A Visit to ConkersLast weekend we were invited to Conkers to go and experience their 'world of adventure and discovery at the heart of the National Forest'. It was a glorious Summer's day and the perfect weather to make the most of this attraction.
We arrived to be met by the Conkers team who set us off on an Orienteering course around the site. This was a fab way of getting our bearings as we searched for letters to unscramble a very relevant word at Conkers. We were able to take a look at the maze, assault course, lake and tree top wires course as we worked out our nine letter anagram before heading to our mystery assembly point.
We all met up at the Bushcraft area and said the word we had worked out from our collected letters. I'm not going to tell you what it was though! We got it right and one of the rangers explained that we were now on a survival mission and we had to build a shelter big enough for our family and then set a fire. As our orienteering had been successful we were promised marshmallows to roast on our fire. Yummy!
Ian's eyes lit up at the challenge we had been set as these are exactly the type of activities he enjoys sharing with his Explorer Scouts Unit. He quickly set about assembling quite a complex shelter with assistance from Bud and LM. Using the provided tarp as a roof and lots of branches as a supporting structure, it drew a few admiring glances from some of my fellow bloggers. I did explain that he had quite advanced experience though!
Fire lighting proved a little more tricky. It was simple to set the fire and Ian eschewed the demo because he knew what he was doing, however, he couldn't quite work out how to use the flint as it was different to those he was used to and had to get one of the Rangers to help him. Our fire was soon roaring and Ian and I enjoyed roasting our marshmallows. Bud and LM didn't like them roasted and settled for eating them as they came instead.
Following the Bushcraft session we headed down to the Barefoot Walk. This is a 450 metre walk which allows you to explore the sensation of so many different textures including water, clay, stone and many others. Ian, Bud and LM headed off to experience the walk. I had Little E in the carrier so I stayed with him and acted as their cheerleader. They loved every second of it and Bud wanted to do it again when it was finished!
From the Barefoot Walk it was a short step to the nearby Conkerchoo II Railway Station to catch the little train down to the Waterside area for lunch. The train was great fun for everyone and was a lovely way to travel down to our lunch venue. This offered time to recoup and catch up with some of our friends who were there with us.
The afternoon saw time to explore Conkers at our leisure and we immediately headed for the Playdale Play Zone to let off some steam. Sadly, as we headed there Bud started to feel a little unwell and, after a short time playing on the park it became clear that it wasn't something he could just shake off and we had to head home. This meant that we didn't get the chance to explore Conkers as much as we would have liked.
I think we'll definitely return to Conkers. We had a wonderful time there and there's so much of the site that we didn't have the chance to explore through leaving early. It's a fantastic outdoor attraction which allows families to explore nature and get their hands (and feet) dirty. The site was well laid out and we managed fine with the pushchair and the carrier so it's really accessible, making it perfect for families.
If you're thinking of visiting Conkers then you could include it as part of a short break to Leicestershire, check out the Stay Play Explore which offers the opportunity to visit three out of five attractions (including Conkers) and a night in a hotel, with prices starting from just £129.