21 July 2020

Running free again...at NT Newark Park

Having been stuck indoors for long periods of time over several months and not able to do the outdoor things we thrived on was tough, once it was safe and things began to open we began to venture outdoors again, our first trip out was to Newark Park, a National Trust property.

We booked our tickets and entry time slot online and read the Covid-19 guidance, on the day we packed up a picnic and headed off with the three Little Ones keen to get outdoors and explore.

On arrival in our time slot we gave our details to the lady on the kiosk in the car park and she helpfully explained what was open and where we could go. National Trust houses are still closed and so are the vast majority of the cafes and food kiosks but a lot of the gardens and parkland are open and so are some of the toilets.

As soon as we were through the gates the Little Ones were off running around in the long grass, we had talked to them about social distancing and staying away from others, thankfully there was a lot of grassy areas they could let off some steam and we found an unoccupied picnic table.

After sharing our sandwiches with a couple of loose chickens we headed off to explore. With the ticketed entry and a one way system in place around the main part of the gardens there weren't that many people about and it was easy to keep our distance.

The Little Ones enjoyed being outside and climbed a couple of trees, looked for the wild garlic we could smell and hunted for treasures. Whilst the main play area was cordoned off there was a natural play area that wasn't so we spent a while there admiring the wood carvings and letting the Little Ones have fun until another family came along and we moved along for them to have a turn.

We haven't been to Newark Park in a couple of years as it had been closed for a while due to flooding in the house, the park and woody play area weren't there last time we had been and were a welcome addition to our visit.

Other areas have changed too with the fixing up of the 'castle' as the Little Ones call it, which has been repaired and leads the way down to the estate walks.

We decided to do the three and a half mile parkland walk and set off down the track, there were plenty of things to keep the children's interest for as we walked along. We found a few carcasses, one was a chicken presumably escaped from the gardens somewhere, there was a rabbit and a few pheasants, the Little ones were intrigued by the bones and how we were identifying them but found it fascinating- the foxes in the area must feast well.

There was a steep grassy hill to navigate but we all remained upright and climbed the other side through the cows looking at views of the lodge ahead before finding a field of sheep and lambs.

We ended up staying there four hours with the picnic and the walk even though it is a smaller property and the house wasn't yet open, it was great to get out and get some fresh air again. The Little Ones all slept well that night.

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