Hardwick Park – Our Winter Walk
The school Christmas holidays are coming to an end. After all the hype and excitement over the last two weeks my boys were starting to get pretty restless. Cabin fever has been setting in. They had out played their new toys. They were bored. My boys need fresh air, to run free and just be without electronics and bits of plastic!
One thing we hadn’t done as a family over the Christmas holidays was take a Winter Walk.
So I thought today was the day. We wrapped up warm, jumped in the car and decided to drive to Hardwick Park.
Hardwick Park is a country park in Sedgefield, County Durham. With free admission (other than car parking charges), you can stroll through the historic parkland admiring the natural beauty of the lake, woodland and wildlife. Hardwick Park is a traditional style park experience ideal for old school family games and picnicking.
There is brand new, state of the art visitor centre with excellent facilities including an interactive exhibition space to help keep the kids feeling involved. Alongside that there’s also the education room, the Tower Cafe and accessible public toilets.
Hardwick Park is suitable for children of all ages.
It was a dry day, there had been no rainfall but it was rather chilly. It’s a good job we wrapped up warm.
It’s amazing to see Hardwick Park change along with the seasons. There was ice on the ponds and lakes and all the trees were bare. After visiting a few times over the previous year in the Summer and Autumn months. You get a different experience every time.
Today we decided to go around the park on a different route that we would normally take.
We started our journey at the car park, taking the path to the left around The Serpentine. On our way we found the Gruffallo. Also Foxes under ground house! At Hardwick Park there is a Grufallo hunt, which is perfect for those of you that love the book.
We stopped at the top end of The Serpentine to throw sticks and stones into the water. I was lovely to watch my boys gain pleasure from such a simple thing.
Stuck in the mud
We could soon see that our experience was going to be a messy one. Obviously, it’s winter. What were we thinking?! Whilst walking along Cohen got his foot stuck in some mud, resulting in his foot coming out of his shoe and his socked foot went straight into the mud.
Whilst on our way around we decided to visit the Temple of Minerva. We had never been before. When we got there it was locked. But still we had seen it. I don’t know whose smart idea it was but we cut across the field towards the corner of the lake. I lost count of how many times Mummy and Daddy nearly slipped over. Luckily, we didn’t, but my boys seemed to find it hilarious.
Let the real adventure begin
Once at the lake we stopped to admire the view and watch the ducks and swans on the lake. We even spotted a Robin.
We continued walking into Fen Carr. Which is surrounded by woodland. My boys spotted the top of the tower and were adamant they wanted to find the ‘castle’. This is when our adventure got serious!
Caelan had visited Hardwick Park during the Autumn months with school. He said that he knew the way so we ‘had to’ follow him! He was telling us that we had to go over the ‘Trolls bridge’, which in fact is the Serpentine Bridge. Once at the other side, my boys started to collect fir cones as ‘treasure’ to put in the ‘castle’.
As we walked up past the statue of Neptune, the tower was close. We went up a sloping hill and there was the Gothic Ruins. My boys hid their treasure and played hide and seek around the ruin.
Let’s have a cuppa
We were all pretty cold, so we paid a visit to the Tower cafe. I was expecting it to be expensive but for a fiver, we got a mug of coffee, pot of tea, Maltesers and 2 Milky Ways. I thought that was acceptable.
Once we had warmed up we had a quick 15-20 minutes visit to the playground park.
By the time we left Hardwick Park it was starting to get dark. We could easily have spent so much more time there.
As a result of our Winter walk at Hardwick Park We had 3 very happy, but tired boys. Just the result Mummy and Daddy were hoping for. Plus, It was just what we all needed. To blow off the cobwebs.
To plan your day out to Hardwick Park, Check out the Visitors guide here
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