In the heart of the national Forest, which we are lucky enough to live on the fringes of, is the most fun outdoor place called Conkers. For some reason I've never been before although Chick has visited on school trips and with other families. When we were invited for a blogger day out I thought that Chick and her friends might like it f they could get over being cool for a day but didn't for a second think that I would have the most awesome day too!
Conkers is built on the site of two old mining areas and has 120 acres of maturing woodlands with lakes, high and low ropes, outdoor pursuits and an 18 stage assault course challenge. There are also several indoor areas with over 100 interactive activities which we will need to go back to visit as we missed most of them this time around!
There was a pretty cool start to the day as the first face I saw was Cass and we were long overdue a catch up :) The first organised activity was orienteering which was a great way for us to cover a lot of the site in a short period of time:
The letters that we gathered formed a clue for us to take to the next couple of activities which were shelter and fire building as well as marshmallow toasting:
The shelter building didn't seem to pose too much of a problem but the fire building was a different matter!! There had been torrential rain the day before so every twig and log that we could lay our hands on was wet. We (I say we but I mean the man and the kids!!) managed to get the fire going, with the girls doing a sterling job with the flint and steel but couldn't keep it going. With some help from a friendly ranger, we stripped the damp edges off of the twigs to get to the dry core and then we had a raging fire as you can see in the picture. Roasting marshmallows on our own built fire was just the icing on the cake. Conkers run the bushcraft sessions twice a week, you do need to pre-book but it's included in the normal admission price.
It made me realise how much I miss camp and that although we try to head outdoors quite a lot, the girls haven't had that much time to 'rough' it in the great outdoors. My idea of camping involves lots of warm clothing and blankets rather than roughing it so this is a good way for the kids to have these experiences!
The next activity I really wasn't sure about....... The barefoot trail. I hate being barefoot and even make sure I wear shoes in the garden or putting the washing out. However, so as not to be shamed in front of everyone else that was doing it I thought I would give it a shot:
It was in equal parts fun and painful. The plain water troughs like this one, I could cope with even though the water was on the chilly side. The one with pebbles in was horrifically painful and the final one had some weird tree mulch in it that squidged through the toes. I may also have walked around the pit filled with clay as it looked very slippy and I have been known to be slightly accident prone!!! My favourite was definitely the mud. It was warm, squidgy and very soft on the feet even f it took me two days to get it all off afterwards :)
The girls giggled and squealed their way around and funnily enough didn't appear to find it anywhere near as painful as I did. I was't sure how 'cool' the girls would think the whole experience would be as they are 12 and 13 but actually they are desperate to go back and do all of the high and low ropes and all of the other stuff that we missed.
Next we had a ride on a train which took us to lunch and to the most amazing cake:
After lunch we were free to do as we wanted so the girls played on the huge adventure playground and the man and I did some serious walking through the woodland. We are definitely planning a return visit in the very near future!
Conkers is part of the 'Stay, Play, Explore' group which includes accommodation, breakfast and entrance to 3 out of 4 of fab attractions in Leicestershire including Conkers and the Space Centre from £129. For more information please click here.
Conkers were kind enough to invite all 5 of us to be their guests for the day and included all of the activities and lunch however all words, pictures and thoughts are my own.