What?: We’re very into trails right now. When literally everything is closed and our only available activity is a ‘nice walk’, trails give life. We recently acquired a car (something that as the Central London-dwelling owners of two very travel-sick under-5s with only one driver’s licence between us we said we’d never do, but hey) and have taken it as an exciting opportunity to explore exotic places like Hertfordshire and Essex and Surrey.
Aldenham Country Park is in the first one, and in ‘normaltimes’ boasts a children’s farm, an adventure playground with facilities for children with disabilities, a camping/glamping site and even pony riding. Some of this stuff is starting to open up again now, but we visited just over a month ago when everything but the trail was closed and, to be honest, we thought it was more than enough stuff for one afternoon – bearing in mind it was the first actual thing we’d done since mid-March and we’d basically forgotten what fun was.
I can’t work out when the trail was created but it’s clearly been there a while, if the mildly terrifying Pooh-in-Pooh’s-House complete with cobweb metropolis and giant dead spider on Pooh’s back situation is anything to go by. But, if you can get past the light creepiness and the fact that everything could do with a bit of TLC, it’s lovely. There are around a dozen things to find, from the Poohsticks bridge to Eeyore’s gloomy place, and it’s all pretty hard to miss, having been arranged in a sort-of circle on a smallish site that’s perfect for tiny toddler legs.
I don’t know if it was just because we’d been cooped up for so long but the girls absolutely loved this place, and it was positively life-affirming to see them running around gleefully peering into windows and clambering over everything after a pretty grotty few months indoors. So, in sum: yes, it does feel a bit neglected and no, you probably wouldn’t catch me knocking on Pooh’s door after dark. But, at the very least, it’s a cute little family activity to ease you out of lockdown. That and it’s quiet enough that you’re unlikely to have to go near other humans, which is – let’s face it – a bonus even at the best of times.
Where and When?: The park can be found on Aldenham Road, Elstree, Borehamwood WD6 3BA, and is open 9am-6pm every day.
Best Bits: Apparently Winnie the Pooh appears on weekends to say hi and read stories, although presumably that won’t be happening again for a while.
Worst Bits: Like I said, it could do with some updating, and compared to some of the amazing stuff we used to do before The Thing happened it was fairly tame, but we had a nice afternoon and we’ll take what I can get right now, to be honest.
Facilities: The toilets are now open (although they weren’t when we visited so I have no idea whether there’s baby changing).
Cost: It costs £4.50 for parking but otherwise it’s free to wander the site and do the trail. Farm entry costs £5 per adult and £4.50 per child (under-2s go free).
Would We Come Back?: Yes. The farm and playground both looked cool and it was a shame not to be able to explore them. Next time we’ll bring a picnic and spend a whole day.
Daddy, Babu and Roro pay Owl a visit at Aldenham Country Park, Elstree.