadow but the majority of the meadow was full of long grass and wildflowers, butterflies fluttered from one to another and you could hear grass hoppers all around.  We followed one of the paths across a bridge which looked like a great spot for pooh sticks and onto the other side of the meadow.  There were children running amongst the grass and wildflowers with nets trying to catch the various bugs that were living in the meadow.  Rowan had wanted to walk so we had put our picnic in the pushchair and while I walked with Rowan, Granny pushed the pushchair.  The older two were enjoying the level ground on their scooters but soon spotted the path leading up into the woods.  Granny is always telling the boys when we go out together that we’re “going on a bear hunt”! and the boys thought the woods would be great bear hunting grounds.  After stopping for a drink on a bench we headed into the woods.  Unfortunately it was slightly muddier in the woods than it had been in the meadow and Granny and the pushchair got  stuck a few times much to the boys amusement.  We followed one path which we thought according to the map we had been given would lead around the perimeter for the property and the Summerhouse were you could catch a glimpse of the sea.  However as soon as we passed through a gate at the end of the path and turned left to continue the walk we realised it was a no go.  Granny got half way up a hill and then got stuck in the mud, while Rowan looked in disgust at the deep mud we were surrounded by and the older two were at the bottom of the hill refusing to come up!  There was nothing for it but to somehow get back down the hill and go back the way we had come, queue lots of laughter from Granny and myself as we half slid back down the hill with me in front carrying Rowan and guiding the pushchair while Granny held on to the Pushchair behind.  I was so glad no one had seen us, it must have been quite a sight, how we didn’t end up on our bottoms I’m not quite sure.  Luc and Trystan just stood and watched us shouting “come on”, thanks boys. 
Once we had recovered from our giggles we set off again, back along the path we’d come down and after 300 yards decided to head up along another path.  Half way along Trystan decided he didn’t want to go that way and stopped in the middle of the path.  The rest of us kept walking hoping he would start following us again.  After five minutes all we could hear was Trystan shouting “Wait for me, there’s strange people coming this way”  this made Granny and I laugh.  Another family appear behind Trystan and smiled as they passed.  We found a quiet bench over the trees to sit and have our lunch on.  

It was so nice to sit down and rest for 20 minutes and have a bite
to eat.  Trystan
We decided to head back to the meadow and back towards the walled garden and the cafe.  So headed back down another path, past a pond.  The sun had come out over the meadow and it looked so lovely with the sun glistening in the sun.  It certainly looked very inviting and a perfect place for a picnic when the weather is nice.

When we reached the entrance to the walled garden we realised there were steps up into the garden itself.  Granny was feeling rather tired after our adventure in the wood so decided to have a sit down in the cafe area while the boys and I went into the walled garden.


Once up the steps we came across various paved area’s with statues surrounded by shrubs, herbs and flowers.  At the top end of the walled garden was a stunning gazebo with a water feature running from it.  We climbed the paths along the water feature trying to stop Rowan from doing a spot of paddling to the gazebo.  What a fantastic view of the grounds, inside the walls and ceiling were painted with scene’s which looked like you were looking though a window.  We then came across a arbour in a quiet corner and the boys decided to rest their legs for five minutes.  I decided this was a perfect photo opportunity as it was the first time all day the boys had actually sat together.


I let the boys run between the area’s in the walled garden for another five minutes before we headed back to the cafe to find Granny.  Having enjoyed her fifteen minutes of peace Granny and I decided it was time to head home, just in time as the rain started to come down.  We had been very lucky during the several hours we had spent at Colby Woodland Gardens.  It is certainly a hidden gem and we will certainly be going back to explore further, hopefully next time it will be dry and we can find the summerhouse.  Colby Woodland Gardens is somewhere I will highly recommend to my friends and family and provides something for everywhere, whether it be an afternoon stroll and tea and cake or a relaxing picnic in the gorgeous meadow.  




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