Wednesday 27 May 2020

A Family Adventure in Lower Woods Nature Reserve

When the country went into lockdown and our ability to do a lot of things was taken away I think we all quickly learned new ways to cope, new ways to keep ourselves entertained and for many that came in the form of their daily exercise. So many people, myself included headed out for a daily walk to break up the day and like many I had that moment where I wondered why we didn't do this more often before!

We have lived where we live now for over 5 years now and yet we had rarely, if ever, walked around the local area, not properly. It had been as if we were far too busy with daily life, too convenient to hop in the car and just get from A to B but the fact of the matter was we have clearly been missing out.

When the restrictions lifted a little and we were aloud to travel for exercises we decided to go check out a local nature reserve that we had seen some beautiful pictures of, it didn't disappoint!

Lower Woods Nature Reserve is found just east of Wickwar in the Vale of Berkeley, Gloucestershire and is actually one of the largest ancient woodlands in the South West of England. The woodlands themselves are made up of 23 separate woods whose boundaries have remain unchanged for several centuries. At the heart of the woodlands you will also find a stretch of the Little Avon river which twists and winds through the nature reserve. 

The area is around 700 acres and compromises of 3 different walk ways which are marked with arrows (although we did find some of the arrows seemed to be damaged or missing on our trip). These walks are of varying lengths but all will contain some narrow pathways, stiles and some inclines etc to navigate. 

There is a small parking area which holds around 30 cars although we did see people parking along a gravel road track once it was full on our visit and this didn't seem to be an issue. Once parked up we headed for one of the gateways and found a map of the area, it shows the 3 different marked walk ways however we opted to just let the kids explore and lead the way and this was lots of fun! As mentioned above, some of the path ways are narrow and most are mud pathways and so I can imagine these get very wet and squelchy in the wetter, colder months. 

James and Evelyn are 10 and 5 and they were fine walking around but it is worth noting that there aren't very many places to sit and stop (unless you are happy to just sit on the floor of course) and there are a few pathways that are steep or decline quite steeply too. But as I said the kids and me and my husband managed it fine, we just made sure to watch our footing and wear sensible shoes. 

I think though that the kids favourite bit was being able to be free and to paddle in the stream too! There are several areas along the Little Avon river stretch that runs through the reserve where you can get down and have a paddle. The kids had great fun splashing around navigating some of the river way (I would recommend taking some flip flops, crocs or water shoes if you plan to do this though as the stone and gravel at the bottom can be sharp). They even built a little dam over one part of the stream and loved hearing the water rushing through it and forming a new path around it. 

When you enter this reserve you honestly feel like you could have been transported. It feels calm, quiet and peaceful a complete distraction from the anxiety and stress life can so often bring. The canopies of the tree's mostly shielded us from the sun and the gentle sound of a trickling stream and leaves gentle blowing in the wind is all you can really hear. Pops of colour spring out everywhere from the wild flowers that grow here, including beautiful carpets of bright bluebells (If you love Bluebells like us, check out this post for Bluebell Woods near you!).

We actually ended up staying over 3 hours (we may or may not have got a little lost finding our way back to the car!) and could have easily spent longer. We have promised the kids we will return when lockdown is fully over with a picnic and spend the day here exploring.

I cant believe that this beautiful place was just a short drive away and we had missed out on exploring it all this time! If lockdown has taught me anything it is that sometimes we just need to appreciate the small things, the things we take for granted. The walks in the woods, the family time, the free things all around us to do and not having to spend money to have fun. Remembering just how much we missed family and loved ones and making that extra time when we do go back to work, school and busy schedules to see each other. And most importantly to take nothing for granted, not even walks in the woods! 
If you are looking for somewhere to explore and get lost in nature, I would thoroughly recommend checking out Lower Woods Nature Reserve, its free to get in and open all year round (even Christmas day!). 
Do you have any favourite spots to go walking or exploring? I would love to hear about them in the comments below. 


  1. This looks like just the perfect sanctuary away from the surreal world that we live in at the moment! Open spaces and a change of scenery is what is needed :)

  2. Oh this looks like such a beautiful place. We have somewhere similar near us and it's so nice to explore especially in this wonderful weather we have been having.

  3. I have loved being able to explore the local area and although we often cycle through it in the summmer, we have really got to explore on foot

  4. We used to love walks like this when the kids were younger, it is lovely getting out into nature and having fun and exploring x