Go on an adventure in the rain to find a Fairy Door

FairydoorLast week we were blessed with fabulous sunshine and amazing temperatures, this week we weren’t (unless you’re a duck or plant starved of water). But rain doesn’t have to mean the end of outdoor fun and games if you have some wellies and a decent waterproof coat. There’s nothing better than getting out into the countryside and experiencing some nature close to home. Sure you might need a shower or three when you arrive home caked in mud but getting outside is good for the whole family. You could even add some magic to your trip and go on an adventure in the rain to find a Fairy Door!fairydoor5

We did just that a short time ago and found this amazing fairy residence nestled in a pretty little woodland quite near to us.

Inside the fully working door there were instructions on the kinds of gifts the fairy likes to receive. These messages change throughout the year depending on the seasons and the fairy’s mood!

This particular Fairy Door is located in a private woodland in Derbyshire which the landowner graciously allows the public to visit all year round. Thanks to all the extra touches I’m convinced the owner must love housing this magical little cottage and seeing just how much pleasure it brings to local children and adults alike.fairydoor3

Aside from fairies though we found a wonderful small stream and had a great time looking for birds and squirrels hiding in the trees. We’ve been somewhat inspired by watching Springwatch!

By far the muddiest member of our family was our pet Dalmatian who turned almost completely brown after he rolled around on the ground, but muddy footprints aside he had a great time too 🙂

There’s actually quite a few fairy doors located across the country, so why not ask around and see if there’s a local one you could visit for a magical rainy adventure!

Having a fantastical time at Rowtor Rocks in Derbyshire!

Rowtor RocksI’m lucky enough to live in a county that can boast some spectacular scenery, but it’s rare I actually find somewhere new that I haven’t visited before. Last weekend was one of those scarce occasions, I took a trip with my Father and son to Rowtor Rocks in Derbyshire (also called Druids caves).

Rowtor RocksLocated in the village of Birchover it’s a fantastic location unspoilt by health and safety!! That means no barriers or fencing, no warnings, this place is wild and you have to watch your step lest you fall down a hole or roll off a cliff! The advantage of course if that you can view the area without restrictions and appreciate the untouched beauty of this amazing location. I can’t emphasize enough though the need to watch your step and keep a tight hold of any children.

Rowtor RocksWalking up a small path reveals a collection of apparently man made caves carved from the Derbyshire rocks, you can walk through these and if you’re small enough (like my son) even climb through a few. A torch may be required but none of the caves are too deep, however lighting reveals cutting marks and even a giant spider or two!

Rowtor RocksWalking above the caves you can find an amazing network of carved stairs and seats, make sure you pose for a photo or three! I must admit there was something quite Lord of the Rings about it all, I just need some pointy ears and I would have felt very at home 🙂

Rowtor RocksThis rock hangs over a steep drop and we thought it resembled a lions head, although my husband saw an old man.

Rowtor RocksFor fans of the classic movie ‘The Princess Bride’ you’ll be pleased to hear that Birchover was used as one of the filming locations along with other sites in Derbyshire.

Rowtor RocksRowtor rocks also provides a great background for a silly photo! Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.



Autumn Musings


Many people seem to feel a kind of displeasure when summer gives way for autumn. Certainly many of my own friends see long nights, rainy days and umbrellas in the months ahead. But I’m actually quite excited to see it making an appearance.

There is just so much to admire about the season as a whole. Fabulous shades of red and gold adorn the trees and bushes, it’s also the perfect time to go exploring and foraging, whether you live in the countryside or city. You just need a little green patch or park and you’ve got a wonderful family day out.

Raincoats and wellies at the ready, my children and I set out for a nature walk in the Derbyshire countryside. We were on a very simple mission, my children were searching for any signs that confirmed autumn was on the way. With a bucket in each hand and free rein to leap in puddles or collect fallen leaves, they had a wonderful time.

I adore these festive Hawthorn Berries, which were liberally scattered along our route. There was also the easily missed but just as beautiful raindrops clinging to a blade of grass . It’s so small and simple, but this patch of humble grass was my daughter’s favourite find. She thought they looked like miniature glass beads and insisted on touching them to check they were water.

We also uncovered an abundance of Elderberries. They poked through hedgerows, twisted through branches and generally made their presence felt. My husband makes wonderful Elderflower Champagne but the berries are always reserved for baking.  As long as they are ripe and de-stemed, cooking thoroughly renders them safe and delicious to eat. They are particularly good mixed with some Bramley apples in a crumble.

Our walk was not confined to wild plants and trees. We also met several cows, a horse and this little cat. Perched on an old wall and watching something moving on the ground intently, she looked as if she’d jumped straight out of a Beatrix Potter book. I don’t think she even noticed her photo being taken!

When we finally arrived home I had a new stash of Elderberries and the children had lots of acorns, leaves and Blackberries (we avoided Toadstools).

Autumn Craft Project

For a quick Autumn Craft Project ask your children to collect fallen leaves in a variety of colours. The flatter the leaf the better! Then pull or cut off the stalks and arrange inside a laminator sheet. Once laminated they look fabulous hung on a window. The sun streams through and almost ignites the jewels shades.

You can also carefully cut out each laminated leaf and make a mobile or garland, the only limit is your imagination. If you don’t have a laminator at home most good stationary stores can laminate in a variety of sizes for a small fee.

So while it’s sad to turn our backs on the summer, autumn has an awful lot of pleasure to offer. At the very least it’s a wonderful excuse to break out your Autumn wardrobe…

This post was originally written by me for the Boden Community.