Just a short journey from home there are vast acres of parkland, with rocky outcrops, banks of bracken, gentle streams and, near the top of one of the many rolling hills, a cluster of trees known in my family as “the treehouses.” These are ancient trees that are hollowed out with many years of rough winter weather and lightening strikes. When I was little my parents would take me to climb them, and now we take our children too.
First off is a quick climb up a grassy hill – the children love to run it, it’s always a race to the top!
Then we follow a high-up path that looks down upon a reservoir and all of the surrounding countryside. There’s usually a quick pause for a spot of rock clambering.
The fallow deer are often resting out in the open in springtime. Later on, when they have had their young, the stags are more protective and they tend to stay further away in the shade of the wooded areas.
The treehouses stand at the top of a nearby hill; several have giant props to keep their heavy branches from falling. I love the shadows they cast upon the ground on a sunny day.
The children all run off in different directions, picking out their first tree to conquer. Our littlest finds one that is just the right size for him…
…and he and rabbit set up base camp.
Soon the children find a tree that is big enough for all four of them, our two eldest sons pulling their younger brothers up to join them in the higher branches.
After all of the snacks in our backpack are gone, it’s time to head back, making a circular route back down the hillside, which takes us through a gap in the drystone wall …
… then winds its way back past a little brook. We’ll be back soon.