“ Address: Forestry Holdings, Edwinstowe / Mansfield / Nottinghamshire NG21 9J „
We went to this park the first time only a few months ago, as it is actually not that close to our home. We were meeting up with some family so chose a place that was pretty central for us all to get to. We were very glad to have been, and have returned since then as it was such a nice place to visit.
Located in the East Midlands, it is fairly close to Sherwood Center Parcs that we have visited a few times. It has that similar vibe about the place of being in the middle of the forest. Finding the park is pretty easy using the postcode and our sat nav system It is located near Edwinstowe in Nottinghamshire, and the post code is NG21 9JL.
Arriving at the park, there is a large car park which is pay and display. The cost is a fairly reasonable £1 per hour or £4 for the day. If you are planning on visiting regularly you can also get an annual pass like you can for a lot of these places to visit as much as you want. If we lived closer, I really would invest in one of these as it is a brilliant place to pass some time.
The most recent visit was 2 weekends ago. The sun was out enough for us to load up the car with the dog, and our bikes, and a bit of a picnic. We didn't go over to the park till the afternoon, but there was still plenty of space to park. When we arrived, a lot of the other cars had bike racks and had obviously had the same idea.
Having been before, the kids wanted to head straight to the large play park as they wanted to have a run round. The park is all made from wooden timber, and there is a giant structure which is a walkway above the ground (called the board walk) and at various points there is a tree house. some monkey bars, some tunnels to climb through, cargo nets, all located in a beautiful part of the wood so it is a bit shaded for the kids to play. The walkway can also be accessed by a ramp or ladders, so there were children of a wide age range and ability playing on this structure, and because it is so large, they were not really getting in each others way and bickering.
Located next to this is a series of small structures that look a bit like large mushrooms. Children can climb inside these and look out of windows and go down slides. This is surrounded by sand, with buckets and pulleys. Between these two parks, my children were occupied for the best part of 3 hours. The only negative to the park is the pinecones that litter the floor. Some children get it into their heads to throw these, and it can get a little dangerous for the smaller kids when they are flying about.
The park is within short distance of a café and some toilet facilities. We visited the café the first time we visited the park and they sell the usual fare of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches with chips, various yummy cakes, and a selection of ice creams. The cost for this was reasonable.
Around the café and the park are many picnic benches, so you can get takeaway items and sit close enough to your children to watch them playing. We managed to get a seat fairly easily.
The area is very popular because you can do things like hire a segway and take it on the paths round the park, and you can also see people horse riding. Also in the park is a Go Ape center which is Arial climbing in the trees. My husband did this with his brother and father a few years ago when we were staying at center parcs. There is a charge for all of this. I have not investigated how much as I am not keen to do it myself, but it is does seem quite popular. There is also a facility of a bicycle hire shop.
The park is then a series of open spaces between the trees, and there are slightly gravelled paths taking you between the different areas. These are ideal for people to cycle on, and good for walking on. I took the dog for a walk while my husband rode on his bike with the kids. Families were enjoying barbecues and playing ball games. Everywhere seemed very peaceful, and I had that same kind of feeling I get at Center Parcs of being very calm and relaxed.
As I walked on my own with the dog round the paths, there were further small play areas featuring things for children to climb on with a sandy floor to dig around in. These were only being used by one or two families. I guess a lot of people don't walk round to these areas if your children are happily playing on the main park.
Overall, I find this a very relaxing place to be. Yes, it is quite busy, but it is a very chilled atmosphere with children playing happily and families enjoying just being together.
I would recommend planning to go for the day and taking a picnic or barbecue. I would also recommend thinking of taking a jumper on a cooler day as we found we were really chilly sat in the woods while the kids were playing. I felt silly wearing a fleecy coat in July, but it really has been that kind of summer.
My only real negative of the park was that I found there was not many bins when walking round. I had to do some scooping on my walk with the dog, and I couldn't find a bin until I got back near the park and café. I was a little embarassed walking around with my little bag. I'm glad he's only a little dog.