ADVENTURE PARENTING #6: THE RIVER CHEW
Sharing adventures and ideas for story-orientated play around Bristol
The easing of lockdown has made it possible to exercise and explore a little further from home and we've been making the most of it! It's no secret that we spend our lives outside at every opportunity, but we also love sharing the adventures whenever possible as the kids find the wild outside all the more exciting when shared with friends. Recent events make this tricky - spending time with other families isn't an easy option at the moment. So, we've decided to share ideas about where to go and what to try out via my blog - providing fellow parents with information that can help them plan their next adventure and offer ideas about what to get up to when there!
Keeping it clean
Before I begin, I ought to mention that we always endeavor to keep our adventuring as unobtrusive as possible. The countryside communities who are lucky enough to live in our favourite exploration spots have suffered enough from inconsiderate parking, thoughtless toilet habits and the leaving of a lot of litter. In order to counter this mindless exploitation of beautiful places we've been doing the following and I know many others are approaching their exercise from home in the same way:
Timing: visit at times when the area is quiet - avoid weekends and instead go for dawn or dusk during the week (the light it inevitably better and we're all convinced we spot more fairies - or at the very least deer - at these times of day!)
Parking: read up on where best to park - local communities are keen to direct people away from hot spots that cause them problems and welcome questions about where it is better to leave your vehicle. Fellow walking bloggers, community Facebook groups can all be helpful for this.
Toilet: a lot of these spots don't have toilet facilities. I'm spoilt because I have one in our van, but if we're ever caught short - which is often the case with small offspring - I pick it up with a dog poo bag, place whatever wiping material happens to be the choice of the day (hazel leaf, tissue, sphagnum moss etc) and put that in the bag also. We bag it, take it home and bin it. It's pretty stinky if you get down wind of me, but the kids have learnt to walk ahead when this happens and we proceed without making a mess of the place we're visiting.
Litter: My girls have been horrified at the increase in litter we're finding. To combat this, they requested a family set of litter pickers so now we can collect and clean each time we visit an adventure area. To maximise their sense of superhero, add a high vis vest and bike gloves.
Dogs: We have one and he stays on the lead if there is livestock at large in the field. He's trained to ignore whatever animal is about, but the signs request compliance and we do as they ask. His poo comes home too. Simple.
ADVENTURE #6: PUBLOW AND THE RIVER CHEW
For our final post, we've chosen a fab little adventure to share with you today - a walk and a wild swim in the area between Publow and Pensford! Here's where I mean...(the red point is the place where we have the most fun - which is saying something because we love the whole thing!)
We always visit super early so we can park next to Publow church. If this isn't possible then we find somewhere sensible to leave the vehicle somewhere else along the route, and just start the circular walk from there. (Please be really considerate when you are working out where to park!)
The brilliant thing about this little adventure is that it's just the right length for little legs, with enough going on that they are keen to keep exploring! Our favourite spot is marked above in red - we were the only ones there last time we visited! The area by Publow church (under the bridge) can often get busy, but if you follow the river along, you'll find plenty of beautiful spots to enjoy.
CIRCULAR WALK: You can see that there are plenty of footpaths in the area. The last time we visited, we walked from Publow church east/south east to the mill pond, then south east again to Birchwood House where the 'Two Rivers Way' path meets the byway track, down towards Woollard before turning west to head back along the River Chew. It only took a couple of hours and that's with plenty of play, chat about farming, river swimming and wild flower identification games! Easy to extend with more play and picnics!
Here's how we 'outdoor storied' along the way...
PHASE 1: LOOKING AND LISTENING. We always like to start by listening to the river. It's a tonic for the soul and it helps get everyone's ear in before we start our walk! There is so much bird song to hear, and you can even have a chat about what you think the water is doing depending on the kind of sounds you ca detect!
PHASE 2: STORY PROMPTING. The girls were in 'spy mode' and there were plenty of sections for them to practise their 'moving stealthily under cover of hedgerows' and plenty of trees and bushes to hide behind! The section where you walk up the hill led to some interesting chats about farming and thoughts about what your life would be like when you are working hard to grow wheat.
PHASE 3: SPLASH ABOUT. The River Chew is relatively small in this section with plenty of shallow spots to paddle in. We take wetsuits when the weather is cooler - that way, the girls can stay in long enough to spot all sorts of exciting creatures! It never takes long for the little ones to start spinning stories about everyone living in the river and the adventures they have when the humans have left: proper Wind in the Willows joy!
So, why not try out this little adventure for yourselves and send us some pictures! Feel free to add to the comment box and let us know what you got up to, and join me next week for the sharing of another adventure!
For more wild swimming spot ideas - check out this link https://www.wildswimming.co.uk/wild-swimming-places-near-bristol-and-bath/ , but please note: it's really important to ensure your visit has minimal impact!