On Sunday we got the first hint of Spring; gorgeous sunshine and mild weather. It was the ideal opportunity to get on with our mission this year of getting outside more and exploring our local area.
Cuerden Valley Park is less than half an hour’s drive away from us and has been on our ‘must visit’ list since last summer although we just never seemed to get round to going. I think we were probably drawn to the beach too much when the weather was good.
The big pull for us was a review I had seen which mentioned that the river was accessible for paddling and wading; something that we knew both Meg and Eli would love. So we donned our wellies and coats and set off to check it out.
The park is made up of 650 acres which is pretty big. There are 5 car parks dotted around and it costs £1 for all day parking in any of them. I think this is really reasonable considering you could easily spend the whole day at the park, especially in the summer.
As we hadn’t been before we chose to park in the car park closest to the visitor centre and Cuerden Hall although we didn’t actually get chance to visit either as the kids were determined to head straight down and get splashing.
So first stop was the water. We headed down a windy path towards the most promising location and we weren’t disappointed. Despite the fact that it was mild but not that mild, we did worry that maybe the kids would get cold if they got wet but they didn’t seem to mind one bit.
In fact we had to constantly remind them to not wander too far into the river Lostock which winds it’s way through the parkland. I think this will be a great place to come in the summer when we don’t need to worry about anyone catching a cold from spending too much time in the chilly water.
Once we’d managed to drag them away from the water we followed the footpath round and came across a large lake. There were plenty of geese and ducks here which would be perfect for feeding (if we’d thought to bring bread!). Definitely something to remember for next time.
We started to walk round the lake only to realise that you can’t, but that didn’t matter as we came across something even better…a whole load of trees had been felled which made the perfect natural climbing frames for the kids and the ideal place to grab some pictures of them.
Just watch out for those prickly bits, eh Meg?!
At the back of this area, there was a gate which led out onto a large hill and some open fields. Again, the ideal space to run around and burn off some energy.
By this time the sun was beginning to set and the day had turned cooler so we headed back to the car, once more crossing the water (or maybe three or four more times as the kids walked back and forth and yes, Meg did have a change of coat!) before heading up the hill towards the hall accompanied by Eli singing about ‘jellyfishes in his wellies.’
By the time we reached the top of the hill we were well worn out and gasping for a drink (well, mostly me and James were desperate for some caffeine!) There is a tearoom here but it only opens on a Sunday and closes at 3.30pm so by the time we were ready to head home it had already shut. We’ll definitely be trying it out on our next visit though.
I could see us easily spending the day here in the summer and we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon out. If you are local to the area I would recommend a visit.