One of our favourite local places to visit with the children is Coolings Green & Pleasant Nature Trail in Knockholt. It’s a wooded area with loads of places for children to explore and discover, and has an amazing cafe and shop!
We arrived there at 9.15am bright and early to make the most of the quiet and having the place to ourselves. It costs £3.50 for adults and under 5s go free, so a very cheap day out for us! The first thing to see are some wobbly mirrors and a gigantic pig!
Both kids loved the mirrors; discovering how different they looked if they stand close or far away. The pig was snoring peacefully in his shelter!
Then we walked down to see Barry the Goat. There are some fruit and vegetables growing, plus a minibeast area here and we always make sure we say hello to the scarecrows. Violet calls them Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay from the Julia Donoldson story.
The paths are clearly defined and have wood chippings down which make it easier to push a buggy round and also a softer landing for the inevitable tumbles!
We then walked into the wooded area where there is a wallaby enclosure. They have loads of space, shelter and an obsticle to climb on. We were lucky enough to see a wallaby really close up and there were also some super cute joeys!
The last time I went was New Years Eve. Ezra wasn’t walking yet so he didn’t get the whole experience of touch, feel and explore. Joe has been with them this summer but for me it was fantastic to be here with 2 fully mobile and adventurous children!
We made our way to the chickens and huge cockerel! Violet is fearless of all insects and animals so it’s been surprising to see that Ezra is actually really wary of them. He hasn’t ever seen any of us show fear so this is his natural reaction. He wants to like them but as soon as animals come close he becomes apprehensive. So when the cockerel started crowing Ezra made it clear he wasn’t too happy!
We carried on to see the ducks!
There’s a little food dispenser here so for 20p we fed the ducks.
Next we went to see the new piggies. Previously I remember this area having a couple of huge pigs and you could buy food to feed them. They weren’t there any longer (wonder why…??) and instead we found 3 not so little piglets. They are called Porky, Percy and Podge. Violet enjoyed working out who was who. Ezra watched a little awe-struck!
The next bit is one of my favourites; 3 different wooden houses. We always play icecream shops here, hide and seek and a new game for us, reenacting the story of 3 Little Pigs.
Next on our trail was the bird hide. Keeping Ezra quiet as we approached the hide wasn’t easy but we got to see loads of beautiful little birds feeding and also a cheeky squirrel (check the tall pole the photo!)
Finally before lunch we went to explore some more hidy-hole structures and the tree tunnel. Violet played space rockets here.
After all the running around both kids were ravenous so we made our way back to the shop/cafe. Lunch is served from 11.30am and we were a little early so we opted for scrambled egg on toast, a sausage sandwich and a kiddy lunch box. Violet chose all of the things for her lunch box, I really like this as often in cafes they are pre-packed and the choice is only between a ham or cheese sandwich.
Ezra inhaled his scrambled egg and toast (it was quite astonishing how much he gobbled up!) and then they went off to play with the Brio train set. In the past Violet has only ventured over if there were no other children playing with it, but with her brother by her side she felt much more confident.
They played so sweetly with the trains and I got to have a peaceful 10 minutes to sit and rest. Being so pregnant is definitely starting to take a toll. I feel like I have had more energy in this pregnancy than the other 2, however at almost 7 months gone I do think my body is starting to ask that I slow down a little!
Once the kids had finished playing we gathered up our things and headed back to the car. Ezra promptly fell asleep on the journey home and I think Violet was close to nodding off also.
We love our visits to Coolings Nature Trail. It’s got so many things for people of all ages. It’s a learning experience and also somewhere to get lost in imagination and adventure. As Violet grows we will read more of the info posts so she can learn more about the animals and plants.
Have you visited Coolings before? What did you think? Are there any other great places to visit locally?