posted in: Outdoors | 15

Encouraging kids (and adults) to go out for a walk just for the sake of going for a walk can be quite difficult. This is why geocaching has become popular, it adds purpose to a walk, a sense of excitement in searching for the little cache box. One of the disadvantages is it puts the responsibility of organising a route on the individual or family. That is where the Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail at Langdon Hills Nature Reserve in Essex has absolutely hit the nail on the head.

Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail, Langdon Nature Reserve | Splodz Blogz

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, the author of the Peter Rabbit books, Essex Wildlife Trust has created a special woodland trail at their Langdon Nature Reserve near Basildon. We went to check it out at the weekend and I was suitably impressed.

Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail, Langdon Nature Reserve | Splodz Blogz

The trail includes five solid wood sculptures of Potter characters placed along the paths through the nature reserve. Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Squirrel Nutkin and Tommy Brock can be found along an accessible all-weather path that also takes you through woodland, across meadow, around lakes and over hills. And they are really beautifully done; they look the part, fit in with the natural backdrop of the reserve, and are nice and so they can be seen from a far (and make a great photo opportunity).

Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail, Langdon Nature Reserve | Splodz Blogz

I absolutely love how the wooden characters have been used alongside information boards and signage to teach children about nature. So not only is the trail a great way to get people outside in the first place, but it’s also helping to educate. It is so important that young people have opportunities to engage with nature (three reasons why getting outside is good for us).

Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail, Langdon Nature Reserve | Splodz Blogz

We headed there on Saturday and the two young girls we had in tow (our God children) were very excited to find the characters and were perfectly happy to run and walk along searching for the next one. We didn’t use the map this time, but for older children it’s possible to use the guide to teach basic map reading skills and (or) get them to plot a route to get to all the characters on one walk. It certainly helped that we were blessed with warm sunshine and some muddy puddles (squelch!), but I would definitely say the Peter Rabbit hunt meant the walk was a goer and we weren’t just pestered to head to the play park from the very start.

The trail is now open and there will be an official opening event on Sunday 1 May. If you want to visit, and you should, you can find out more here:

Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail, Langdon Nature Reserve | Splodz Blogz

I honestly think the trail is genius; the perfect way to get adults and children outside with a purpose. Well done Essex Wildlife Trust!

Where else are there character trails like this in the UK? Comment below to tell me as I’d love to check some more out. 

15 Responses

  1. Camping With Style (Shell Robshaw-Bryan)

    Things like this are great for encouraging kids to walk more as it adds that bit of fun. Lovely sculptures too.

    I must say at Trentham Gardens they have a lakeside woodland walk, about 3k long so even little ones can manage it and they have the most adorable fairy wire sculptures hidden all over the place, meant for kids, but I loved it!

    • Splodz

      They sure are, I loved it. Oh you can’t beat fairies, fab. At Sherwood Forest they have a few little fairy houses which are very cute and always make me smile.

  2. Kate Jamieson

    This looks such a great idea! Similar to the Gruffalo trails they do I guess! 😀 I love Peter Rabbit so may have to check this out as I’m a big child!

    • Splodz

      Yes I think so, although I’ve not seen the Gruffalo one but I shall have to see where that is. I love Peter Rabbit too, it’s one of those all time classics that we remember from our childhood but that kids today also like.

      • Sarah

        Inevitably! I actually camped near Basildon in 2015 for the UK Mega. My sister lives in Saffron Walden so not exactly close but maybe I’ll get back to Basildon sometime 🙂

  3. Helena

    The creator of these wooden sculptures is very talented. I imagine the children would love this. #OutdoorBloggers

  4. Lauren M

    I love things like this, such a great idea and a brilliant way to get families outside. The sculptures look amazing, I’m such a Beatrix Potter fan I’m considering engineering a visit!

  5. Four Acorns

    Oh my kids would love a Peter Rabbit trail! Unfortunately this is a tad too far for us (we’re in Ireland), but I’ve heard of great Gruffalo trails in Northern Ireland too.

    • Splodz

      It really is fab – I imagine there are lots around, or at least I hope that other places see this idea and decide to do something themselves because it’s a great idea.

What do you think? Comment below...