Newest Review: ... aker wood so thought we would go there first. It is quite simple but we found it quite charming and it was really fun for our 2 and 3 yea... more
100 Aker Wood
Aldenham Country Park (Hertfordshire)
Member Name: oioiyou
Aldenham Country Park (Hertfordshire)
Advantages: great day out without having to spend a fortune
Disadvantages: if it rains the lake walk can be quite muddy
175 acres of woodland, parkland and open water provided by Hertfordshire County Council. Green belt land since 1971.
Driving down the A41 the signs will take you down a long road towards Borhamwood but if you are travelling from the Costco end make sure you turn before you reach the round-about. The sign will say you are turning towards a lab research place but fear not as this way is much quicker. At the end of the road you will see an all girl's school, turn right and then a little way down you will easily see the entrance to the park. Once you have turned into the park you will carry on down a long entrance road with fields either side. Drive over the cattle grids and wait for the barrier to lower and allow you access to the parking lot. Be aware of the parking charge. It is currently £5 and you will notice people walking into the park as they have parked along the road. The car park itself is rather large but watch out as most people do not watch their children and thus there will be the odd one running towards the lake or play area!
I have boys so to be honest the world is their toilet and there isn't as much of a need to go to an actual toilet if they need a wee but if you have girls or need a wee yourself I suggest visiting to loo before entering the park. There is one toilet and it is on the opposite side of the car park from the play area. Why they thought to put it in this stupid location I will never understand.
There is a small kiosk at the edge of the car park which offers hot & cold drinks, snacks and ice creams. I've gotten teas there before and if you plan on doing so ensure your other half has the buggy. The kiosk didn't have lids for the drinks and pushing the buggy at the same time was a nightmare. Thankfully an elderly lady gave me hand to our picnic table.
Behind the kiosk is the entrance to the play area and farm. Walk to the right and enter the farm to find quite a good selection of rare livestock. There are turkeys, ducks, pigs and old farming equipment. You're probably thinking these animals don't sound rare at all but this farm has rare breeds of these animals. My partner and I always find the history of the equipment and background of the animals really interesting. There seem to almost always be piglets which is nice for the kiddies. It's not always open but if the back bit of the farm is open you can see the cows, goats, sheep and horses. One our last trip to that side of the farm my son came rushing over and pulled me over to look at the sheep. As I looked up I saw what he was wanting me to see ... The sheep in the midst of giving birth! Not really what I was after as we hadn't eaten our packed lunches yet but thankfully I've always had a strong stomach. When leaving the farm there are signs pointing you towards the sinks. I kinda wish they had those no water hand washes. I carry my own so no problem really ... it's just the kids leave the sinks in a state!
There are two play areas. One that is fenced in for the younger kids with swings, slides and climbing frames. The other isn't fenced in so watch out if your children like to disappear and give you little heart attacks! This play area is a low ropes course. The children can swing for one rope to another and try their abilities at getting from one bit to another without falling off. My son calls it the childrens Ninja Warrior course!
There are a few different trails to take but the main one goes around the lake. It is a picturesque walk and even when the park is full you can usually find a bit of peace as you walk your way round. Near the start of the trail is a large tree that has some lovely animal carvings in it and the children love to climb on it. I always let my son have a go but I do fear one day he's going to go A-over-T and come crashing down but so far so good.
Fancy a bit of fishing? Good coarse fishing is available with a permit from the Bailiff (020 8953 4978). There are ample stocks of tench, bream, pike, roach and perch and others.
Sailing is also permitted with the Aldenham Sailing Club, seven days a week (020 8207 3782). Great fun, give it a go!
'100 Aker Wood':
At the end of the walk around the lake you will return to the edge of the car park. Go left and you will return to the kiosk but go right and you will enter the world of pooh! My son and I only did this bit for the first time the other month. Why we'd never done it before I don't know. Walk down the entrance trail and find the honey as you make your way to the fields that contain Pooh's house (look in the window and you will find Pooh who is asleep in his bed, shhh!). Walk around and have a picnic in the field or look for the other characters and their homes.
Get some change:
Without fail I will always forget to ensure I have £5 in change for the car park machine but thankfully the kiosk is always friendly and willing to help. You don't even have to wait for them to serve some one like some other places. They have a stash of pound coins to help people like me. But I've never seen a cash point so at least have a note to exchange or you might be in trouble!
The walk around the lake would be possible with any buggy but I would suggest bringing one with bigger wheels if you have one to hand. But everything else is wheelchair and buggy friendly (except the chicken house. I have gotten the buggy in but seen a kid in a wheelchair waiting for the rest of her family to come out so maybe not wheel chair friendly that one.)
Open all year (except Christmas Day)
March to April: 9.00am - 5.00pm.
May to August: 9.00am - 6.00pm.
September to October: 9.00am - 5.00pm.
November to February: 9.00am - 4.00pm.
© oioiyou 2009
Summary: worth a visit if you live locally
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