Bluebells blossoming, breeze in the air and a hot cup of tea on arrival…Books In The Woods is the casual, relaxed, outdoor playgroup you didn’t know you were missing!
At a very reasonable £3 per family (book online via the website), Books In The Woods is a weekly run outdoor playgroup, that incorporates, as the name suggests, a book reading under a canopy of trees at a clearing in the woods at Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted. Cooperatively run by a group of local mums and dads, each session is themed but also gives you the option of enjoying woods and nature too.
We followed the directions emailed to us to us the first visit, and found the group with ease. Each family brings a picnic blanket, and most kids settled down with some snacks to listen to the story. Grown-ups were given hot cups of tea or coffee, and there were homemade goodies from some of the group members to sample too.
All the mums involved in running the group bring their own kids as well, and the ethos is to enjoy, respect and learn about nature in a wonderfully relaxed environment. We were given all the important health and safety information before the story, and after the reading were given instructions for the 3 activities that had been set up.
We were also free to explore the woods around us. There’s a big wooden shelter that everyone loved climbing around, and we enjoyed the short butterfly life cycle themed nature trail. There was a craft activity, and a messy seed-bomb making one to do too! There was also a big box of books available to choose from too.
The sessions last an hour, and apart from the reading at the start are free-flow for the children to ramble and partake in activities as they desire. We were made to feel really welcome on arrival, and enjoyed speaking to lots of friendly other mums and kids.
Sometimes ‘going for a walk’ is a bit of a repetitive struggle with little ones, so this gave us a chance to be outside, have a snack, do some activities as well as have a little walk. If you’re up for more adventure, Ashridge has a great short walk around a wildflower meadow, as well as longer walks, picnic areas and outdoor natural play areas to explore.
You can also get food and drinks at the cafe, and there are toilets and baby change facilities by the gift shop.
Parking at the visitor centre is by donation, or you can park further down the driveway.