Rushmere Country Park is a lovely 400 acre site made up of woodland, heathland and lakes. It’s open every day of the year except for Christmas day and costs just £3 to park for the day. The visitor centre and cafe opens from 10am each morning but the park can be explored from 8:30am if you fancy an early morning walk with the dog.
During our visit in May half term 2019 we were lucky enough to see herons nesting in the trees down in the valley below the visitor centre. Binoculars and a telescope were set up for visitors to get a close up view. We managed to see 3 of them in total. 2 were in their nests and 1 down by the water. It was such a privilege to see them.
The visitor centre is where you can pick up trail maps to follow and there are helpful volunteers to answer any queries. The toilets and baby change were all well kept and the cafe looked good. We didn’t use it as we took our own picnic, it was packed at lunch time though so must be OK!
The big slide at the play park was a firm favourite with the kids. It’s long and steep so a bit of a thrill ride. The play park isn’t huge but it has several picnic tables so is nice to take a break. There are other ‘play spots’ along the trails for you to enjoy as well.
We followed the trail that starts outside the visitor centre, spotting fairy doors along the way. There was also a knitted woodland animals trail during our visit. I’ve never seen so many knitted creations! There are obviously some very talented locals! We really enjoyed exploring this area as there was so much to see.
The Giants Chair forms part of the sculpture trail which is where we headed next. I must admit we found the map and signposts quite difficult to follow and ended up getting lost. It wasn’t at all clear to us which paths we were supposed to follow but we had fun exploring anyway.
There are numerous trails for walking, bike riding and horse riding. You can also find areas for walking dogs off the lead and there’s even a dog fun area specifically for your 4 legged members of the family. The kids will have a brilliant time exploring and climbing trees.
We explored less than half Rushmere Country Park during our visit. I would love to go back again and see more of it. You could visit again and again and never get bored. There’s nothing better than having lots of space to let the kids (and dog!) run riot! My only gripe was how difficult the map and trail signposts were to follow. They didn’t really make sense to us but we were happy just to explore and see where we ended up so it wasn’t a huge issue. This is a lovely place to visit if you want to get outdoors and explore.