Autumn in Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire
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Wendover Woods is no secret to anyone who lives in my part of Buckinghamshire but my mother, who lives in Radley only 30 minutes away, had never heard of it before today. That’s the crazy thing about living out here and the reason Muddy Stilettos exists I guess – so many great things on the doorstep, but still somehow invisible to many.
Hence its inclusion in MS today. If you haven’t been to Wendover Woods, it’s a glorious stretch of protected woodland on the highest hill in the Chilterns, with a lovely indoor/outdoor cafe, a simple but strangely compelling wooden adventure playground, a Go Ape facility with 35ft platform heights, and masses of tipi-making, leaf falling, dog-walking, kid-stomping, horse-trotting delights. Here’s a map of activities and trails.
I’ve never really bothered about the Go Ape bit before but today, with a 10 and 13 year old, I finally checked it out properly. The guys told me that throughout November Go Ape is only open on weekends and it’s closed all December and January, so if you’re thinking of making a day of it with the kids (who have to be 9+) you’ll need a bit of forward planning. I didn’t realise that the ‘course’ takes 2-3 hours and also requires an adult on hand. There was a terrified mother up there today, wobbling on a kind of foot trapeze and too petrified to move off it, as her kids laughed at her from the safety of their platform (the little buggers!)
Even if you’re not interested in Go Ape, it’s easy to spend the whole day in the woods in fine weather – and even on a dampish day like today, it was three hours with four tired kids before we headed off. While I remember I should say that welly boots are a necessity, even if the day seems dry-ish. I mention this because I habitually take my kids up there in trainers – like today – and then kick myself when they sludge back to the car in shoes mummified in mud.
Finally, if you’re in the mood for a change of scene, there’s always the small market town of Wendover itself, just two miles away, with some good shopping and pubs. But with a cappuccino in hand, food taken care of and the kids safely off the leash – really, why bother?
Wendover Woods, St Leonards Road, Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire HP22 5NF